Paul Abadie

Portrait of Paul Abadie

Paul Abadie was a French architect and building restorer. He became known for his French historicism and worked on major projects such as at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. He was born in Paris on 9th November 1812 and died on 3rd August 1884 in Chatou, France aged 71.

Major Works

Church of Saint-Jacques de l’Houmeau (1840)
Restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral (1874)
Sacre Coeur Church, Montmartre, Paris (1875-1914)


Paul Abadie was born on the 9th November 1812 in Paris, France. His father was also an architect named Paul Abadie Senior. He was educated at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and is most famous for designing the church of the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, Paris.

1835: He enters the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Paris and is taught by Achille Leclere. After his studies he became an attaché to the commission for historical monuments where he was particularly interested in medieval sites and monuments and in particular their restoration.

1845: He becomes the second inspector for the restoration of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, under the directorship of the head architects Viollet le Duc and Lassus. 

1848: He becomes Diocesan Architect to Angoulême, Périgueux, and La Rochelle.

1852: He begins remodelling the Byzantino-Romanesque Church of Saint-Front at Périgueux which lasted until 1901 after his death. 

1854: He begins work on the restoration of the Cathedral of Saint Pierre in Angouleme which lasted until 1885. He has been criticised for inventing his own historical style here rather than researching the archaeology of the site. He is also responsible for designing the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) in the same town.

1859: He begins restoring the façade of the church of Saint-Croix in Bordeaux which would not be completed until 1865.

1861: He is appointed Inspector-General of Diocesan Buildings.

1862: He is appointed as the Diocesan Architect for the Saint André Cathedral of Bordeaux.

1871: He is made a member of the Commission for Historical Monuments.

1873: Cardinal Joseph Guibert chooses Abadie’s entry in the competition for the construction of a basilica on the hill at Montmartre, Paris over eleven other submissions.

1874: He becomes the main diocesan architect for Paris taking over from Eugene Viollet-le-Duc and becomes chief architect for Notre Dame Cathedral.

1875: Work begins on building the Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre. He is elected to membership of the Académie des Beaux Arts. His church work left him little time for private commissions but he did accept one, Mailleberchie Castle in Villebois-Lavalette, which he designed in a neo medieval style.

Paul Abadie died on 3rd August 1884 in Chatou, Yvelines, France and never saw the church of Sacre Coeur completed which went on until 1914. Due to the First World War the building wasn’t consecrated until 16th October 1919.

Further Information

List of works in France:

Basilica Sacre-Coeur, Paris.
Church of Chatou.
Church of Saint-Georges of Musician.
Mailleberchie Castle, Villebois-Lavatte.
Notre Dame de Paris. (restoration).
Church Sainte-Croix Bordeaux. (restoration).
Saint-Michel Tower, Bordeaux. (restoration).
Saint-Ferdinand Church, Bordeaux. (restoration).
Church of the Bastide, Bordeaux. (restoration).
Sacristy of Saint-Andre Cathedral, Bordeaux. (restoration).
Synagogue of Bordeaux. (restoration).
Front of Perigueux Cathedral. (restoration).
Saint-Georges Church, Périgueux. (restoration).
Saint-Pierre Abbey, Brantôme. (restoration).
Angoulême Cathedral. (restoration).
Saint-Etienne Cathedral, Cahors. (restoration).
Saint-Léger Church, Cognac. (restoration).
Château d’Angoulême, Angoulême. (restoration).
Saint-Martial Church, Angoulême. (restoration).