H is for Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as Baron Haussmann. He is best known as the civic planner who redesigned the narrow Rues of Paris with grand boulevards. He was commissioned by Napoleon III to modernize the city in 1852. Its funny to think that the Paris we see today, is less than a 100 years old in its visuals. I wonder what the old streets of Paris used to look like? The narrow roads that took you nowhere, or pushed you through claustrophobic little alleyways.
Between 1853 and 1870, Paris took a turn for the new under Haussmann’s watchful eye. How did he redesign the city? He razed many of the old, twisting streets and rundown apartment houses, replacing them with the wide, tree-lined boulevards and expansive gardens. Haussmann’s plan also included uniform building heights, grand boulevards, and anchoring elements including the Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Opera House, all of which is what Paris is known for today in regards to architecture.
Books on Haussmann
- Transforming Paris : the life and labors of Baron Haussmann
- Haussmann : his life and times, and the making of modern Paris
- Paris reborn : Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the quest to build a modern city
- The man who made Paris Paris : the illustrated biography of Georges-Eugene Haussmann