The Sanctuary of Our Lady Lourdes is the second most visited Catholic shrine in the world with around 600,000 visitors each year. Covering 52 hectares, it is one of the biggest Christian complexes ever built. It includes the Grotto of Massabielle, where the Virgin Mary appeared, 15 pools, a church, three basilicas and the 1,500 meter long Stations of the Cross. This program examines how each of these structures was built, as well as the technical challenges and difficulties of building a complex large enough to accommodate so many believers.
Napoleon III made it his mission to modernize the French capital city after spending some time in London. He employed Georges-Eug鋝e Haussmann to carry out this massive urban renewal program, which saw new boulevards, parks and public works over a period of 17 years. Overcrowded and unhealthy medival neighboorhoods were demolished to make space for wide avenues, parks, squares, fountains, sewers, and aqueducts. Through this program, we learn how this enormous project was executed.
We often think of Napoleon I as an incredible legislator and wartime leader, but he was also a prolific patron, who supported the construction of many of Paris’ most iconic monuments: the Arc de Triomphe, Vende Column, Palais de la Bourse, the church of La Madeleine, as well as many bridges. In this program, we learn how long these projects took, how many architects, sculptors, and workers were needed, and what innovations in materials and techniques were made to allow these constructions to materialize.