The Rebuilding of Paris Streets

Earlier transformations of the city consisted of adding to the already existing urban fabric. Napoleon III’s idea of restructuring Paris by cutting streets through it represented a major change in approach. Outlined in the diagram below (Fig. 1), Napoleon III proposed a new system of boulevards to run throughout the city. These new boulevards were crucial for two reasons: 1) A stage for elegant living, promenading, and socializing in shops and outdoor cafes/restaurants. 2) Connecting corridors between city landmarks (Fig. 2). In addition, these streets both connected the railways stations in the outer regions of the city to the key points in the center (government buildings, markets, hospitals, business & entertainment districts), and in turn linked the central organs of business and administration (fire department, riot police, ambulance, store deliveries) to the city’s various quarters. Specifically, the creation of Boulevard Saint-Germain completed what was to be an inner ring/circuit, connecting Place du la Concorde to the Bastille.

paris streeets 2

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

Saalman, Howard. “The Rebuilding of Paris.” In Haussmann: Paris Transformed, 14-15. 1st ed. New York: George Braziller, 1971.

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