Paris Reborn by Stephane Kirkland
Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City

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Synopsis

Stephane Kirkland gives an engrossing account of Napoleon III, Baron Haussmann, and one of the greatest transformations of a major city in modern history

Traditionally known as a dirty, congested, and dangerous city, 19th Century Paris, France was transformed in an extraordinary period from 1848 to 1870, when the government launched a huge campaign to build streets, squares, parks, churches, and public buildings. The Louvre Palace was expanded, Notre-Dame Cathedral was restored and the French masterpiece of the Second Empire, the Opéra Garnier, was built. A very large part of what we see when we visit Paris today originates from this short span of twenty-two years.

The vision for the new Nineteenth Century Paris belonged to Napoleon III, who had led a long and difficult climb to absolute power. But his plans faltered until he brought in a civil servant, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, to take charge of the implementation. Heedless of controversy, at tremendous cost, Haussmann pressed ahead with the giant undertaking until, in 1870, his political enemies brought him down, just months before the collapse of the whole regime brought about the end of an era.

Paris Reborn is a must-read for anyone who ever wondered how Paris, the city universally admired as a standard of urban beauty, became what it is.

 

About Stephane Kirkland

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STEPHANE KIRKLAND holds advanced degrees in architecture and art history and has worked as an architect and as a consultant. He now shares his time between Brooklyn and Paris, writing about architecture, urban planning, and history.
 
Published April 2, 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin. 336 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Paris Reborn

Kirkus Reviews

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A mildly revisionist history that gives principal credit for the modernization of Paris to the monarch rather than the prefect.

Mar 19 2013 | Read Full Review of Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, B...

Publishers Weekly

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The filthy, haphazardly arrayed Paris immortalized in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables gives way to the idealized tree-lined boulevards and planned building projects of the opulent Second French Empire, i

Dec 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, B...

Kirkus Reviews

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A mildly revisionist history that gives principal credit for the modernization of Paris to the monarch rather than the prefect.

Mar 19 2013 | Read Full Review of Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, B...

The New Yorker

In this wide-ranging and readable history, Stephane Kirkland contends that the transformation of Paris in the mid-nineteenth century from a medieval town into a modern city was more the brainchild of Napoleon III than of Eugene Haussmann.

May 13 2013 | Read Full Review of Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, B...

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