Baron Haussmann, Prefect of the Seine (1809-1891)

Georges Eugène Haussmann was born Paris in 1809. He was a supporter of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, who named him Prefect of the Seine Department in 1853. During his time as Prefect, he carried out a massive renovation of Paris. Napoleon III, who had been impressed by London's modern city planning and hygiene, wanted to transform Paris, a city that remained essentially medieval, into a capital just as prestigious, modern, and functional as the English one.

The two men substituted extensive avenues and boulevards for the old, dark, easily-barricaded narrow streets. This had a political as well as an aesthetic function. By protecting the city from future insurrections, these public works contributed to the pacification of Paris.
Under the Second Empire, Paris was rebuilt according to a whole new street plan. Haussmann transformed Paris, isolating its many monuments to make them stand out magnificently. For example, the avenue de l'Opéra was constructed in such a way that it leads the eye to the Opéra Garnier, inaugurated in 1874.

Moreover, the Emperor and the Prefect created parks and public gardens across the city, including the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes. The entire sewer system was made healthier. Napoleon III wanted to develop direct and practical transportation throughout the city. New train stations were built, situated around the old city, and connected to one another by long streets.

Haussmann turned medieval Paris into the modern French capital that it is today, by making it more functional, clean, and modern, and by giving it its modern-day aesthetic that is known and admired around the World, with its vast avenues and boulevards, its open places adorned with statues, its splendid monuments, and its serried ranks of identical, six-story buildings.

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