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Rotonde de la Villette - Paris (France)
This strange circular building was one of the tollhouses built around the edge of Paris by Nicolas Ledoux in the 1780s. Most of these austere, daunting buildings, symbols to the populace of taxes and oppression, were promptly dismantled during the Revolution. Luckily, the rotunda survived as a relic of Ledoux's thrilling architecture. Like Mitterrand, Ledoux was fascinated by Masonic symbols such as spheres and pyramids. The rotunda is partly obscured by the aboveground métro as you approach from the south but its clean-cut outlines and honey-color stonework can be admired from the far side, where you can admire the Bassin de la Villette and the barges lining up at the lock.
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