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cism is not very severe, and if it cended strange odors of suspicious stopped there the Paris house would, at cookery. He did not annoy the tenall events, be a commodious piece of ants, and his good-will could be bought furniture. It possesses, in our opinion, for a few half-crowns. The species is one serious defect, namely, that its not quite extinct, but is now only occupants are not at bome; one has found in the old parts of the city, in the impressiou of being merely camped those houses of plaster and rubble there — that one is living in the street. whose dilapidated fronts, sloping inThe principal entrance is used by ward and resting on antiquated bases, people of all sorts and conditions. If hide the secrets of tive or six generaone of your fellow-tenants happens to tions. The modern concierge is a be standing there, you cannot pass in totally different person. He is proor out. The staircase also is a public vided with a lodge furnished, if not thoroughfare ; you risk meeting dis- luxuriously, at least in excellent taste, agreeable faces, people with whom you with stuff curtains to the windows, a do not care to come in contact. Even carpet on the floor, carved table and the door of your apartment is public, as sideboard, and large, comfortable armanybody can ring and cause it to be chairs. When you address him, he opened, with the excuse of having mis- replies, if at all, from the depths of taken the floor, or even without any one of these easy-chairs. He will not excuse at all. The tenant above you deign to answer unless your appearance may have dancing going on all night pleases him, or it is to his interest to over your head, and the little daughter do so. Should it be your intention to of the one beneath may awaken you at become a tevant of a flat in the house dawn by her piano practice. The over which he rules, it is well to exFrench horn is about the only thing amine him closely, as he will be your forbidden. The violoncello is not pro- master. He will see your visitors behibited, and a most perfidious instru- fore you do so, and if he disapproves of meut it is ; when it begins to groan it them he will declare that you are not can be heard from the first floor to the at home. It is to him that the postsixth. Paris houses of recent construc- man will hand your letters and newstion are more sonorous than the older papers. He will read both, in order to ones, on account of the extensive use kuow your political views and your of iron and hollow pottery. The sound family affairs. The law docs not forof the voice can often be heard from one bid him to do this, if he is so inclined. flat to another. Still, there are compen- Quite recently a discontented tenant sations for these annoyances. The man carried the question before the court, who tortures his violoncello, may have when the judge non-suited him, detalent, or the neighbor's young daugh- ciding that every concierge has the right ter may be a virtuoso in the bud. to read his tenants' letters, provided he Even the people who elbow you on the delivers them afterwards. stairs may please you, and you may This is the great drawback of Paris perchance attend the ball on the floor houses. Certain persons regarded it above or the musical evening given be- so seriously that they concluded it low. After all, these are only minor would be preferable to live in houses miseries, and could easily be borne if built after the London style. Conit were not for the concierge.
tractors came forward, ground was The concierge is just as much a part purchased in the outer parts of the city, of the Paris house as is the corner- and some very handsome “
“ birdcage stone thereof. Whoever may be the dwellings were erected. Some of the landlord, the concierge is the master of features of English architecture were it. In former times he was called the slightly modified, and, on the whole, porter, and followed some lowly trade, these houses did not present an unpicsuch as tailor, cobbler, or mender of turesque aspect. In order to give broken china. From his lodge as-'them a more English air, each house had a small garden in front, in which portious, a revenue of three per cent. two or three shrubs were planted. can be counted upou from the second These abodes, pompously called hôtels, year after completion, and at the end were promptly let, and the success of of three years it ought to reach four this new departure enticed other build- or five per cent., if the house is well ers, so that at a certain moment it was placed, solidly constructed, intelligently believed that the English style would planned, richly decorated — if, in short, put the “chest of drawers ” into the it has a fine appearance and sheds shade. But the burglars caused this lustre on those who live therein. The tendency to ceasc. Abandoning their insurance companies are alive to the favorite pursuit of pluudering servants' importance of these conditions, and bedrooms, which in houses built in spare no effort to meet them. They flats are in the attics, and are seldom give their architects a free hand, aud visited by their occupants during the are not niggardly as to the choice of day, they combined together to transfer building materials, the interior and their energies to these small isolated exterior decoration, or the means of houses, where the booty promised to attracting tenants and keeping them. be richer and easier to secure. Left Capitalists ou the lookout for good inunguarded during the summer, these vestments, contractors who want to elegantly furnished abodes were a keep their workmen employed, and tempting field of operations, and in a others, follow the lead ihus given. few months the burglars reaped an Everybody feels obliged to go with the abundant harvest of plate, pictures, stream. The “boom” may terminate and works of art. Some of these in a crisis, but in the mean time houses gentry were caught in the act, but the are springing up that might be taken greater number escaped. The blow for palaces, and rich people in search was struck; everybody said that these of luxurious appartements have only too small places were unsafe, and that it wide a choice. was wiser to live in a big house, pro- The case is not the same as regards tected by a high personage who allowed the poor. In the centre of Paris small no one to come in or go out without dwellings are getting dearer every day, his knowledge. People argued that while people who go to live in the although it was, no doubt, unpleasant outskirts, beyond the walls, find that that this functionary should open the the cost of the daily journey to and letters, it was still more annoying to from town quite absorbs what is saved fiud, on returning from the country or in rent. This state of things is princithe seaside, that one's house had been pally felt by employés and the modest ransacked.
traders who have a small shop in the The builders of big houses, who had city. It will become more and more been discouraged by the new craze, difficult for these classes to battle with took heart again, and at the present the stern necessities of life, and we time new edifices, with five or six tiers shall have the singular spectacle of a of windows, are rising in all directions so-called democratic country dominated in the wealthy portions of Paris. The by one aristocratic caste
an aristocgreat life insurance companies provide racy of wealth. the money, and architects supply plans It was under the Second Empire that in profusion. These companies are bouse-architecture made its first great compelled by law to invest their re- stride in advance. The Third Naposerve funds either in government stock leon himself took the initiative by apor in real estate situated in France. pointing M. Haussmann to be prefect French rentes no longer produce three of the Department of the Seine, which per cent., and have ceased to be a re- he did on the 23rd of June, 1853. It is munerative investment. House prop- true that a few fine houses were erected erty in Paris gives a better return. during the reign of Louis Philippe, but Even making allowance for the unlet in those days the greater number were
built of rubble, which made Victor | where two would barely be sufficient. Hugo say that the last century had be- If to these difficulties, due to a confined queathed to Parisians a city of stone, style, one adds those caused by the whereas they would hand down to configuration of the ground, it is not their descendants a city of plaster. surprising that efforts should have Thanks to the Empire and M. Hauss- been made, not always with success, to mann, Victor Hugo's witty prediction provide enough light and air, especially will not be verified.
in the staircases, to introduce improveThe absorption of the suburbau dis- ments, and to discover a' means of actricts and the extension of the city to cess to all the principal rooms without the wall of circumvallation, which took being obliged to pass through one after place in 1860, gave a fresh impulse to another. Immense progress has been house-building. New streets were made in these directions. made, and wide boulevards and ave- It is proper to state that in Paris the nues, bordered by new houses, were ground-plots are usually large enough laid out, to make room for which an to contain a good-sized house, consistimmeuse number of old tumbledown ing of a main building fronting the edifices had to be cleared away. The street, a wing forming with the first eminent architects who were called building the shape of a set-square, and, upon to regenerate the city endeavored at the rear of a courtyard, a third buildto give their creations a monumental ing, having a separate staircase and appearance. At the corners of some containing Nats of a more modest charof the large thoroughfares there arose acter than the principal edifice. The round pavilions ornamented with im- ground-floor of the last-named block is bedded columus, and surmounted by generally taken up by the stables and cupola roofs. The plastered Corin. coach-houses. The plots are rarely thian style with pilasters, or profiled regular in shape, except in the very with colonnades, flourished again as in newest quarters. Some dovetail into the time of Adrian. It was a return to each other like pieces of carpentry, classic art, a springing forth of fes- others are long and narrow, while othtooned friezes and acanthus-leaves. ers again ruu so far back that the The traditions of the Italian Renais- builder, in order to utilize them, is sance were resumed : windows with compelled to erect three or even four small columns, the frontals baving al- houses, separated by courtyards, which ternating angles and curves ; balconies must be spacious, so as not to shut out with balusters resting on consoles the light. carved with lions' heads. French ar- The selection of the ground is the chitectural art, brought back to life, first step of the capitalist and his arand held momentarily in honor before chitect. Paris, like many other great 1848, again disappeared, to make room cities, tends to spread westwardly. It for a variety of pompous forms. is also extending along the valley of the
For a long time, and almost down to Seine. Sooner or later, the fortified the present day, architects clung tena- wall will open on this side and embrace ciously to the laws of proportion as the Bois de Boulogne. Speculators laught in the schools. Eveu the bold-profit by this fact. At Auteuil, Passy, est dared not desigu a window beyond in the Faubourg Saint-Honoré and in the regulation size, however great the the Plaine Monceau, pieces of ground need of more light. Hence that objec- which, forty years ago, were only tionable monotony, that formal sym-worth from ten to fifty francs per metry in the architecture of the newer square mètre, have been sold at two Paris streets ; hence also the difficulty hundred three hundred francs. in arranging the various rooms accord - Ground near the Parc de la Muette, ing to requirements, and the necessity belonging to the municipality, brings of placing two windows where one from four hundred to five hundred would be ample, and of putting but one francs. Its value will be still higher
when the wall is removed. These three weeks the builder can begin operplots have, furthermore, the advantage ations, provided he has not been forover those in the heart of Paris of bidden to do so. It rarely happens being larger and more regular in shape. that he is not kept waiting, as the plaus They are also much lower in price. must comply with the regulations as to On the Grands Boulevards the figure salubrity, fire, drainage, cesspools, the often reaches three thousand francs, in area of the courtyards, the height of the Faubourg Montmartre two thou- the walls, the nature of the building sand francs, while round the Halles it materials, and the size and position of is still higher. Street frontages are the fireplaces and chimneys. There especially valuable. In the Champs- are, in fact, a host of obscure and intriElysées ground has changed hands at cate regulations, with which the most the rate of two thousand francs in the experienced people are not fully confirst zone, facing the south, fifteen hun- versant. dred in the second zone, and one thou- Some of these regulations have the sand francs in the third, with frontage effect of considerably reducing the on parallel streets. In the Avenue du value of even the best-situated sites, Bois de Boulogne (formerly called the and all of them seem to have beeu Avenue de l’Impératrice) there is a framed with the object of stilling every corresponding increase in value. In attempt at art and originality. The the east of Paris, however, and even in height of the houses varies according some central streets, prices have a ten- to the width of the streets. A decree dency to drop, and they seldom exceed dated the 23rd of July, 1884, provides five hundred francs per square mètre. that, “ measured from the pavement in
These great differences in price are front of the building, at the highest partly due to the laws and regulations part if the street slopes, this height concerning public roads. In the inte- may not exceed, including entablature, rior of the city, if it is a case of pulling attics, and everything plumb with down an old house and building an- the front walls, the following limils, other in its place, the first obstacle met namely : twelve mètres in streets seven with is one which may cause much mètres eighty centimètres in width; delay. There are at least three adjoin. eighteen mètres in those from eighteen ing owners, besides the city authori- to twenty mètres in width, and twenty ties, to be reckoned with. Various mètres where the street is more than interests are aroused ; servitudes, hid- twenty mètres wide." We will not den and apparent, have to be taken touch upon some of the other preinto account in brief, there are the scriptions which refer to minor details. elements of four or five lawsuits. Per- The ridge of the roof must not exceed haps, also, there are no plans in exist- a radius of eight and one-half mètres. ence, or there may be uncertainty as to Thus, the largest houses cannot have the exact area, the rights to light, or a greater perpendicular height than the party-walls. We pass over the twenty mètres, or, to the top of the many points that crop up in verifying roof, twenty-eight mètres fifty centithe title, the endless conferences with mètres. We are, therefore, a long way the conveyancing lawyers, the prelim- from the American edifices of eighteen inary borings to make sure that there or twenty stories. It is impossible to are no old quarries, subterranean wa- find a house in Paris having more than tercourses, disused sewers, or shifting five square floors within the perpensand-beds, and so on. When all these «icular walls, a story in the roof, and details are in order, the next step is to some attics right under the ridge of the apply to the Municipal Council for per- roof, which latter are used as servants' mission to build, and for this purpose bedrooms. The height of the stories is it is necessary to submit a plan showing regulated as follows: The minimum sections and elevations, and full dimen- height of the attics is two mètres sixty sions of everything. In the course of centimètres, and that of the ground
floor two mètres eighty centimètres ; It is surprising that, in spite of so theu sixteen centimètres must be al- many difficulties, Parisian architecture lowed for the threshold, two mètres should still have plenty of vitality left. forty centimètres at least for the thick-Its red-tape fetters seem to have stimness of the floors, and one mètre fifty ulated invention instead of paralyzing centimètres for the loft under the roof. it. Having little liberty as regards the ridye. This absorbs nine mètres forty- exterior, architects have concentrated six centimètres, which, deducted from their ingenuity upon the inside. They twenty-eight mètres ifty centimètres, have devoted their efforts to the arleaves nineteen mètres four centimè- rangement of the rooms and their tres to be divided among the six other ornamentation. Yet, in the present stories – that is to say, an average of period, new houses do not differ vastly three mètres eighteen centimètres per in these respects from those built in story. But as the first three stories the preceding epoch. On each floor are made higher than the last three, the architect has provided either one the latter do not reach this average. or two complete sets of rooms, accord
The rules concerning projections are ing to the size of the ground, so that, not less rigid. They seem made to the house having five floors below the discourage boldness of conception, and roof, there are five or ten flats for tento deprive the finest houses of all ar-ancy. In the populous quarters the tistic character. Up to two mètres ground-floor is occupied by shops, sixty centimètres from the pavement while in fashionable streets and large projections must not exceed from four avenues it consists of bachelors' apartto ten centimètres. Pilasters above ments or sets of rooms called pied-àthis height cap extend outwards from terre. Apartments in houses which six to ten centimètres. The string- have no shops are those most sought course, cornice, entablement, attics, after, and are the dearest. Flats are consoles, crowns, capitals, etc., may also dearer and more in demand where project from twenty-five to fifty centi- the house possesses an entrance and
The large balconies are al- courtyard for carriages. lowed to extend outwards from fifty to The principal staircase is an imporeighty centimètres, according to the tant part of the edifice. According to width of the thoroughfare. Shop- the space at his disposal, the architect fronts must not project beyond six- makes it either circular, or straight, teen centimètres. Other projections with several flights. The latter are are regulated on the same scale. The liked best, because the equal steps give height and width of the various parts the staircase a more imposing appearof the edifice are subject to restric-ance. The circular staircases tions, of which a few are perfectly usually built of wood, and the straight reasonable, but the larger number ap- ones of hard limestone, or, better pear to bave been invented for the still, of white marble. If cost is not sole purpose of checking architectural an object, the baluster is made of progress, and finding posts for a crowd forged iron. Latterly, Flemish stairof useless people who live comfortably cases in oak have been much in favor ; at the taxpayers' expense. France has these allow of some very handsome several hundred thousand employés carpentry work; yet many persons will who are paid to place obstacles in the not live in a house the main staircase way of intelligence and talent. We of which is built of wood, as, in case have in this article referred to only of fire, escape is more likely to be cut a few of the vexatious regulations laid off. The staircase walls were formerly down, and have not touched upon those painted in oil to imitate marble, but applying to courtyards, internal ar- this style of decoration is now only rangement, chimneys, and so forth, an seen in old houses or those of the account of which would certainly weary fourth class. Its place has been taken
by polished stucco, inserted sometimes LIVING AGE. VOL. VI. 280