The City in European History

Nineteenth-century London, Paris, and Vienna

Readings: Girouard, Cities and People, Chapter 13: London and the Growth of the Suburb, Chapter 14: Paris and the Boulevards, and Chapter 16: Cities Around the World.


Notes for an Essay on London in the Nineteenth Century.

1. Describe major characteristics of center London, including the design and construction of Regent Street and Regent’s Park, the development of the club, and the administration of the city as a whole.  What happened after 1825 to London’s urban development?

2. Describe changes in London’s topography during the Victorian era (1837-on).  Focus on developments in residential architecture and sanitation.

3. Describe the “villas” and “cottages” erected on the outskirts of London; who built them and why?  Describe the development of St. John’s wood and explain the historical importance of this project.

4. Evaluate the significance of the passage quoted by Girouard from Hippolyte Taine: “The townsman does everything in his power to cease being a townsman, and tries to fit a country-house and a bit of country into a corner of the town.” [p. 282].


Notes on Paris in the Nineteenth Century

1. Describe the principal features of the Parisian topography before Baron Haussmann’s reconstruction of the 1850s and 1860s.  Describe the “Old Paris” depicted in the photographs of Charles Marville.

2. Describe the main features (streets, sanitation, buildings) of Baron Haussmann’s and Napoleon III’s plans for the rebuilding of Paris.  Evaluate the statement of Amédée de Cesena: “In reality, the Paris of today . . . is already so different from Paris yesterday that one would call it almost a new city.”

3. Describe the boulevards, avenues, parks, and squares built in Paris.  Pay particular attention to the map.

4. Describe the sort of shopping arrangements that developed in Paris during the nineteenth century.  What is the significance of the Bon Marché?

5. How did Eduardo de Amicis describe the Paris of the 1870s?  Describe the sections of Paris that foreigners like de Amicis did not visit.

6. What sort of life-style developed on Montmartre and who went there?  Note especially the picture by Renoir of the Moulin de la Galette and that of the Moulin Rouge.


1. Describe the principle features of the topography of Vienna in 1857.

2. Describe the creation of the Ringstrasse, 1857-1914, including the rationale for this transformation of Vienna.  Identify and describe the buildings erected along the Ringstrasse.


1. What does a recent historian mean when he writes: “First London, then Paris, and finally Vienna attempted to turn themselves into monuments in the course of the nineteenth century.”  Evaluate the achievements of the planners of nineteenth-century London, Paris, and Vienna.

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Last Update: 13.IV.2004

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