The 19th century was a period of massive transformation for Paris, marked by political upheavals, architectural revolution, and cultural flourishment. Key events and developments include:
Napoleon’s Rule and Fall: The early part of the 19th century saw the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul and then Emperor. The Napoleonic Wars had a substantial impact on France and Paris, shaping its political, social, and physical landscape. Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 at Waterloo brought about the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy.
July Revolution: In 1830, the July Revolution resulted in the overthrow of Bourbon King Charles X and the ascension of Louis-Philippe as the “Citizen King”, marking the beginning of the July Monarchy.
Revolution of 1848 and the Second Republic: Widespread social unrest led to another revolution in 1848, which ended the July Monarchy and led to the establishment of the Second Republic. The revolution brought about significant social reforms, including the abolition of slavery and universal male suffrage.
The Second Empire: Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was elected as the first President of the Second Republic. He later declared himself Emperor Napoleon III, marking the beginning of the Second Empire, a period of significant modernization and expansion for Paris.
Haussmann’s Renovation of Paris: Under Napoleon III, Prefect of the Seine Georges-Eugène Haussmann carried out a massive urban renewal program of Paris, involving the demolition of crowded and unhealthy medieval neighborhoods, the building of wide avenues, parks, squares, and new buildings with uniform facades.
Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune: The Franco-Prussian War led to the downfall of Napoleon III and the proclamation of the Third Republic. The Siege of Paris and the subsequent rise and fall of the radical socialist Paris Commune in 1871 had profound effects on the city.
Cultural Developments: Paris solidified its position as a global center of art and culture during this period. It was the birthplace of movements like Romanticism, Realism, and Impressionism, with artists like Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, and Monet creating some of their most famous works in the city.
The Expositions Universelles: Several World’s Fairs (Expositions Universelles) held in Paris during the 19th century, most notably in 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was built, helped to showcase the city’s modernity and innovative spirit to the world.