Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Steven Sargent




Between 1853 and 1870 the face of Paris was dramatically altered by the modernization effort on the part of the Second French Empire. Hundreds of thousands were displaced, billions of francs were paid out by the government, and old Paris gave way to the new. This is important today to the study of history as it marks the definitive end of an era of aristocratic oriented government and the start of the prominence afforded to the middle classes.

The renovation of Paris and the Palais Garnier defined an architectural style called Second Empire that was copied by many cities across the western world and still defines the iconic images of Paris. Understanding the layout and popularity of the renovation help to explain why many cities such as Vienna, Berlin, or Buenos Aires look the way they do today. The economy of Paris in the nineteenth century and today relies on the renovation to boost growth and sustain the billions of euros spent by tourists every year. And finally, Haussmann’s renovation of Paris substantially improved the standard of living of the average Parisian and laid the groundwork for the modern amenities that the city enjoys today.