Thursday, April 14, 2011


I loved learning about the architecture in Paris while I was there. I had a few disjointed conversations, about Napoleon 3rd and Haussmann, with French speaking cafe owners and then spent the rest of my evenings researching the modernisation of Paris on the internet (I had free internet and phone in my apartment.... yes free phone to any landline in Australia!). Yes, when I wasn't researching Parisian architecture, or revisiting the 2006 'Marie Antoinette' movie (starring Kirsten Dunst.... I love that movie!), I was watching an 8 Part Series on 'The French Revolution' on You Tube. #nerd.

Haussmann's modernisation of Paris, starting in the mid 1800's, is fascinating stuff. If there is nothing decent on telly one evening, google him. He did some great stuff.

Apart from his gorgeous little street signs and lamp posts, wide avenues and stunning state buildings, his apartment building designs set my heart a flutter. Haussmann-style buildings typically have 5 to 7 floors and were designed to house several families. I did not know this and wandered for a day or so thinking that each building originally was one big aristocratic house back in the day (based on the one whopping door in the middle). 

See the characteristically long balconies on the 2nd and 5th floors

The Haussmann style was designed for the middle class though, a segment of the Parisian population that grew massively throughout the 19th century. The ground floor typically housed a business of some sort, so the owners would most often live above on the first floor. The second floor was reserved for the wealthiest families who could afford to live high enough from the road to avoid noise and not climb too many stairs. Top floor was generally for servant staff with small rooms and common facilities. Fifth floors were also favoured as they offered good views of the city. You can see how the second and fifth floors were given long continuous balconies because of their special popularity. How things have changed... the top floors are most coveted today!

You can imagine the little servants rooms up on the top floor of this complex (each dormer being a separate room)

I was surprised at the price of some of these apartments in the centre of Paris. You can get a basic two bedroom for 500K euros. You can't even get a two bedder for that price here in my apartment complex in West End, in downtown Bris-Vegas. What is the world coming to! ... and don't get me started on the one euro, 2 feet long baguettes. Australia is expensive!



  1. How interesting, I love a bit of history and all the stories behind it. I really enjoyed it when I was in England and learning about how a lot of our sayings came to play. I shall go forth today more educated! Thanks. ;-)

  2. I am immensely enjoying your posts on Paris. I was just there two weeks ago, and like you, love, love the architecture!!
    I did, however read there is a French law that regulates the price of a baguette so that everyone can afford it! No regulation on those eye candy pastries, though, right?
    I loved seeing all the architecture,, so magnificent!


  3. I woud never had known this , interesting post.
    A-M are you about to do a Vicki Archer move ?
    Karyn x

  4. LOVED this post A-M. I think I need to see that Youtube series.

    A :)

  5. I have some great books about the history of day I'll finish reading them!

  6. I enjoyed that post A-M. I feel like I have learned something so if I fritter away the rest of the day it won' t matter. Mind you I want to know more about Paris, such a beautiful and intriguing place.

  7. I agree Deb, me too. I am frittering away the morning doing brain numbing housework.... so a brief thought about Parisian architecture is about as intellectually stimulating as my day will be. Maybe the boys will teach me something they learnt at school today when they get home! 8 year old was telling me all about how Einstein was a thief yesterday... A-M xx

  8. Well if you are doing housework then send me an email, I'm chasing you you naughty girl!!

  9. Hi A-M,
    Loving hearing all about this. How fascinating. I wondered how all the apartments worked over there. We stayed in the Marais district in an apartment on the third floor. No lift, which; with Lottie, her pram and various extras, the fact that the internal light was on a timer and turned off leaving us often in the pitch black and the stairs themselves were worn, dented and generally treacherous from years of use, made for some very 'interesting' and funny attempts to get up them! Perhaps you could buy one of the apartments?!!! Wouldn't that be wonderful! Can but dream... Enjoy your day. Emma.

  10. dayumm girl...i leave the bloggy world for a few weeks and what do you do? go to Paris without me, whahahahah, how lucky treasure. Mel xxx

  11. Thanks for explaining why the balconies are continuous on the 2nd and 5th floors - so obvious when you know! love the big front doors, they would make me smile every time I entered. i'm not sure I could manage all those stairs everyday though, especially with the kids, pram, groceries, school bags, bits and pieces from the car etc!,
    Clare x

  12. Ooh, loved this one, A-M. I saw an ABC series on Haussmann a few years ago which was brilliant - do try to find it if you can. Just fascinating. Oh, please don't stop - these photos are making my week more bearable! J x

  13. Oh the Baguettes!! Love the architecture too. Those prices you mention make me reconsider moving back to Oz when perhaps I could move to Paris. Now that's a thought!

  14. I often bemoan the fact that modern architecture puts so little emphasis on prettiness. The lines of the building here, the proportions of the windows, the corbels, the pretty wrought iron are all things that make this look beautiful and no doubt make the occupiers smile inside when they come home each day.


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx