Haussmann-free ParisNovember 8, 2006 at 3:23 pm | Posted in vie quotidienne | 2 Comments
In the mid-nineteenth century, Napoleon III commissioned Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann to rebuild Paris for the modern era. Up until this point, Paris had been much like other European cities: dirty, dark, disorderly, and in grave danger of fire or plague. But Haussmann changed all that — he swept away most of the teetering medieval houses and stinking alley-ways, and replaced them with broad, sunlit boulevards and solid stone buildings with matching façades.
Nowadays, as you walk around the city, you see a lot of this:
And it’s beautiful. All those blue slate roofs, the wrought iron railings, the pierre de taille… For a lot of people, that Haussmann look is the very definition of Paris.
It gets a little dull. After a couple of months of living here, all those grand vistas terminating in perfectly manicured parks and brilliantly illuminated fountains start to seem a little blah. And maybe it’s just an onslaught of the winter greys, but lately I find myself yearning for winding back streets and ramshackle, idiosyncratic structures.
Luckily, there are little pockets of “old Paris” hiding here and there throughout the city, if you know where to look. Here are a few of my favorite spots from the streets around my apartment:
This is one of my favorite little streets — twisty and a bit creepy looking, especially at night.
Do you have any favorite, Haussmann free corners of Paris? If so, please share a few — I’d love to have some new neighborhoods to explore.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.