The Real Paris
A City Divided
Paris & Politics
Space & Money
The Bourgeoisification of Paris culminated in Baron Haussmann's
renovation of the city.
Between the Revolution of 1789 and Haussmann's renovation in the 1860's,
ideals changed from those of a politically motivated city to those
of an economically and socially centered city. Modern
technology such as railroads and gas
lamps were conveniences which the rising bourgeoisie could enjoy
in their leisurely lifestyle. New spaces
that were created during the renovation encouraged the bourgeoisie to
flaunt their new wealth, creating a booming economy. All of these examples
of the changes occurring in Paris during this time period can be seen
in representations of the city.
There are two views of Baron Haussmann: One depicts
him as the man who destroyed Old Paris, and the other as the man
who created New Paris.
Baron Georges Eugene Haussmann (1809-1892) was appointed
by Napoleon III on June 22, 1853 to "modernize" Paris.
In this way, Napoleon III hoped to better control the flow of traffic,
encourage economic growth,
and make the city "revolution-proof" by making it harder
to build barricades. Haussmann accomplished
all this by tearing up many of the old, twisting streets and dilapidated
apartment houses, and replacing them with the wide, tree-lined boulevards
and expansive gardens which Paris is famous for today.
(Click on the image to see a larger version)
|This is a diagram of the Rue Saint-Denis, as renovated by Haussmann.
Notice that the new street is significantly wider than any existing
streets, and is designed to pass directly through many existing buildings.
The Rue Saint-Denis, unlike the existing streets, is also very straight.
Napoleon III hoped this would discourage rioters, who were in the
habit of setting up barricades in the warren-like streets.
Haussmann the Hero:
"How ugly Paris seems after a year's
absence. How one chokes in these dark, narrow and dank corridors
that we like to call the streets of Paris! One would think
that one was in a subterranean city, that's how heavy is the
atmosphere , how profound is the darkness!" -the Vicomte
de Launay, 1838,(as quoted in Rice, p 9)
Historian Shelley Rice, in her book "Parisian Views"
asserts that "most Parisians during [the first half of the
nineteenth century] perceived [the streets] as dirty, crowded, and
unhealthy . . . Covered with mud and makeshift shanties, damp and
fetid, filled with the signs of poverty as well as the signs of
garbage and waste left there by the inadequate and faulty sewer
system . . ."" (p 9). For these people, Haussmann
was performing a much needed service to the city.
|The image above was taken by Charles Marville for Baron
Haussmann's City Council Permanent Subcommittee on Historic Works.
The purpose of this committee was to record Old Paris for the city
archives, as well as to survey the city and mark areas to be renovated.
The street in the photograph is the Rue Estienne. It is narrow, damp,
and dirty. There are no sidewalks, which would have discouraged potential
customers from frequenting the shops which line the street on either
side. In the background, one can see more refuse, which has made the
street impassible. Haussmann destroyed streets like this one, in favor
of wider, and better ventilated streets which would encourage upper
Haussmann the Destroyer of Paris:
Because of Haussmannization, the 1860's was a
time of intense upheaval in Paris. Many Parisians were troubled
by the destruction of old roots. Historian Robert Herbert asserts
that the impressionist movement depicted this loss of connection
in such paintings as Manet's "Bar at Folies," 1882.
The subject of the painting is talking to a man, seen in the mirror
behind her, but seems unengaged. According to Herbert, this is
a symptom of living in Paris at this time: the citizens became
detached from one another The continuous destruction of physical
Paris led to a destruction of social Paris as well. Haussmann
was also criticized for the immense cost of his project. Napoleon
III fired Haussmann on January 5, 1870, in order to increase the
approval ratings of the regime.
"Bar at Folies", Manet, 1881-82