Paris Before and After Baron Haussmann
The emperor Napoleon III, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed emperor of France in 1852 after a coup d’état against the French republic, of which he was already president. A great admirer of British modernity, he set out to transform Paris into a leading light among European cities. In 1853 he engaged the recently appointed Prefect of the Seine, Georges Eugène Haussmann to oversee the work and apply the plans and recommendations of the Commission Siméon which had studied in detail the question of embellishing the city. Ably assisted by the engineers Eugène Belgrand and Jean-Charles Alphand, this trained lawyer set out to implement a massive public works programme that became known as Haussmann’s renovation of Paris.
Fiercely criticised for his spending, the extent of his projects, accused of expropriating the citizens of the city and gentrifying the centre of Paris, he was unwavering in his commitment to change. The outcry led to his dismissal in 1870, but work continued until 1927 on project which he had instigated and the distinctive image of Paris with tree-lined boulevards, apartment buildings of handsome regularity and monuments that can be admired from a distance and which contribute greatly to Paris’ reputation as a beautiful city to visit can all be traced back to this indefatigable administrator.
This tour will take you to a number of sites associated with Baron Haussman to give you an idea of Paris before and after the work carried out in the mid-19th century and the extent of his transformation of the city.
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LIST OF SITES
- 1. Ile de la Cité
- 2. Pont au Change
- 3. Place du Châtelet
- 4. Tour Saint Jacques
- 5. Rue de Rivoli
- 6. Fontaine des Innocents
- 7. Les Halles
- 8. The Underground Sewer System
- 9. Palais Garnier
- 10. Eglise de la Sainte-Trinite
- 11. Gare Saint Lazare
- 12. Boulevard Haussmann
- 13. Statue of Baron Haussmann
- 14. Boulevard Malesherbes
- 15. Parc de Monceau
- 16. Arc de Triomphe