18.10.10

Cité Napoléon

When the industries started to get important during the 19th century, workers and their families suffered from bad housing. An important step was taken in the mid of the 19th century, when the “Société des Cités Ouvrières” (Society for Worker Cities) was created. This led to many projects outside Paris; industrial cities especially in the east and the north of France were growing. The first project to be realized in Paris – in 1851 - was to be called “Cité Napoléon”; Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (the nephew of Napoléon I) had been elected president in 1848, later to become emperor under the name Napoléon III in 1852.
The building is still there, rue Rochechouart, with its particular, especially interior, design. 194 one- or two-room flats with a small kitchen were built for some 500 inhabitants. The rent was modest, but it seems anyhow to around 1850 have corresponded to more or less 1/3 of an average worker’s income, close to what also seems to be the norm today.

Although bathing and laundry facilities, meeting-rooms, shops and a day-nursery were created, the project was never really successful, rejected by as well workers as moralists who warned for the risk of anarchy and “socialist contagion”, despite an inspector who checked the “good behaviour” of the occupants – the gate to the building was closed at 10 p.m.. A few decades later the building was rather occupied by the lower “bourgeoisie”. I don’t have the list of people who live here today.

27 comments:

The Clever Pup said...

Very interesting. I like the glass ceiling. I was just in Paris and walked through Galerie Viviene and Galerie Choiseul and interested to see that their were residences on the upper levels.

Peter (the other) said...

One can imagine the hallways and courtyard being a bit livelier in its original state, but it is not unlike some forms of mid-20th century California apartment buildings with the open hallway floors(although those are sans glass cover).

Gee, those pesky socialists have been needing watching over for a long time!(har!)

Owen said...

Never heard of this place, so I can only thank you Peter for continuing to fill in the huge gaps of my knowledge of Paris. A vast subject by any means of measure.

Catherine said...

I bet they are quite the des res today - interesting snippet of social history...Greetings from Mexico..

V Rakesh said...

Wonderful pictures! Loved the stairways and the outdoors, especially the garden! Theres a certain unexplained charm!

joanny said...

Interesting that the building held up so well, some of it I like -- the gardens, the glass covered walkways,

I wonder how the interiors look?

Thanks for showing us this.

Cheers,
Joanny

delphinium said...

moi je parle français alors je réponds en français à ton post. Les cités ouvrières, vaste projet. Quand on voit comment les ouvriers sont parqués sur certains chantiers en Chine, cela fait peur...
Avoir un toit sur la tête, c'est déjà pas mal... mais après il faut voir ce qu'il y a sous le toit...

Adam said...

I've often meant to visit this place but never quite got around to it. Is it easy to get inside, look around and take photos?

Having said that, I must have walked past it a few times without even noticing it!

Olivier said...

je ne connais pas du tout, encore un de ces ilots dans la ville qui fait son charme

Bettina said...

Peter, another interesting history "lesson". I think this place looks rather nice and expensive too.

Paris Paul said...

Yeah, OK, I'll live there...Sign me up and thanks for the in-sights, Peter!

amatamari© said...

A fascinating place and incredibly modern! Really interesting ... thanks for sharing and for the beautiful pictures!
:-)

claude said...

Moi, je trouve que c'était une bonne idée, mais les fens ne sont jamais contents. Je ne sais pas comment c'était à l'époque de sa construction, mais maintnant à l'intérieur, ça semble chic. C'est assez chouette d'ailleurs !

Cezar and Léia said...

Very interesting story, I like very much the way you have played with those stairs , they made lovely pictures and compositions!
*** I'm worried about all "manifestations"and "La greve", I hope everything is okay there!
Hugs
Léia

Bagman and Butler said...

fascinating and well illustrated as always. You could publish a book except that it would be an encyclopedia.

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

I *just* ran into another reference of this place in a person's blog today, so it was cool to see it here now, and get more of the details and information about this place. How wonderful that you got inside and took these photos. But then this is the way you get it done, Peter, as always! :)

Starman said...

194 flats for 500 people...don't they call that a slum?

Nathalie said...

Comme Adam je me demande si tu as eu du mal à y entrer ? Bon je sais que tu as le chic pour entrer partout ;-)

Une belle utopie de cité ouvrière conviviale et communautaire, on imagine volontiers que les bobos d'aujourd'hui en font leurs choux gras !

herzensart said...

so beautiful and charming

Pete Hindle said...

What an amazing interior! Had to chuckle at the moralistic 10pm curfew - I can see why it wasn't so popular the first time around!

sara said...

These pictures are beautiful!
I'm working on a piece of creative writing which has a scene in Paris, so this has really helped me :D

Trotter said...

Never been there... I thought that the real cité Napoleon was Ajaccio... ;)

Anonymous said...

your photography is very good, contains a very good consistency

faith f. said...

This is so amazing! I love every corner of these places

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listentomusiconline said...

very nice .

thank you !

Прогулки по Парижу said...

I visited this place today on my walk in the "Quartier Nouvelle France" with a new guide book punlished in April, 2010 (promenades dans le centre historique). And I discovered that I was already not only in the yard, but even in one of the apartments (my friend lives there).