When Baron Haussmann replaced M. Berges as Prefect of the Seine in June 1853, the outer edge of Paris was still defined by the so-called boulevards extérieurs. The Boulevard de la Chapelle, the Boulevard Rochechouart, the Boulevard de Clichy, the Boulevard de Batignolles and the Boulevard de Courcelles formed a “symbolic frontier” that followed the line of the former city wall, complete with toll gates, built in 1785.
Haussmann’s planning and building project irreversibly changed the face of the City of Light.
In 1927 Devambez published a book describing the different stages and setbacks of this mammoth project, for which the new Boulevard Haussmann provided a central axis: the plan was to make Baudelaire’s “sinuous folds of old capitals” into an ordered city that was easy to move around in and which boasted impressive open perspectives.
The work, halted by the war and solemnly resumed on 17 February 1923, ended on 15 January 1927, when, at a glittering ceremony attended by huge crowds, the President of the Republic hailed the series of imposing buildings that lined the elegant new boulevards.
This unique, richly documented and elegantly designed book features a large number of period prints, plates by Henri Montassier and etchings with bold perspectives by Raoul Serres. It continued the series devoted to the marvels of modern Paris, launched that same year with Les Arcades des Champs-Élysées.
Émile Combe, Le Nouveau Paris: l’achèvement du boulevard Haussmann, paintings by Henri Montassier, etchings by Raoul Serres, Paris, Devambez, 1927