The First Phase of Construction
The first of Haussmann's tasks in the reconstruction of Paris was to complete the project that Napoleon III had begun before the coup d'etat, the extension of the Rue de Rivoli from the Louvre east to the Hotel du Ville. This project was especially important as the it was to be an attraction at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1855. Haussmann began his work on this project immediately by widening the Rue de Rivoli and creating two new boulevards Strasbourg and Sebastopol, which intersected with the Rue de Rivoli to form the grand croisée de Paris, a large square in the middle of Paris. These new streets improved communication and traffic in downtown Paris. Haussmann created several new squares in the area, widened many of the streets, improved the flow of traffic and built the Hotel du Louvre, the first large luxury hotel in all of Paris to house the guests during the Paris Exposition. Haussmann also built several new boulevards, two new theatres at Place du Chatelet the Cirque Impérial and the Theatre Lyrique across from one another. With the help of Eugène Belgrand, Haussmann also began the reconstruction of Paris' sewer system which was at that time incredibly unsanitary and was the cause of many pandemics throughout 19th century. In 1855 Haussmann built a new railroad station the Gare de Lyon. This first phase of construction, which ended in 1856 created nearly ten kilometres of new roads, tore down thousands of old medieval buildings, built thousands more to replace them, and cost nearly 230 million Francs.
The Second Phase of Construction
The second phase of construction, which began in 1858, focused heavily on the construction of new boulevards to connect the most important areas of the city. Haussmann expropriated much of the land on either side of the roads, tore down the buildings and replaced them with the cream coloured apartments and shops that are there today. During this phase Haussmann redesigned the square surrounding the Arc de Triomphe, repaired damage done to both Notre Dame Cathedral and Saint-Chapelle Cathedral, and enlarged and modernized the Hotel de Dieu hospital on Ile de la Cité. Due to overcrowding in the downtown area and an ever increasing population Napoleon III annexed the surrounding arrondisements of Paris extending the borders of the city and increasing the number of arrondisement from 12 to 20 the current number. In 1865 Haussmann built a second train station the Garde du Nord and began work on building and improving the gardens of Paris. Napoleon's initial goal of the reconstruction was to improve the quality of life in the city and a large part of that plan revolved around the construction of eighty parks in each of the Paris neighbourhoods so that the people of Paris were always a short walk from a beautiful garden. During this second phase of construction Haussmann built the Bois de Boulogne park in 1858, the Bois de Vincennes which he completed in 1865, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont which was constructed in 1867, and finally the Parc Montsouris, the construction of which began in 1865, but was not completed until 1878. The second phase of construction was the largest and resulted in close to 27 kilometres of new road being built, thousands of buildings being expropriated, torn down and rebuilt, and many famous and beautiful parks being built. Unfortunately this phase was also incredibly expensive and went hundreds of millions of Francs over budget. It was initially supposed to cost 180 million Francs, however due to court cases brought against the city, the amount of money that land owners had to be paid when their land was expropriated increased significantly, the final cost of this construction was 410 million Francs, leading to outcries from the French government who were being forced to pay for the construction.
The Third Phase of Construction
Although the construction of the parks was very popular amongst all Parisians, there was mounting opposition against another round of construction from the conservative members of the French government, and from many Parisians who were tired of the constant construction disrupting their daily lives for the past two decades. Nevertheless the third round of construction was approved in 1869 with an estimated cost of 280 million Francs. The plan for this round of construction focused on the completion of several major roads and the construction of several more smaller ones, as well as the completion of the the squares at the intersections of these major roads. Haussmann had planned the construction of the Paris Opera and had cleared the land for it during the previous two rounds of construction and began building the opera itself with the help of Charles Garnier an architect who designed the Opera and oversaw its construction. Unfortunately Haussmann was not able to complete his reconstruction of the city as he came under heavy criticism from the French parliament. Napoleon III, who was facing increasing pressure from the conservative opposition, asked him to resign in January of 1870 and when Haussmann refused, Napoleon forced him to leave his position. Despite the fact that Haussmann was forced to leave the construction of the roads and the opera continued without him. The Paris Opera was eventually completed in 1875 and the major roads were all completed between 1877 and 1889, except for two roads, Boulevard Raspail and Boulevard Haussmann, which were not completed until 1907 and 1927. Approximately 20,000 medieval buildings were torn down during the renovation and 30,000 modern buildings were constructed to replace them The renovation of Paris became increasingly controversial throughout the construction as it disrupted the lives of Parisians for more then two decades and cost nearly 2.5 billion Francs, however it did accomplish what Napoleon III set out to do, it increased the quality of life throughout all of Paris, reduced the amount of disease and sickness, increased the amount of open space in the city, and transformed a dilapidated medieval city into a beautiful European metropolis.
Interesting Articles About the Renovation of Paris
The New Yorker, Paris Reborn and Destroyed
Hyperallergic.com, A Tale Of Two Cities Charles Marvilles Photographs Of Paris Before Haussmann