Today, Paris is marked by affluent avenues lined with luxurious department stores and expensive apartments. However, 160 years ago, this city was a mixture of crumbling medieval slums and dangerous winding alleys. This all changed over a twenty-year period Second French Empire. Paris was transformed from a decaying mess into the center of modernity and style; a veritable capital of Europe in almost every regard. This herculean feat was accomplished by Emperor Napoleon III and his dynamic Prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann between 1853 and 1870. Their renovation of Paris overturned the city, displaced hundreds of thousands, reduced mountains to quarries, and cost billions to accomplish. In the process, the yoke of the nobility in France was broken and Paris was reborn as a bourgeois capital ready for the modern age. Due to Napoleon III and Haussmann’s work, Paris became a city to see and be seen in; the formerly muddy, putrid streets became a large stage for the people to promenade down. Understanding this momentous event in urban history is the only way to truly understand the Paris of today and the art of urban planning.