The Haussmann mode de Paris !

Let me tell you about a fact you see all over Paris and beyond in my belle France. This is the Haussmann mode de Paris or the architecture way to build a city ; the most beautiful in the world ! I like to tell you more about this phenomenon in my black and white series,no pictures. Hope you enjoy it as I.

What would be Paris without Haussmann ? The famous Baron gave the city its visual present, with its great boulevards and characteristic buildings, He created the axes of wonderful walks and driving with landmarks to help you guide you walking and driving ; this is the part you and all see. Napoléon III has given already the city some improvement to make Paris the capital of Europe. He created or ordered the first grand axis east west with the rue de Rivoli. Later the prefect Rambuteau ordered the expropiation of certains buildings to make room for wonderful streets such as the rue Rambuteau or the rue de la Bourse ; he created a public garden in the ïle de la Cité. Finally, it was Napoléon III who gave all the political and financial power to the Baron Haussmann to make Paris what it is today,. It took him 16 and a half years to do it, and was done from June 1853 to January 1870, when Haussmann was dismissed from his post.

Haussmann program was simple, needed to make Paris more functional with a better circulation. He put in place three network of communication. The first one, a north south axis from the Gare de l’Est to the Porte d’Orléans. Another axis east west from the Place d’Etoile to the Bastille by the rue de Rivoli, In the center ,the Ïle de la Cité and the Halles. The second network was done between 1858 and 1860 to make circulation from the center of Paris and opening roads from the Place de la République, Place de l’Etoile, Place de Chaillot, and rue de Rome. In 1860, Haussmann annex the neighboring villages allowing Paris to double in size, and created the beltway to go around Paris without passing by the small streets.

In all 137 km of new boulevards were created as well as squares to regulate the circulation such as the Place de la République, Daumesnil, Bastille Nation, etc. Before the old buildings demolished they were photograph for the history. The boulevards in angle with a circular motion in the form of a Y such as the Church Saint Augustin or the fountain of Saint Michel. The demolition of buildings took off about 20000 and built 34000 !

From a small sewer network , he created 800 km of canals making it the biggest in the world ! A great project to bring water to the city with a system of aqueducts, bringing water to the houses for a small fee. Haussmann did not forget the theaters, cafés ,restaurants, libraries to make the walks more pleasants, 1800 hectares of parks, garden, green spaces as well as improvements to the Bois de Boulogne and Vincennes, parks of Monceau, Montsouris and Buttes-Chaumont, as well as 24 squares in the city. The sidewalks, the paved streets, with lighting of gas. He created the Halles ,and bringing out wonderful commerce such as the dept stores such as the Belle Jardiniére in 1856 (closed 1972), Félix Potin in 1858 (closed 1995) , Printemps in 1865, and Samaritaine in 1869. The latter two still on today.

For all the above he had many detractors such as Jules Ferry who accuse him of enrichment, Emile Zola accuse him of cutting up Paris and finally Napoléon III dismissed Baron Haussmann in 1870 without given in for his honor naming the Boulevard Haussmann. These two had created a new city that has not change since 1870 with minor changes. The other great cities of France has copy his style as well as the great cities of Europe and America. He can be proud !

Anecdotes: See the visual from the Jardin du Luxembourg along Rue Soufflot to the Panthéon awesome see each time stopped my bus to my office there !! See the roofstops of Paris from the rue Lafayette ,see the Basilica de Sacre Coeur, see the architecture from the dome of the Galeries Lafayette my walks to work ! Or as well those of Printemps the most recognisable in the world, see the Wallace fountains, and the Morris columns, immerge yourselves in the bridge of the park of Buttes-Chaumont and the buildings of the rue Manin ! Ahh thank you M Haussmann, eternal Paris !!!

Georges-Eugene Haussmann was born in 1809 and was name prefect of the Seine in 1853 (dept that disappear in 1960 split with Paris and 3 other departments of the region). This position was equivalent to the Mayor of Paris today. He entered the Senate four years later and received the Legion of Honor. He was critized early on for his ambitions but nevertheless emperor Napoléon III name him a Baron. After 16 and a half years he is relieve of his post in 1870 blaming him for spending too much. After writing 3 books on his memories he died in 1891 without fortune. Making the enrichement accusations false! He is buried in the Pére-Lachaise cemetery, RIP.

France Culture on how Haussmann did it! in French:

The Paris tourist office on Bd Haussmann:

The official Napoleon foundation on Haussmann’s story:

There you go folks, another worthy recognition in my blog to one of the great ones of Paris. Paris and Haussmann goes hand and hand forever. Haussmann made Paris and Paris won’t forget Haussmann. Hope you enjoy the post as I and do come into Haussmannian Paris!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “The Haussmann mode de Paris !”

  1. What a legacy Hausseman left in his wake! Interesting stats regarding the number of buildings that were razed. I recall seeing a wonderful oil painting in the Musée Carnavalet several years ago that showed one of his boulevards under construction. I later returned, hoping to see it again but couldn’t locate it.

    Liked by 1 person

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