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Old May 21st, 2010, 03:07 PM   #121
Piltup Man
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Regarding the loss of mediaeval Paris: yes it is a shame that so much historical architecture was destroyed on such a vast scale, but was this not inevitable and necessary? It was a fire-risk and insalubrious, not to mention that if it had survived to this day traffic would be even worse in Paris than it is now. The metro could not have been built (as the earliest tunnels were excavated using the cut-and-cover technique), there would be no central railway stations.

I don’t think in these circumstances it is fair to label Haussmann a vandal.

As for the question should central Paris remain frozen in a mostly 19th century architectural time warp, I think that we should be very careful of what replaces some of the Haussmannien-style buildings that Brisavoine is suggesting could be demolished. I agree with him that the Hotel-Dieu is architecturally uninspiring and has little historical value, but at least it does not jar visually with the style of buildings around it, many of which are much more interesting and appealing.

Also before redeveloping central Paris, which I think serves its purpose quite well still, it would be more urgent to look at the greater Paris area where there are some banlieues that could do with an overhaul in terms of infrastructure, housing and attracting businesses, which would go a long way in solving some of the chronic social and economic problems that plague these areas.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 03:34 PM   #122
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I think the idea sounds good to tear down Hotel Dieu, and restore the old street grid (but not with copies of medieval houses, I guess nothing looks worse than fake old buildings). I really think this could be a nice sign that Paris belongs to Parisians not to tourists, and that buildings aren't good, just because they're old. (Especially a hospital! Imagine lying in a hospital built in the 19th century! I did once and I wouldn't recommend it, no matter how modern you renovate it, it stays a 19th century building not really designed for modern hospital standards).

I guess it would be especially nice, also as a sign against Paris overpriced rents and wealthy population concentrated in the center with poorer people locked out in the suburbs, to build social housing there. Of course it would have to be really nice architecture, but why does social housing always have to be dull or ugly? You could have shops, cafés, restaurants.. for tourists and Parisians on the ground floors and cheap apartments above, that would be really nice I guess. Old Paris is huge, demolishing one building, even if it is on the Ile de la Cité won't kill it.

We have the same problem in Vienna, even worse, nobody here would even think of changing anything in the 1st district (which I think is a good thing, because it is much smaller than the Paris center and quite lively and very popular not only with tourists but also Viennese, whereas when I was as a tourist in Paris on the Ile de la Cité I was alone among tourists, I even went to buy a sandwich and the shop owner asked my right away in English what i wanted), but the UNESCO keeps threatening to take away our title as world cultural heritage if we build a skyscraper which possibly could be seen from the historic center, and people then pee in their pants because they think tourists will stop coming as soon Vienna is no UNESCO world cultural heritage anymore and our city center will deteriorate just because you can see one skyscraper from the distance..

I guess in the end we need to see that a city is always changing, Paris has existed since Roman times, and it wouldn't be what it is now (which is not a tourist center, but the economic center of continental Europe) if it hadn't changed, Paris has historically always been a leader in modern architecture, it can't stop to be now.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 07:28 PM   #123
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Quote:
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Imagine lying in a hospital built in the 19th century! I did once and I wouldn't recommend it, no matter how modern you renovate it, it stays a 19th century building not really designed for modern hospital standards
We even have 17th century hospitals in Paris that are still used as public hospitals.



We also have a few 18th century hospitals. Princess Diana died in this one for example:


Hôtel Dieu (the current building) is definitely not the oldest hospital in Paris.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 10:22 PM   #124
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Anyway the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital is huge, it includes many modern buildings unlike the Hotel Dieu.

This is a map of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital.

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Old May 22nd, 2010, 02:21 PM   #125
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Whining about Paris being ugly is pathetic. I mean the city centre looks a bit monotonous but Paris was lucky to escape large scale redevelopment in the post-war era. Be glad that Paris doesn't look like Le Havre, Rotterdam or Birmingham.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 02:59 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namenlos View Post
I think the idea sounds good to tear down Hotel Dieu, and restore the old street grid (but not with copies of medieval houses, I guess nothing looks worse than fake old buildings). I really think this could be a nice sign that Paris belongs to Parisians not to tourists, and that buildings aren't good, just because they're old. (Especially a hospital! Imagine lying in a hospital built in the 19th century! I did once and I wouldn't recommend it, no matter how modern you renovate it, it stays a 19th century building not really designed for modern hospital standards).

I guess it would be especially nice, also as a sign against Paris overpriced rents and wealthy population concentrated in the center with poorer people locked out in the suburbs, to build social housing there. Of course it would have to be really nice architecture, but why does social housing always have to be dull or ugly? You could have shops, cafés, restaurants.. for tourists and Parisians on the ground floors and cheap apartments above, that would be really nice I guess. Old Paris is huge, demolishing one building, even if it is on the Ile de la Cité won't kill it.

We have the same problem in Vienna, even worse, nobody here would even think of changing anything in the 1st district (which I think is a good thing, because it is much smaller than the Paris center and quite lively and very popular not only with tourists but also Viennese, whereas when I was as a tourist in Paris on the Ile de la Cité I was alone among tourists, I even went to buy a sandwich and the shop owner asked my right away in English what i wanted), but the UNESCO keeps threatening to take away our title as world cultural heritage if we build a skyscraper which possibly could be seen from the historic center, and people then pee in their pants because they think tourists will stop coming as soon Vienna is no UNESCO world cultural heritage anymore and our city center will deteriorate just because you can see one skyscraper from the distance..

I guess in the end we need to see that a city is always changing, Paris has existed since Roman times, and it wouldn't be what it is now (which is not a tourist center, but the economic center of continental Europe) if it hadn't changed, Paris has historically always been a leader in modern architecture, it can't stop to be now.
Thanks to Haussmann Paris today is what it is, before reconstruction, Paris was an ordinary medieval town with some extraordinary monuments, but the usual medieval town.

Modern interventions are a problem in Zagreb even though the city, completely different from Paris
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 03:10 PM   #127
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Thanks to Haussmann Paris today is what it is, before reconstruction, Paris was an ordinary medieval town with some extraordinary monuments, but the usual medieval town.
The usual Medieval town... with 1,375,000 million people (the population just before Haussmann became prefect of Paris).
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 05:30 PM   #128
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I don't see the point of why the city would not survive without modern architecture in the center, even if the central district covers the area of 34 km2. Would companies, shops, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theaters, night clubs, inhabitants, students, tourists all leave due to lack of modern investments? It's not the newest architecture that defines the quality of life.
Agree 100%. There is plenty of room for new buildings outside the centre.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 06:09 PM   #129
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The usual Medieval town... with 1,375,000 million people (the population just before Haussmann became prefect of Paris).

I thought in architectural sense
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 06:38 PM   #130
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I can understand that Parisians would prefer to have medieval Île de la Cité to what it is now, but if they want that medieval feeling, they can always go to Barcelona to walk around in Barrio Gótico district It looks very nice, but if I was Parisian, I could perfectly live without it.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 07:08 PM   #131
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Quote:
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I can understand that Parisians would prefer to have medieval Île de la Cité to what it is now, but if they want that medieval feeling, they can always go to Barcelona to walk around in Barrio Gótico district It looks very nice, but if I was Parisian, I could perfectly live without it.
Or Venice, which is a perfectly intact medieval city. Besides, the Marais was untouched by Haussman, so Paris does have a medieval quarter in the city.

I think the problem with Paris is excessive gentrification where only the rich can live in the city. All the poor people have been moved out to the suburbs. All the starving artists and other creative types have been pushed out, only to be replaced by bankers and lawyers (and their families).

In other words, Paris is a victim of its very own success. Haussmann made Paris so beautiful that it has attracted rich people to live within its city. So much so, that it is impossible to live there if you don't have deep pockets.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 12:24 AM   #132
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I thought in architectural sense
In an architectural sense, the Medieval Paris (i.e. the area of the city that was already built-up by 1500) made up only 15% of the urbanized area of Paris when Haussmann became prefect of the Seine. 85% of the built-up areas he found had been built after 1500, particularly after 1750. Many districts were already quite modern, such as the Nouvelle Athènes, the Faubourg Saint-Honoré, and the Faubourg Saint-Germain.

Here a view of the Nouvelle Athènes district, which was developped in the 1820s, 30 years before Haussmann became prefect of Paris:
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Old May 24th, 2010, 03:08 AM   #133
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Medieval enough for you guys?

[img]http://i41.************/rv92yp.jpg[/img]
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Old May 24th, 2010, 10:22 AM   #134
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Where is that?
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Old May 24th, 2010, 11:05 AM   #135
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I think Rouen or somewhere else in Normandy.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 01:39 PM   #136
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Medieval Paris? Dumb...
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Old May 24th, 2010, 08:17 PM   #137
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Last edited by Henry IV; June 23rd, 2010 at 01:20 AM.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 09:51 PM   #138
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I think Rouen or somewhere else in Normandy.
Nope.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 09:52 PM   #139
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Strasbourg? Colmar?
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Old May 24th, 2010, 09:55 PM   #140
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Quote:
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I think Rouen or somewhere else in Normandy.
It's further east.
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