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NAPOLEON III - Autograph Letter Signed 1864 to Baron Haussmann

  • £1,450.00

NAPOLEON III (1808-1873)

Autograph Letter Signed (“Napoleon”) to “Mon cher Monsieur Haussman”, giving him detailed instructions about the work he had undertaken redesigning Paris.
1 page large 8vo with integral blank leaf in French, n.p., 6 June 1864. 
Trans: “I am sending you various things which interest me. You have already replied to me regarding the demands of the boutiques of the avenue de St. Cloud, but I would like this business to be settled promptly. I am also sending you the drawing of the paving system of Milan I would like it to be tried in Paris or in the suburbs but most especially that the engineers change nothing about it and that the slabs should be in Paris stone and not in granite.
During the two decades preceding the Franco-Prussian War, Georges Haussmann, generally known by his courtesy title Baron Haussmann, transformed Paris. In 1853, Napoleon III entrusted the greatest project of the Second Empire, and its most enduring monument, to Haussmann. In 1850, the streets of Paris were narrow, dark, and often insalubrious. By 1870, over half the buildings of Paris had been torn down to be replaced by the buildings familiar to Parisians and tourists today, the broad, straight boulevards connected the various districts of Paris giving a sense of grandeur and light, and parks and squares allowed the city to breathe.
But Haussmann was as concerned with the more mundane practicalities of rebuilding a great city. An effective sewerage system was one, and another was the building of roads and pavements. Haussmann gave a great deal of thought to the roads of Paris, balancing the relative merits of materials for durability, ease of cleaning and noise, the last still an important consideration at a period when transport generally involved horses.
It is interesting to see here the close attention which Napoleon gave to these matters, with very definite instructions being issued. The cost of the rebuilding gave rise to much criticism at the time, as did the disruption caused to both residents and businesses, many of whom suffered as a result, but there is no doubt today that this work has created a city which is a lasting monument to both Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann.


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