Art & Culture

Paris today: Haussmann style

For last century Paris has been visited by hundreds thousands travellers from different corners of our planet, and this tourist stream does not become less year after year. And here we can ask: why? Because you know, there is a lot of cities in the world, but Paris is still one of the most popular and visited ones. Of course, we could answer by many ways: museums in a great number, great French cuisine, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Seine, beautiful language and culture… But today we would like to talk about Paris architecture – the biggest and powerful magnet which attracts tens of millions tourists from all around the world every year.

Paris is an ancient city, and it has quite a lot of interesting beautiful buildings of different historical periods. However, no matter what someone can say, modern Paris – the city that we can see nowadays – is a creation of the famous prefect Baron Haussmann. Hot discussion on this man’s activity continues till now, but we have to recognize that, in spite of all interpretations, he had left a colossal heritage.

Paris before Haussmann

Before transformations by Georges Eugene Haussnamm, the French capital was a typical European city of that time, with narrow streets, what made lots of problems by reason of permanent population upsurge in Paris. To the middle of the 19th century the wealthy people had already moved to the western and northern suburbs – farther from the centre with its crush, thousands poor men, insanitary conditions and crime.

And in 1853, the hero of our narrative – Baron George Eugene Haussmann – was appointed as the prefect of Paris, who had thrown a serious challenge to the public and got down to work on transformation of the city with the support of Napoleon III.

Paris after Haussmann

For the period of his management Paris lost a lot of lanes, small streets, blind alleys and even some historic monuments. At the same time, it was the chance for wide boulevards and avenues, squares, new public parks and gardens (some of already existing changed their appearance), modern branched city sewerage system.

Paris after Haussmann

What about new buildings, on this matter Baron Haussmann was a supporter of army discipline: common (strict enough) architectural rules, height – not more than 17,55 meters; in a word – uniformity.

By calculation of historians, being the prefect of Paris, Georges Eugene changes appearance of the capital of France of the 19th century by 60 per cent. Agree, it was a great effort. 🙂

It’s impossible to make a unique appraisal for Baron Haussmann’s activity, but today’s Paris is his creation substantially – beautiful and attractive city.

Come here, rent apartment in Paris and start walking through wide boulevards, not neglecting narrow old streets… Haussmann has saved some of them for the offsprings. 😉