Brigham Young University
French Masters Student
Hired by Napoleon III on June 22 1853, as préfet de la Seine, George Eugène Haussmann was to renovate medieval Paris in order to create a more orderly and sanitary city. This transformation would take Haussmann from 1852 to 1870 to realize and in order to complete this daunting task he was required to demolish a large portion of the heavily populated areas on Île de la Cité. This quartier was one of the central areas of the involuntary displacement caused by the transformation. This modification of the urban topography of Paris resulted in the displacement of the city’s poor working class, les bas-fonds. With this involuntary displacement of the bas-fond, the crime that inhabited that area was dispersed along with the people among the périphérie, while still remaining in the center of Paris. This transformation and displacement led to the annexation of multiple banlieue along the périphérie, of which the poor working class were forced to inhabit, and which is still today inhabited by the poor immigrants.
In order to more fully understand the reasoning behind Napoleon III and Haussmann’s plan we will start out by analyzing medieval Paris, what can be termed as pre Hausmannien Paris. As we look at the following images, we can see how this city may appear to be in disarray and overpopulated, which leads to it being associated with filth. (slide 1) This first map dates from 1572 and the Ile de la Cité and its surrounding areas are already becoming very densely populated. We then move on to a map from 1618 (slide 2) and see that the city has continued to grow and become even more populated. As the years pass, this little area of Paris continues to grow exponentially. We move on to a map dating from 1716 (slide 3), after this time not much has changed from 1716 to the time of Haussmann (1850’s & 60’s) (slide 4).