Les Parcs et Jardins de Paris au 19e siècleTalk starts at 18.30 on Wednesday 22nd April 2020, French Institute, Edinburgh
What the talk is about
Bois de Vincennes
The talk will be delivered in French and illustrated with PowerPoint slides.
The Second Empire (1852-70), in France, was a period of rapid urban growth, immense political, economic and social changes, and also material changes in the structure of cities, especially the capital.
Leaving aside what was accomplished in Paris in the construction or reconstruction of buildings and avenues, or of sewerage and water supply systems, some recent studies have rather emphasized the multiplication of green spaces in the capital and the improvement of Parisian habitat by the development of large new parks, small squares and gardens and the way these public spaces were experienced and used.
Importantly, the general public were given free access to these green spaces.
Reception Lodge, Parc de Vincennes
The work entrusted by the Emperor Napoleon III to the engineer Jean-Charles Alphand and his Service des Promenades et Plantations transformed the pre-existing large parks (the posh Bois de Boulogne and the working people’s Bois de Vincennes).
The twenty-four new garden-squares built in Paris, including eleven in the new working class districts, provided a total of 150,000 square metres of green space, described by Alphand as "sitting rooms full of greenery and flowers".
Extracts (in French with an English translation available) from novels by Alphonse Daudet will show how Parisians saw their city's new green spaces and how different social groups experienced and used them.
About the speaker - Geoff Hare
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Dr Geoff Hare is a retired academic living in Edinburgh.
He worked in Aberdeen University and, mainly, Newcastle University French Departments.
After a thesis on French literature and society of the 19th century, his research and teaching eventually morphed into French media, sport and leisure studies.
He has published, with Hugh Dauncey, France and the 1998 World Cup: The National Impact of a World Sporting Event (Cass), The Tour de France, 1903-2003: A Century of Sporting Structures, Meanings and Values (Routledge) and, as sole author, Football in France: A Cultural History (Berg).
His approach is to use the study of sport through its historical development as a window on wider society and culture.
He now writes on the James Gordon Bennetts, father and son, who have ties to Scotland, New York, and France - the father emigrated from Banffshire and founded the New York Herald; the son spent forty years in Paris and on the Côte d’Azur, doing a lot, through his newspapers and the gift of trophies, for the promotion of various modern sports in France, especially football and motorsport. He founded in 1887, in Paris, the first international daily, remembered as the International Herald Tribune.