Nancy, Porte de la Craffe

Everything about the design of this building speaks of its defensive nature. The thought of attacking this gate with the simple weapons of the past is daunting. What chance of success might an attack have had? Anyone attempting to batter down the gates would have been subjected to a murderous attack from the fortifications immediately above it.

This gate almost epitomizes the concept of "castle" that many Westerners carry in their minds. The same architecture was used by Disney in its "magic kingdom" and is in fact its logo. [Did you know that one of the reasons that these parks feel fake is that, as a cost-cutting measure, they were built at 7/8th scale? This may not seem like much of a reduction, but it reduces the volume of the structure by one-third, a large cost savings indeed.]

Anyone approaching this gate would have no doubt that, if admitted, he would find a different world on the other side of the gate.

I was fortunate enough to see this gate when I visited Nancy a few years ago, and a photograph of it appears in Carfree Cities. It appears little changed during the intervening time.

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Text ©2001-2002 J.Crawford