Son of an imperial military intendant of Napoleon, Georges-Eugène Haussmann was born in Paris in 1809. Lawyer, Haussmann began a prefectural career in 1831. On June 22, 1853, Napoleon III appointed him prefect of the Seine, a position he held until 1970. During seventeen years, Baron Haussmann has directed a vast restructuring plan, which transformed medieval Paris into a modern and prestigious city. The objectives pursued by this ambitious program are: to improve hygiene and the circulation, and to beautify the city.
Among the major developments and urban planning conducted by Haussmann: the construction of stations (Gare de Lyon, Gare du Nord…) and roads, the opening of broad boulevards and avenues (Boulevard Henri IV, avenue de l'Opéra…), the creation of squares (Place de l'Etoile, place de la République…), the construction of theaters and churches, the development of new parks (Bois de Boulogne, Parc Montsouris, Parc Monceau...), a better water supply systems and the construction of a new unedergound sewerage system.
Haussmann was criticized for the immense cost of his project. Nevertheless, his role in the development of the city allowed him to be appointed a Senator in 1857, member of the Academy of Fine Arts in 1867 and to receive the Legion of Honor medal in 1872. He remained Bonapartist despite the return of the Republic in 1870 and dedicated the end of his life to his memoirs. Haussmann died in Paris on 11 January 1891 and was buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris.