Montpellier Haussmann Architecture

The baron Georges Haussmann is the very famous architect and town planner who rebuilt large parts of Paris between 1852 and 1870. What is much lesser known is that he also redesigned parts of Montpellier's city centre during that period. Indeed, the quarters around the Place de la Comédie are clearly of Haussmannian inspiration.

The project in Montpellier was quite different from that in Paris. In the southern city, Haussmanns redevelopment was part of a renovation of the central part of the city, mainly around the Place de la Comédie. As a result the Haussmann buildings provide a very specific style to this area but are far from being the main architecture style of the entire town as is the case in Paris.

Hallmarks of Haussmann's Style

The classic Haussmannian building has quite thick walls made of cut stone. On the front, very long decorated balconies can be seen (only on the second floor, the 'noble' floor before the invention of the lift in the late 19th century), whereas upper floors have a more simple design.

The stunning characteristics of these buildings is the horizontal lines around which they are organised. These lines are formed by balconies, windows and other elements of the proeprty façade . On the roofs, chimneys can be seen.

All Haussmann buildings in a street have the same height which is set according to the width of the street in front of the building.

Roofs are also standardized. The effect of this standardisation creates the prestigious appearance of the Haussmann buildings in Montpellier. This is exactly what can be described as a monumental style.

Colours used on these buildings are generally blue, beige and black. They are not painted, the colour is obtained only through the use of materials such as stone or steel. Decorations can be seen on the walls, however it is said that the original Haussmann buildings have very little decoration as the building did not need this to be beautiful.

Baron Haussmann

Georges Eugène Haussmann was born in Paris in 1809 and died in 1891. He was in fact a self-proclaimed Baron. Son of a merchant, he studied law and became quickly prefect of the Seine, a deparment near Paris. Napoléon III asked him to reform the urban planning in Paris, he then transformed and renovated 60% of the buildings of that time.

Following this success he then did works in other cities of France including Montpellier and his style was still applied in Paris 50 years after the first works.

However, his work was much criticised by many who described it as destructive and extremely costly.

If you are interested in buying such a property, you should know that their value is quite high given the demand, and that you should inspect the building before buying to identify potential works required.

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