Haussmann’s plans, with their radical redevelopment, coincided with a time of intense political activity in Paris. Many Parisians were troubled by the destruction of “old roots”. The continuous change of physical Paris led to a dramatic change within the social Paris as well. Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was a French poet whose work expressed the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century.
The Swan – Charles Baudelaire
“Old Paris is gone (no human heart
changes half so fast as a city’s face)…
There used to be a poultry market here,
and one cold morning… I saw
a swan that had broken out of its cage,
webbed feet clumsy on the cobblestones,
white feathers dragging through uneven ruts,
and obstinately pecking at the drains…
Paris changes . . . but in sadness like mine
nothing stirs—new buildings, old
neighbourhoods turn to allegory,
and memories weigh more than stone.”
– “Charles Baudelaire.” Wikipedia. February 12, 2014. Accessed December 6, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Baudelaire.
– Cummings, Michael. “Baudelaire’s The Swan: A Study Guide.” Baudelaire’s The Swan: A Study Guide. January 1, 2011. Accessed December 6, 2014. http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides8/Swan.html.