The year 1864 in Paris was a time of significant development and change as the city was still in the process of transformation under the leadership of Emperor Napoleon III and Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who were undertaking a vast urban renewal program. Here are some significant events from that year:
Continued Haussmannization of Paris: The renovation of Paris, also known as Haussmann’s renovation, was in full swing in 1864. Baron Haussmann, appointed by Napoleon III, was undertaking a large-scale program to modernize the city. The plan included the construction of wide boulevards, squares, and parks; the demolition of crowded and unhealthy medieval neighborhoods; the building of new sewers, fountains, and aqueducts. This massive urban renewal project drastically changed the physical layout and appearance of Paris and greatly improved public hygiene and comfort.
The Red Cross Movement: While this is not a Paris-specific event, it’s worth noting that 1864 was the year the First Geneva Convention was signed, establishing what would become the International Red Cross. France, and by extension Paris, was one of the original signatories. The humanitarian principles established by the Red Cross would go on to have a significant impact worldwide, including in Paris.
Opening of Public Facilities: Many public facilities and structures were opened in Paris in the mid-1860s as part of the city’s modernization. For instance, the construction of the Paris Opera (Palais Garnier) began in 1861 and was a significant ongoing project in 1864.
Cultural Developments: Paris was a hub of cultural and intellectual life during the 19th century. In 1864, there would have been numerous exhibitions, performances, and literary publications contributing to the city’s vibrant cultural scene. Notably, Alexandre Dumas fils’s play “The Lady of the Camellias” was adapted into Verdi’s opera “La Traviata,” premiered in Paris during this period.
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