Paris was deemed a very ‘stressed’ city, especially for the powerful and elite politicians. Therefore, a new public and new city was to be created which triggered todays “New France”. By the late 1850’s Napoleon III began constructing plans relating to the improvement and modernisation of Paris, in which he hoped to improve the condition of the city’s citizens by creating new streets now known as Boulevards and cleaning up the neighbourhoods which often lacked in air and daylight due to the narrow streets which were usually congested. (Kirkland, 2013)
(Paris 1864 map) This map of Paris indicates a congested, narrow street city with very few or almost non-existent boulevards, along with an evident lack of public gardens.
In 1853 Napoleon III appointed Haussman whose previous work had impressed him due to the fact he was a doer rather than a planner. (Kirkland, 2013) The way in which the city of Paris was re-invented symbolises financialising and power. The heart of Old Paris, which was thriving with lower class and working class citizens such as thugs, prostitutes and thieves was later demolished; driving the working class out of the city centre. “The grands travaux destroyed entire neighbourhoods of irreplaceable character and history and overturned the lives of thousands of ordinary people.” (Kirkland, 2013)
(Map of Paris 1900) This map of Paris in the year 1900 illustrates the ‘New Reborn Paris’ which differs greatly to the map of Paris in the year 1864. Indicated in this map is the newly erected Opera House which symbolises a new way in which the people of Paris can socialise in a more refined manner. In order to access the Opera House a new Boulevard known as ‘Boul Haussman’ was built, which is one of the many new wider roads easing the traffic congestion which was once an inconvenience to the city. New public gardens were also constructed for the pleasure of Parisian citizens such as the newly redesigned Bois de Boulogne, which was previously only “an arrangement of paths and greenery.” (Hopkins, 2003) Due to his exile, Napoleon III spent years in England which introduced him to the ‘jardin anglais’ style of garden. The Bois de Bologne became a place where the elite Parisian haute Bourgeoisie came to unwind before heading home to the city (Hopkins, 2003) This new way of socialising became the way of life in the newly formed Paris.
- Kirkland, S., 2013, ‘Paris Reborn: Napoleon 111, Baron Haussman, and the Quest to build a Modern City’, Washington Post, 12 April, Available at:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/paris-reborn-napoleon-iii-baron-haussmann
- Richard S. Hopkins, 2003, ‘From Place to Espace: Napoleon III Transformation of the Bois de Bologne’, Arizona State University
- Baker M, Jon., ‘Old Maps of Paris’ Available at: http://www.oldmapsofparis.com/map/1900