Baron Haussmann – the father of modern Paris

In our previous articles about Paris we have already said about transformations of the city under the direction of Baron Haussmann. That time it was famous now Paris Opera, today we will try to tell the story of this undoubtedly great man in detail.

Thus, the second half of the nineteenth century…

Emperor of France Napoleon III in contrast to his glorious predecessor Napoleon Bonaparte (who ended his life on Island of St. Helena) loved everything English and wanted to make Paris the main European center of urbanism during his reign. Now we can see the results of his activities.

However, desire is desire, but the Emperor could not do it by oneself. So, he needed a loyal ally who could support his ideas. That person became Baron Haussmann, who was a regular guest of monarch’s apartments for discussing of the plans for transformation of Paris for many years.

The main direction of Haussmann work was provision of hygiene, building a functional system of public transport and municipal sewage lines, security of citizens in the capital city.

Thanks to the prefect (official position of Haussmann) Cité Island (the heart of Paris, a place where the great city was founded) returned its splendor.

Already in those years Paris had serious problems, connected with numerous provincials who migrated here searching a better life. Suburban settlements, as well as official urban districts (twenty arrondissements of Paris are now based on these districts) were created by the order of Haussmann. Numerous educational and administrative institutions and other elements of infrastructure had been opened in all new districts.

So long as Paris was already a serious industrial center, municipal authorities had to construct specific channels for water drainage. Exactly for this goal Haussmann hired a well-known geologist Belgrand, who had built numerous soughs.

We should also note that residents of French capital got water, gas and electricity in their apartments thanks to this prefect.

Green zones in Paris were also changed. Numerous parks in the capital had been made in British style. The most striking examples of this are Parc Monceau, Buttes-Chaumont, Montsouris, gardens near Champs Elysees, Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne.

Haussman’s architectural style was used in houses of local bourgeoisie, and they formed modern streets, avenues and boulevards. Many districts received a luxurious look, but unfortunately poverty of others had been at the same time.

It is impossible today to relate to the work of Baron Haussmann unambiguously, but in many aspects Paris has become what we can see now thanks to his efforts.