Plan for the Improvement and Beautification of the City of Paris, in Accordance with the Designs Already Outlined by the Government


Charles de Wailly (1730-98) was a French architect who is known today for the buildings he designed, rather than for his plans for urban redevelopment. The work he carried out as an urban planner was limited to the environs of the Paris Opera and the new Port-Vendres, in Roussillon. De Wailly nevertheless had a great many ideas for urban redevelopment that never advanced beyond the planning stage. He devised at least two general concepts for a renovated Paris. One of these seems to have disappeared; the other, acquired by the National Library of France in 1913, represents the first attempt at a total reorganization of the capital. Breaking with the ideas of previous planners, who had proposed redevelopment of the city by sectors, de Wailly envisioned a profound remaking of the entire Parisian landscape. His plan included laying out large new avenues, constructing public squares, erecting monuments, providing more housing, conjoining the city’s islands (Cité, Saint-Louis, and Louviers), and improving the flow of the Seine. De Wailly planned not only to beautify the city, but to maximize the efficiency of urban space.

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Projet d’utilité et d’embellissement pour la ville de Paris qui s’acorde avec les projets déjà arretés par le gouvernement

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Manuscript map, with color enhancement on an engraved background, 62 x 83 centimeters

Last updated: September 25, 2015