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Wide boulevards flanked by trees, stately buildings and wrought iron balconies. The monumental beauty of Paris as we know it today has largely been the work of Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann. Commissioned by Napoleon III in the 19th century, this urban architect designed a completely new street plan. In just 17 years, Paris was transformed from a medieval city to a modern capital.
Although the plans were controversial at the time and Haussmann radically reshaped large parts of the city, his vision has undeniably contributed to the charm of contemporary Paris. Inspired in part by London, he designed a mix of winding streets and sophisticated allure. The greatness of Haussmann’s vision is perhaps best seen at Place Charles de Gaulle, the location of the Arc de Triomphe. 12 boulevards branch out into the city in a radial pattern – hence its old name ‘Place de l’Étoile,’ which means Square of the Star.