Claire Hancock
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Capitale du plaisir
The remaking of imperial Paris
in Imperial cities
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The world was invited to witness the spectacle of the grandeur of Paris, making the city itself an object of consumption for wealthy visitors. 'Imperial Paris' became a highly contested notion as those with conflicting political ideals fought for symbolic ownership of urban space and representation. The material transformation of Paris was indeed massive. However, this is one of the few instances in which Paris was compared directly with ancient Rome; Paris was much more commonly compared with Athens in contemporary discourse. From the late eighteenth century onwards British guides had observed that the Parisians were an out-of-door people, spending much of their time in public places rather than cultivating the virtues of the home. The extrovert life of the Parisians and the little dramas being played out in every cafe or street became part of the promotional policy of the French capital.

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Imperial cities

Landscape, display and identity


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