Stephane Kirkland - Paris Reborn

Review :

Paris Reborn is a well-researched volume about Napoleon III and his Prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann. Many people know that without the emperor and mostly without, Haussmann, Paris would not look as it does today with its wide boulevards, Second Empire style architecture and its grand Opera House, Hotel de Ville, etc.

Stephane Kirkland, himself an architect, offers a very readable account of the events from the day Napoleon III arrived in Paris in 1837 to the end of his emperorship in 1871. There has always been controversy about whether the mass destruction of the old Paris to build the "new" was a good thing or not, but from the point of view of sanitation, the creation of lovely parks, and the ability to travel across the city from one end to the other, it was certainly a success. The millions of people who visit "Europe's Capital" each year would most likely agree.

I would say that this book is for true Francophiles: readers who enjoy French history and architecture, but would likely be of interest to others, as well.


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