Baron Haussmann: How Architecture Ended The French Revolutions

By | December 5, 2019

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The man and the city he helped redesign. (

Today, the romance of Paris monopolizes all other aspects of the original City of Love. Whether couples intertwine beneath the Eiffel Tower's famed arch or etch their initials into a lock on the Ponts des Arts bridge, the joyous atmosphere of love envelopes the city, but Paris's vaunted alleyways and roundabouts might tell a different story if streets could talk.

Certainly, a man named Georges-Eugène Haussmann, also known as Baron Haussmann, would share a much colder story about the avenues of Paris. That's because Baron Haussmann was responsible for ending the seemingly endless revolutions and revolts that plagued Paris for so many years, but not with some genius stroke of diplomacy. He did it with architecture.

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Paris in 1838, according to Louis Daguerre. (Flickr)

The Problem

During the 19th century, Paris was under siege, not by a foreign army but its own people. Parisians couldn't agree whether they supported dictatorships, democracy, or other, and by 1870, six different regimes were pulled down by massive riots and rebellions. By the time Napoleon III declared himself emperor in 1852, someone finally noticed a key element of the various revolutions: the streets