Monument to Baron Georges Eugene Osman in Paris


Monument to one of the greatest urban planners of the 19th century. Baron Georges Eugene Haussmann (Monument au baron Haussmann), who during his lifetime was sometimes called the "destroyer of Paris", is located on the corner of Boulevard Haussmann and Rue Laborde.

The birth of the "city of light"

In 1853, J. E. Osman (1809-1891) headed the prefecture of the Seine and, on behalf of Emperor Louis Napoleon, developed a project for the reconstruction of the capital. Until the middle of the 19th century. Paris was still a medieval city with narrow winding streets. In times of unrest, it was very easy to block them with barricades, which led to protracted street battles between the rebels and law enforcement forces.

During the years of work of J.E. Haussmann as prefect of the Seine, Paris of the unrecognizable was transformed. Instead of crooked streets in the capital, straight avenues were laid, and instead of dilapidated houses, buildings with communal amenities were erected. Not all contemporaries shared his position on the transformation of the capital. Many of them considered the demolition of about 20 thousand old buildings to be barbaric, so the baron was often compared to the leader of the Huns Attila.

The big changes were not limited to the new layout of city streets, boulevards and avenues. Under the leadership of Baron Haussmann, the newest sewerage system for its time appeared in the capital, and along with it, new gardens and parks were laid and landscaped in the city. After the fall of the empire in 1870, J.E. Haussmann was forced to leave his post, but irreversible changes had already taken place in the architectural appearance of the city.

The grandiose urban planning innovations carried out by Baron Osman, despite sometimes harsh criticism, inspired many foreign architects for the reconstruction of cities. The ideas proposed by him were used in the improvement of the historical centers of Vienna, Stockholm, Madrid, Rome, Brussels and Barcelona.

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Monument to the Urban Pioneer

The monument to Baron J.E. Haussmann was erected on one of the central streets of Paris in 1899. The sculptor François Cognier was the author of the spectacular bronze statue. The mayor's figure was cast on a wax model at the Bischelier foundry. On the metal base of the monument, one can still clearly distinguish the names and surnames of its authors.

Baron Osman is depicted standing on a high rectangular plinth. The sculptor gave him a slightly arrogant and proud pose. He is wearing a long blazer with a large turn-down collar and a bow tie. Over the suit, the Senator's cloak is draped over his shoulders.

In his left hand the prefect of the Seine holds a folder with documents, apparently, on the transformation of Paris, and in his right hand is clutched a top hat, fashionable in the century before last. The baron's right leg is slightly forward and rests on a small step. With a slight turn of his head and with a slight smile, he looks at the city streets that have been transformed according to his plans.

A short explanatory inscription is carved on the stone surface of the front side of the monument. Its laconic text says that the monument was erected in honor of Baron J.E. Haussmann, prefect of the Seine in 1853-1870.

Getting there

Address: Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 75008
Metro: Miromesnil
Bus: Haussmann - Miromesnil