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A Symbol of Paris

Our City Views coin dedicated to Paris features a reverse design based on a wood engraving and lithograph produced in 1900 during the Belle Époque, a period of economic prosperity, scientific progress and artistic innovation. Looking along the banks of the River Seine, the scene captured on the coin shows a district of Paris that is part of a larger UNESCO world heritage site containing many architectural marvels. Soaring above them all is the Eiffel Tower, which has come to define the city’s skyline.

Buckingham Palace

The idea for the tower came about during preparations for the Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair that was held in 1889 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Although the tower is named after the entrepreneur and engineer Gustave Eiffel, it was actually two employees at his company, Émile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin, who came up with the concept. Standing 330 metres high, the wrought-iron tower was the tallest man-made structure in the world until 1930 and the curved uprights were designed to provide as much wind resistance as possible.

Buckingham Palace

The project attracted a great deal of controversy at the time and many leading French artists and intellectuals voiced their criticism during construction. However, the tower proved to be a great success and the original plan to dismantle it after the Exposition Universelle had taken place was cancelled, leaving Paris an iconic landmark that has become synonymous with the city.

The task of recreating this artwork in miniature fell to The Royal Mint’s Product Design team. Capturing this sweeping view of Paris on a coin was both extremely challenging and immensely satisfying, as Product Designer Dan Thorne explains:

“The newest addition to the range was one of the most difficult to realise in three dimensions. I really wanted to do the original engraving justice and treat these historic buildings with the respect they deserve. I thoroughly enjoyed capturing the small details to give the viewer a sense of scale when looking at the design.”

The Paris coin is the third coin in the City Views collection, joining coins honouring the cities of Rome and London respectively. Explore the collection now and discover these incredibly detailed and scenic designs for yourself.

 

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