Civil engineer, Project participant
1852 – 1936
Who was Fulgence Bienvenüe?
A native of Uzel in Brittany and son of a notary, he graduated as a civil engineer in 1872 from the Ecole Polytechnique. He began working for the Department of Bridges and Roads at Alencon in 1872. His first assignment was the construction of various railway lines in the Mayenne area. In the course of this work, his left arm was crushed in a construction accident and had to be amputated. He relocated to Paris in 1886. That year, he designed and supervised the construction of aqueducts for the city of Paris, drawing water from the Aube and Loire Rivers. Then, he built a cable railway near the Place de la Republique and created the Buttes-Chaumont Park. In 1891, he became Engineer-in-Chief of Bridges and Roads, the most prestigious engineering post in France.
Paris city officials selected Bienvenüe to become chief engineer for the Paris Métro in 1896. He designed a special procedure of building the tunnels to allow the swift repaving of surface roads; this procedure involved building the crown of the tunnel first and the flooring last, the reverse of the usual norm at that time. He is credited with a largely swift and relatively uneventful construction through the difficult and heterogenous Parisian soils and rocks. He would supervise Paris Metro construction for more than three decades, finally retiring on 6 December 1932.
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