1st Edition

Paris The Shaping of the French Capital A Political Perspective

By Paul Balchin Copyright 2021

    This book offers a new perspective on French architecture, describing the impact of political history on the architectural development of Paris. Through various stages in history from the Roman to the Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern and Modern, Paris: The Shaping of the French Capital shows how the immense political power of monarchs, the aristocracy and church determined the pace and volume of building in Paris and the extent of town planning. Whereas many other great cities owe their historic importance to trade, and to local government (the City of London being a supreme example), these attributes were largely absent in Paris (throughout most of its history it didn’t even have a mayor). Arguably, because of this, gradually over the centuries the French capital emerged as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and now is a metropolis with a population in excess of 2 million.

    1. Introduction 2. The Emergence of Paris in the High Middle Ages 3. The Development of Paris in the Later-Middle Ages 4. The Flowering of Renaissance Paris 5. The Religious Divide: Implications for the Development of Paris 6. Early-Bourbon Paris 7. Absolute Monarchy and the Development of Paris 8. The Emergence of Paris as a Superpower Capital 9. Revolutionary and Imperial Wars: The Impact on the Built Environment of Paris 10. The Restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy and Its Effect on the Growth of Paris 11. Napoleon III’s Paris – the City of Light 12. An Interlude from Revolt to World War: 1871-1914 13. Recovery and Depression: 1918-39 14. Modern Paris 15. Conclusion.


    Paul N. Balchin was formerly Reader in Urban Economics, University of Greenwich, UK.