Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tree-Lined Boulevards of Paris

When in 1853, Napoleon III employed Baron Eugene-Georges Haussmann to redesign the city of Paris, it resulted in the largest urban redevelopment Europe had ever seen. The main feature of Haussmann's design, a tree-lined network of radial boulevards, was still a relatively novel concept of city planning in Europe at the time. His concept of creating widened tree-lined boulevards that network through the city, providing long vistas that eventually terminate with a monumental structure, was still a relatively novel idea for urban planning in Europe at the time. According to Henry W. Lawrence, these boulevards are derivatives of ten different European "formats" including the "garden allee, wall and waterside promenades, the mall, the cours, the exterior avenue, the palace promenade, the baroque boulevard, the interior avenue, and the nineteenth-century boulevard" (355).

The consistency with which this "tree-lined boulevard" concept is applied throughout the city of Paris results in an urban plan that creates a hierarchy among the city's streets, allows for a clear and understandable organization of the city's circulation, and provides an unquestionably appealing aesthetic as well. The regularity of parks within the city, along with the neatly trimmed trees that line the streets, and the abundance of fountains and flora, serve as an integral part of the functional aspect of Haussmann's design, and are at the same time highly successful in the beautification of the city.

Sarah Wade


Lawrence, W. Henry. "Origins of the tree-lined boulevard." The Geographical Review. 78. (1988): 355.

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