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Haussmann: 1800s

Posted by Malindi Pender on June 14, 2018
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Paris became “Paris” during the 1800s. The most sought after properties of today are the Haussmann-style apartments that began to be built in this era. After a trip to London, Napoleon appointed a city planner named Georges Eugene Haussmann in 1853. Napoleon was inspired by the cityscape in London, particularly the green spaces and wanted Paris to follow suit.  The population of Paris had grown enormously while the topography of the streets remained the same, diseases were spreading rapidly and the city’s conditions needed to adapt. During his tenure, Haussmann created the 20 arrondissements, large parcs, larger and wider boulevards. During his time he provided 100 miles of streets, 4,000 acres of park, 400 miles of sewers. Under Haussmann’s direction, a style of homes were created and continued to be made even after his death.

What stands apart about Haussmann style buildings are the horizontal lines that continue across each building creating a look of uniformity. While the exterior of these buildings was a united front the interior was separated to reflect wealth and status. Houses could not exceed six storeys and their proportions had to match the width of the street. The first floor was often used for commerce. The second floor was used for nobility. Third and fourth floors were less elaborate in design and lower windows. The top floor held a Mansard roof and was occupied by maids’ chambers- petit studios with a bathroom in the hallway. The noble second floor characteristically had high ceilings, ornate moldings, parquet floors, double doors, and floor to ceiling windows. The middle class and wealthy lived in the west of Paris and the lower class, in the east. Although Haussmann faced much criticism for demolishing homes, making people relocate and furthering the gap between the rich and the poor, his work in Paris is iconic and even after his departure.