Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s

An official photographer for the city of Paris during the mid-1800s, Charles Marville was tasked with documenting the medieval streets of old Paris during the time that Haussmann, an urban planner under Napoleon, was demolishing chunks of the city to make way for larger boulevards and structures.


This street on Ile de la Cité no longer exists.

Rue de Constantine in 1866, before its demolition (Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s)

Well…one thing Haussmann did that wasn’t so pretty was the installation of public urinals. (Although they were probably handy and fine at the time.) This one sat in front of a theater on the Boulevard Saint-Martin in the 10th Arrondissement.

Urinal in the 10th, 1876 (Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s) 

The Bièvre River, a narrow waterway providing support to many tanneries and and mills that flanked it, was covered in Haussmann’s renovations. It still technically flows underneath Paris, joining the sewer system.

Looking down the banks of the Bièvre River at the bottom of the rue des Gobelins (5th Arrondissement) in 1862 (Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s)

This was taking from the rue Boucher (still there). This street was torn down to make way for the rue du Pont-Neuf.

Haussmann’s method of urban planning wiped out lots of small streets to improve air circulation and provide a better system for waste. Basically, the tiny streets of old Paris meant people were living in filth.

The no-longer existing rue Estienne in the 1st Arrondissement, 1862-1865 (Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s) 

This small passageway no longer exists, however you can still walk along the rue de Richelieu in the 1st Arrondissement.

Passage Saint-Guillaume, looking toward the rue de Richelieu, 1863-65 (Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s)

Here’s a really fascinating relic, which shows the dichotomy between the urbanized central Paris of the 19th century, and the ruggedness of its outskirts. This was literally a shantytown.

Top of the rue Champlain in the 20th Arrondissement, 1877 (Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s)

Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd Arrondissement is still there and is a lively pedestrian street filled with specialty food shops. Yum.

Impasse de la Bouteille from the rue Montorgueil, 1865–68 (Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s)

A time lapse shows Parisians walking along the Boulevard de Sebastopol, which is flanked by stately gas lamps. By 1870, twenty thousand gas lamps had been installed in the city, which had previously been a dark and scary place at night.

Near Arts et Métiers in 1864 (Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s)

Fun fact: It took over 200 years to build Notre Dame.

Here is a view of a spire of Notre Dame, facing Ile St. Louis (Rare Photos Of Paris From 1860s)


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