World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Cour d'honneur

Article Id: WHEBN0002792334
Reproduction Date:

Title: Cour d'honneur  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Wilanów Palace, Queluz National Palace, Corps de logis, Egmont Palace, Europe/Selected panorama/16
Collection: Architectural History, Courtyards
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cour d'honneur

Blenheim Palace, The cour d'honneur is the large axial entrance court framed by the secondary wings containing kitchens and domestic offices flanking the corps de logis
Louis Le Vau opened up the interior court of the Chateau de Versailles to create the expansive entrance cour d'honneur, subsequently copied all over Europe.

Cour d'honneur (French pronunciation: ​, court of honor) is the architectural term for a three-sided courtyard, created by flanking the main central block, or corps de logis, with symmetrical advancing secondary wings containing minor rooms. The Palace of Versailles (illustration) and Blenheim Palace (plan) both feature such entrance courts.

Some 16th-century symmetrical Western European country houses built on U-shaped groundplans resulted in a sheltered central door in a main range that was embraced between projecting wings, but the formalized cour d'honneur is first found in the great palaces and mansions of 17th-century Europe, where it forms the principal approach and ceremonial entrance to the building. Its open courtyard is presented like the classical permanent theatre set of a proscenium stage, such as the built Roman set of opposed palazzi in a perspective street at Palladio's Teatro Olimpico (Vicenza, 1584). Like the theatre set the built environment is defined and enclosed from the more public space by ornate wrought iron gilded railings. A later development replaced the railings with an open architectural columnar screen, as at Palais Royal (Paris), Schönbrunn Palace (Vienna), Charlottenburg Palace (Berlin), Alexander Palace (Saint Petersburg), or Henry Holland's Ionic screen formerly at Carlton House, London (illustrated below).

Prince Regent's Carlton House in Pall Mall, London

Technically, the term cour d'honneur can be used of any large building whether public or residential, ancient or modern, which has a symmetrical courtyard set apart in this way, at which the honored visitor arrives. (The rest may arrive without flourish, through a side entrance.)

Examples of a cour d'honneur can be found in many of the most notable Baroque and classicizing buildings of Europe including the Palazzo Pitti, one of the first 16th century residences to open a cour d'honneur—in the Pitti's case by embracing three sides of an existing public space. Other 16th century urban palazzi remained resolutely enclosed, like Palazzo Farnese, Rome. In Rome, the wings of Carlo Maderno's Palazzo Barberini design (1627), were the first that reached forward from a central block to create a cour d'honneur floorplan.[1]

Palazzo Barberini: without railings the entrance court is still public space.

On a condensed, urban scale the formula is expressed in Parisian private houses, hôtels particuliers built entre cour et jardin (pronounced: ), between court and garden. In these plans, the street front may be expressed as a range of buildings not unlike the ordinary houses (maisons) that flank it, but with a grand, often arched, doorway, through which a carriage could pass into the cour d'honneur secreted behind. In a cramped site, one of the flanking walls of the cour d'honneur may be no more than an architectural screen, balancing the wing of the hôtel opposite it, which would often contain domestic offices and a stable.[2] On a grander scale, the Palais Royal was laid out in just this manner, among the first Paris hôtels particuliers to have a cour d'honneur, which once was separated from the public street by a wrought iron grille, later by an open architectural screen, with its grand open jardin behind, now a public space. Nearby, the Tuileries Palace is gone: but the cour d'honneur with its Arc du Carrousel remains, as do the Tuileries Gardens behind the former palace's site.

The Villard Houses facing Madison Avenue, New York

In densely built cities disposed on a rigorously democratic grid plan such as New York, private houses with a cour d'honneur were rare, even in the Gilded Age; the Villard Houses on Madison Avenue and the former William K. Vanderbilt House on the Plaza were the rare exceptions. In London, Burlington House retains its cour d'honneur as does Buckingham Palace, but here the cour d'honneur is now hidden behind Edward Blore's much photographed east façade, of 1847, which faces the Mall and now encloses it. The cour d'honneur, now known as The Quadrangle, still retains the principal entrance to the palace however.


  1. ^ "Barberini Palace (plan of first floor)". 
  2. ^ Michel Gallet Les Demeures parisiennes: l'époque de Louis XVI, (Paris: Le Temps) 1964.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.