A sparkling account of the nineteenth-century reinvention of Paris as the most beautiful, exciting city in the world
In 1853, French emperor Louis Napoleon inaugurated a vast and ambitious program of public works in Paris, directed by Georges-Eugène Haussmann, the prefect of the Seine. Haussmann transformed the old medieval city of squalid slums and disease-ridden alleyways into a “City of Light” characterized by wide boulevards, apartment blocks, parks, squares and public monuments, new rail stations and department stores, and a new system of public sanitation. City of Light charts this fifteen-year project of urban renewal which–despite the interruptions of war, revolution, corruption, and bankruptcy–set a template for nineteenth and early twentieth-century urban planning and created the enduring landscape of modern Paris now so famous around the globe.
Lively and engaging, City of Light is a book for anyone who wants to know how Paris became Paris.