See also: Pierre-Paul Riquet (homonymy)
BiographyIt was born has Béziers, probably on June 29th 1609, in a family of notable and tradesmen. The sources differ on its birth date leaving the doubt between 1604,1608 or 1609. It carried out a prosperous career in the administration of the Gabelle S, the perception of the tax on the salt. It Marie with Catherine de Milhau between 1637 and 1638. In 1651, it buys the property of Bonrepos close to Verfeil in the North-East of Toulouse made up of a park of 150 hectares and a Renaissance castle.
The legend wants that his/her father, François-Guillaume Riquet, opposed at the beginning of the century with the construction of a channel connecting the Atlantique to the the Mediterranean. The study, like so much of others, did not manage to solve the problem of the water provision of the channel. Riquet passes this shelf thanks to its knowledge of the black Montagne surrounding. He notices a point of division where a River is divided into two, running out either towards the Atlantic Ocean, or towards the Mediterranean. It is the Seuil of Naurouze. Applying the theories of Adam de Craponne, Riquet positions the culminating point of the channel there, with 48 meters above the level of the the Garonne.
November 16th 1662, Pierre-Paul Riquet proposes his project with Colbert. A few months later, the minister names police chiefs charged to study the feasibility of the work. After a drain of test between the Lake of Saint-Ironwood and the Seuil of Naurouze was carried out successfully, a first section of work was entrusted to the engineer on October 14th 1666. During all the duration of work, and benefitting from its function of farmer of the Gabelle S, Riquet will invest on its equities two million books, on an estimated project has fifteen million. N the other hand, it receives the rights of Péage channel.
When its work is questioned, Riquet shows an astonishing tenacity, going until disobeying the orders of Colbert. Thus, it makes bore improbable the Tunnel of Malpas in spite of the royal orders, diverting workmen. Its audacity was not only technical: the Engineer is also the first to institute the monthly-payment of the wages and the Social security for its workmen.
Pierre-Paul Riquet dies in Toulouse on October first 1680, in the district of Well-Close, without the channel not being finished. Its house is still visible Place Salengro. These are the two sons which will complete the work, inaugurated one year later. Its statue is in top of the Jaurès Alleys, with a few meters of the channel, and turning the back on this one. Realized by Bernard Griffoul-Dorval at the 19th century, it found this place of honor at the time of the opening of the Métro, on June 26th, 1993. Another statue, works of David of Angers, inaugurated in 1838, is in the middle of the Alleys Paul Riquet with Béziers.
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