The first medieval wall built (1180) around Paris made it resemble an egg, with the Seine across its middle like a broad band whose decoration was the Cité. In this diagram the highroad of St Martin divided the Seine and the island pretty equally.
When, at the end of one hundred and ninety years, another wall was built, the growth of the town on the Right Bank was a sign that the marshy land had been drained somewhat. This diagram is of a beret upon an oval face. By 1609 the growth of Paris made the new wall an exaggeration of this cap; the scholastic and religious settlements of the Left Bank were not visibly expanding.
But the next wall, that of the administrative customs cordon, drawn about Paris in 1784, shows that it had again to be pulled towards the northeast at the point where the route de Flandre, the Phenicians’ road, entered Paris that old highroad was still well lined by houses; it had never lost its importance in its two thousand years of uninterrupted existence.
The present pull of the town towards the west is added proof of that theory that all towns march in that direction as surely as the Egyptian tombs opened to the setting sun.