Haussman

1752 mots 8 pages
Under the Second Empire, Paris was almost in the same aspect of the Middle Ages: streets were still dark, narrow and unhealthy, some buildings were falling apart and the city was close to break. Paris was also overcrowded and the living conditions in the apartments were alarming. The cholera epidemic touched many people and reached the uptown. The Capital and its citizens needed radical changes. Napoléon III, was aware of the seriousness of the situation and was willing to make Paris a purified and great modern capital with opened areas and suitable for modern transport.

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte nephew of Napoléon I, became President of the French in December 1852. During his stay in England, Napoleon III had been impressed by the West London: the reconstruction of the English capital after the fire of 1666, the arrival of new architects with different visions but also the technical evolution in London had made this city a benchmark for hygiene and urban planning, and the President wanted to make Paris a city as prestigious as London.

Inspired by the English model, Napoleon III wants to makes radicals changes in Paris and focuses his concerns around the modernization of the Capital. He appoints the Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, prefect of the Seine from 1853 to 1869. In his book Le Paris d'Haussmann, Patrice de Moncan, describes Haussmann mission as a way to “aerate, unify and beautify the city”. The thrust of the work is to have better air and traffic flow, in line with the hygienists’ theories, but also in response to the cholera epidemic of 1832. Haussmann uses the pre-existing ideas of his precursor Rambuteau but he systematized his principles in a program of urban reconstruction unparalleled in the world.

Paris before Haussmann suffers, as much as all the major cities of the time, of a lack of a coherent network of urban roads. The king Louis Philippe highlights the lack of hygiene. Rambuteau says in a letter to his king published in his

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