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Old November 1st, 2010, 07:43 PM   #221
Leugom
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Paris was lucky to be "destroyed" in a time when architecture was still worth its name as an Art.... now try do that to any city today (including Paris) and replace its historic buildings with modernist "marvels" and see how THAT turns out
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 02:09 AM   #222
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Plus ca change.....

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Originally Posted by parcdesprinces View Post
Where is the Avenue de l'Opéra ?? (and the Opéra/Palais Garnier itself btw):
Haussmann nursed a dream of building a new and expensive opera house and had in mind the site he wanted, but did not broach the plan because of the expense. He did however prepare the way by a network of streets, optimistically named after French composers of operas. These outlined a diamond shaped plot on which Opera Garnier now stands.
Neither the Opera, nor it's leading avenue was completed by the end of the Second Empire.
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Originally Posted by Leugom View Post
Paris was lucky to be "destroyed" in a time when architecture was still worth its name as an Art.... now try do that to any city today (including Paris) and replace its historic buildings with modernist "marvels" and see how THAT turns out
I so totally AGREE with you Leugom!
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Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
And so that's why you want to preserve the work of the 19th century destroyers (the Haussmaniacs) at all cost? Talk of a Stockholm syndrome!
I think it a mistake to entirely condemn the Haussmannian works as you do. There certainly were, and still are, great positives.
Perhaps we should stop concentrating on the aesthetics of his buildings which seem to annoy you, and explore the reasons for them being erected in the first place.
Between Napoleon I and Napoleon III many things happened to make the re-building of Paris far more urgent.
Paris in 1850 must have been a fearfully inconvenient and squalid place to live.There were in fact many serious outbreaks of epidemics such a cholera, (and worse) due to the unsanitary and unhygienic conditions in much of the city.
The population was increasing rapidly, due to access provided by the new rail system, ...and even then the drift from country to city had started. Thousands of new people were crowding into the already over-crowded and poorly prepared area. There was no running water system to any of the houses, ...the population relied largely on wells extremely contaminated by sewerage or run off from overcrowded cemeteries, and cesspits. Means of thoroughfare were awkward to say the very least. There were few parks to act as the "lungs" of the city, and there was no sewerage system in place at all. Human excrement was thrown into a rudimentary drain in the centre of the road, ("Gardez l'eau!"), along with household garbage and other refuse. It sat there festering until a heavy rainstorm MIGHT move some of it, but only a short distance.....the Seine itself was virtually one long open sewer, although people did drink it!
Clearly, Paris, could not continue as it was, ...a medieval village to all intents. Remodelling Paris was not exactly a new idea. Plans and even some actual projects were carried out under Henry IV, Louis XIV and Louis XV, ...and Napoleon I.
However, sooner or later SOMEONE would have to "bite-the-bullet" and go all the way.
Luckily, I think, it was Haussmann, ......at the very least you'd have to admit he got SOME of it right. The water, sewerage and drainage for a start, ..if nothing else, unless you'd enjoy stepping in even worse than the dog-merde, as we still do even now...
I must confess I am at a bit of a loss as to fully understand the vehement hatred you and others here profess for Hausmann's efforts. Is it the style itself, ....or the methods under which it was carried out?
Haussman did not actually construct most of those buildings now identified as "Haussmann". He did enforce stipulations regarding uniform height restrictions, width of pavement, etc. and the style of construction by inserting clauses into the contracts of sale to private purchasers of the land. These rules were made in perpetuity.
Is this so unlike building regulations now made today in most cities worldwide?
Having seen the horrendous result of previously unrestricted individualism in so many other cities, I'd have to say I'd agree with Haussmann.
OK so he may not have ALWAYS got-it-right. Who does? Modern architects still commit monumental blunders, (remember those damn tiles that would insist on falling off Opera Bastille?) ...but the point is that the standard of traverse, health and a certain degree of style Paris now enjoys, are largely due to the work of Haussmann.
Paris was not bombed into oblivion in the second world war, ...(thankfully), ...although the little Austrian who virtually owned it at the time certainly wanted it totally destroyed upon his armies forced withdrawal.
The Parisians, .....and the rest of the world owe a VERY great debt to one General Dietrich von Choltitz, who was brave enough, and appreciated Paris enough, to disobey his direct orders. I do hope Paris has raised a monument to this man somewhere, ...however small!
Consider the possibility for a moment that Choltitz HAD carried set off the fuses and reduced Paris to rubble, ..OR the Luftwaffe/British/Americans...(does it REALLY matter?), ..HAD bombed the life out of Paris as a strategic target. How would it have been rebuilt then? Medieval would be gone, (a la Tours), Haussmann would be gone.....indeed everything recognisable as "Paris", ...gone!. Take a look at the fate of Berlin after the war, ......and you'll see what I mean.
What kind of a city would Paris be now? It's my bet you would be looking at the typical quickly erected post-war utilitarian mass housing, ...and damn ugly stuff it was too.
You could of course just continue to intentionally knock Paris down and rebuild in whatever the current fashionable mode of the time is every 150 years or so.
A sort of recurrent demolition/renewal cycle. Indeed, the socialist Parisian powers would probably revel in the destruction of that seen now as "bourgeois". Would that make them any better than the changes that were sanctioned to be carried out by Hausmann? Would you have a "better" city? A more livable or attractive one? Or just more glum people?
Plus ca change, ...as they say in France...!
ADDENDA: The Luftwaffe DID carry out their only raid on Paris during the night of 26th August AFTER their withdrawal from the city. More than 200 people were killed and almost 1000 injured, ...most were in the impoverished eastern quarters of the city where for some reason the damage was concentrated.
Hitler had offered to bomb Paris earlier to assist with the planned destruction before German withdrawal but Choltitz begged off by saying a air raid would kill just as many Germans as French.
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Last edited by LeStryge; January 19th, 2011 at 06:11 AM.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 11:07 PM   #223
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Paris is such a beautiful city, just diont make the mistakes that the US did with our cities. Some modern buildings would look nice in the center of paris but modern architecture is usually a hit and miss and very difficult to get right, especially when you trying to blend with the surroundings. And why not renovate and revitalize the center rather than destroy and build new (then you start sounding like a modern day Haussmann). Paris was luckey it rebuilt during the victorian era rather than the 50's 60's or 70's. And some Haussmann building should be torn down and replaced with the architecture before the reconstruction, dosent have to be a replica but in the same style, would be nice and add even more character to an already wonderfull city. And when I say "before" I mean right before the destruction. Like around 1840's ( some randome year, don't get critical if it wrong for some reason).
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Old July 13th, 2011, 11:30 PM   #224
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Another example of destruction by Haussmann: Passage d'Harcourt, near the Collège d'Harcourt, a Medieval college of the Sorbonne built by the famous Anglo-French Harcourt familly during the Middle Ages. This passageway was demolished due to Haussmann's obsession with straight avenues (Avenue Saint-Michel in this case).

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Old July 13th, 2011, 11:35 PM   #225
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A rare example of the pre-Haussmannian Paris that has survived Haussmann's destruction. This is rue Raynouard, in the old village of Passy (16th arrondissement).

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Old July 13th, 2011, 11:39 PM   #226
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Rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre in 1865 :


The same street today after Haussmann destroyed most of the neighborhood:
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Old July 14th, 2011, 02:23 AM   #227
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
A rare example of the pre-Haussmannian Paris that has survived Haussmann's destruction. This is rue Raynouard, in the old village of Passy (16th arrondissement).
I loooove your propaganda, Bris. !



Oh, and BTW, the Balzac House (and stuff...) is faaar from being "rare", not to mention the fact that a significant part of the Balzac house's land is located in Auteuil (not in Passy...)...





J'dis ça, j'dis rien...

Last edited by parcdesprinces; July 15th, 2011 at 09:29 AM.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 06:50 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by LeStryge View Post
Paris was not bombed into oblivion in the second world war, ...(thankfully), ...although the little Austrian who virtually owned it at the time certainly wanted it totally destroyed upon his armies forced withdrawal.
The Parisians, .....and the rest of the world owe a VERY great debt to one General Dietrich von Choltitz, who was brave enough, and appreciated Paris enough, to disobey his direct orders. I do hope Paris has raised a monument to this man somewhere, ...however small!
Consider the possibility for a moment that Choltitz HAD carried set off the fuses and reduced Paris to rubble, ..OR the Luftwaffe/British/Americans...(does it REALLY matter?), ..HAD bombed the life out of Paris as a strategic target. How would it have been rebuilt then? Medieval would be gone, (a la Tours), Haussmann would be gone.....indeed everything recognisable as "Paris", ...gone!. Take a look at the fate of Berlin after the war, ......and you'll see what I mean.
What kind of a city would Paris be now? It's my bet you would be looking at the typical quickly erected post-war utilitarian mass housing, ...and damn ugly stuff it was too.
I was in Warsaw recently and your quote makes me think about destiny. As far as capital cities go, Warsaw looked even worse then Berlin. Warsaw's destruction was also more evil and sinister then the "strategic" bombings of Berlin. I'm talking about apocalyptic destruction. Today the city is quite dynamic though.
After the war, the French happened to be on the right side. The Louvre got all of it's lovely art back. Parisian and French culture has remained intact, without any gaping holes. I hope the French, and Parisians specifically appreciate how gentle history has been to them, compared to their fellow Europeans to the East.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 07:53 AM   #229
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hope the French, and Parisians specifically appreciate how gentle history has been to them
Eh !!!









BTW.....why don't you try to open a good history book......
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Old July 14th, 2011, 08:00 AM   #230
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Eh !!!









BTW.....why don't you try to open a good history book......
I'm generalizing to keep it short
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Old July 14th, 2011, 08:14 AM   #231
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..

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Old July 14th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #232
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@rychlik: This thread, and this documentary series are just for you...: Apocalypse: The Second World War

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Old July 15th, 2011, 02:04 AM   #233
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- puis divorcé -
Ça m'étonne pas.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 02:32 AM   #234
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I hope the French, and Parisians specifically appreciate how gentle history has been to them, compared to their fellow Europeans to the East.
The mass of what was destroyed during the French Revolution is almost as big as what was destroyed in Poland during WW2 (not due to war, in France's case, but due to Revolutionary vandalism). The France you see today is largely a 19th century reconstruction. Even the Gothic catherals are largely 19th century reconstructions (most of Notre Dame statues were destroyed during the French Revolution for instance, and its spire was toppled by the Revolutionaries, but re-erected in the 19th century).

Just in Paris, they destroyed countless Medieval churches (Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie, Saint-André-des-Arts, Saint-Jean-en-Grève, etc.). They also destroyed almost all the church ornaments and furniture in all the Paris churches (all the ornaments and furniture you see in the churches of Paris today are 19th century reconstructions). They melted the gold and silver treasure of Notre Dame (ancient cups, crosses, etc.). They destroyed ALL the Medieval cloisters and monasteries of Paris. Paris was the city with the most cloisters and monasteries in Medieval Europe (Saint-German-des-Prés, Saint-Martin-des-Champs, Saint-Victor, the Temple, and countless more), but all of them were destroyed during the French Revolution, not a single one survived (except the basement of the Bernardins). They destroyed half of the royal palaces in the vicinity of Paris (Marly-le-Roi, Choisy-le-Roi, Le Raincy, Meudon, etc.). They sold the furniture and upholstery from the royal palaces that they didn't destroy. For example all the furniture and upholstery that you can see today at Versailles was either remade or bought back in the 19th and 20th centuries. They opened the royal necropolis in Saint-Denis, desecrated all the royal tombs, threw the bodies of 10 centuries of French kings, queens, and princes in pits outside the church. They toppled almost all the statues and columns of Paris (all the royal statues that you can see today in Paris, such as King Henri IV on the Pont Neuf or Louis XIV on Place des Victoires had to be recast and re-erected in the 19th century). They even went as far as removing and melting the needles of the most ancient clock of Paris, the Medieval clock that adorns the Palais de Justice, because the needles had fleur-de-lys at their tips.

Then as if it wasn't enough, the city suffered a double-whammy during the 1871 Paris Commune and siege of Paris. During the siege of Paris, some of the remaining royal castles in the vicinity of Paris were destroyed (Saint-Cloud for instance). Then the Revolutionaries of the Commune, in retaliation against the bourgeoisie, burnt to the ground the royal palace of the Tuileries, as well as the palace of the Dukes of Orléans (known as "Palais Royal" in French), the Orsay Palace, the Palace of Justice (all its Medieval archives went into flames!!), the Renaissance Paris City Hall (the one you see today was rebuilt in the 1870s), and countless other buildings. Oh, they also specifically burnt the archives of the city of Paris, which were stored in a separate nondescript building, thus reducing to ashes the 8 million baptism, marriage and burial records of all the parishes of Paris since the early 16th century! They also planned to burn the National Archives of France, which would have been a catastrophic loss for the history of France and the world, but the guy in charge of setting fire to the National Archives decided at the last moment not to execute the orders. They also tried to burn the museum of the Louvre mind you, with the Mona Lisa, Venus of Milo, etc., but the curators of the museum managed to extinguish the fire with the help of some inhabitants from the nearby streets.

As you can see, it's not very far from Warsaw in terms of destruction. The only difference is the private dwellings were not targeted, but then Haussmann took care of these. If you look at the Paris of 1789, probably 80% to 90% of it has been destroyed. Almost all the Medieval heritage of Paris, which was made up of churches, monasteries and Sorbonne colleges, was destroyed during the Revolution and in the 19th century.

Last edited by brisavoine; July 15th, 2011 at 02:45 AM.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 03:10 AM   #235
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This was the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés for instance, with its cloisters, abbey palaces, gardens, etc. If it had remained intact until today,
it would be one of the most famous Medieval complex in Europe and probably one of the most visited monument in Paris. Unfortunately most
of it was destroyed during the French Revolution and its aftermath, except for the abbey church (which was saved at the last minute, but
they toppled two of its three towers, only one remains today) and the 16th century abbey palace.

The Medieval library of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, located in the western (right) wing of the main cloister, contained the largest collection of
manuscripts and books in Paris, but it burnt in 1794 (an accidental fire due to the use of the abbey church by the Revolutionaries to make
powder for the French Revolutionary Army).

SCROLL>>>


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Old July 15th, 2011, 06:44 AM   #236
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Thanks for this history lesson, brisavoine.

Last edited by erbse; July 16th, 2011 at 12:04 AM. Reason: Stop the quotes people!
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Old July 15th, 2011, 09:35 AM   #237
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Ça m'étonne pas.
moi non plus en fait...
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Old July 15th, 2011, 12:24 PM   #238
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The mass of what was destroyed during the French Revolution is almost as big as what was destroyed in Poland during WW2
Hmmm....Didn't know all this. Yet it's silly to compare our wounds but still I would agree with You only if we assumed that from XVI cent. up to Second World War Poland were a place of peaceful harmony where nothing were lost.
Of course that's completely untrue. During XVII cent. in "Deluge" Poland lost more then in IIWW, and in XVIII we had Prussians, Russians and Austrians on our backs who were stealing and melting all they could.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 01:22 PM   #239
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True, but how do you explain that for example medieval Cracow is still intact ?
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Old July 16th, 2011, 12:48 AM   #240
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Thirst of all Krakow wasn't the capital during "Deluge" nor during partitions and IIWW.
Second: polish Enlightenment didn't embrace church demolishing. It was more evolution then revolution against previous regime. The Church was no enemy neither to nobles nor to a king nor to the peasants. Furthermore we had orthodox Russia, protestant Prussia and Muslim Turkey as neighbors so religion became rather a part of polish identity that differed us from the neighbors. We had outside enemies not inside rebellion against entire past.

Krakow was away from all the political problems and yet royal castle suffered when it was taken by Prussians who took all the crown jewelry and all the treasures of the past that kings gathered. And simply melted them. Imagine the English collection of royal treasures from Tower to be simply melted. From this great collection only "Szczerbiec" - sword for crowning ceremony, survived. Then the Austrian entered and changed royal castle into a garrison. Still, catholic Austria had no problems with catholicism in Krakow neither. Krakow, after moving capital to Warsaw in the beginning of XVII century, became insignificant.

So during "great events" Kraków was a provincial town which still could boast it's past's numerous architectural jewels. Yet it was changing. During XIX Austrians made some modernizations in Krakow like disassembling medieval fortifications and minor churches on Wawel hill. The town disassembled renaissance town hall, it was changing facades of tenements, and etc... it was not frozen in time.

I'm sure there are many provincial beautiful medieval towns in France. The pity of Paris is that Hausmann really fell into some kind of zeal against all that reminded him past. I'm sure there were more buildings that deserved to be saved just from the artistic point of view. And at least there should be saved en enclave, a core, that would underline a continuity in time of this city. It would show that this city had life before XIX century. I'm not against Hausmann's ideas, I'm simply against his totalitarian approach. I would save old town of size, at least, Warsaw's old town or Krakow's...
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