The Champs Elysees, a famous Paris boulevard, wide both in the street and on the sidewalks, with ritzy stores and very high price real estate moving up from the Tuilieries to the Arc. Paris is known for its wide boulevards which date back to the reign of Napoleon III (nephew -- supposedly -- of Napoleon I, though Josephine's fidelity to the first Napoleon has been questioned). Napoleon I was defeated in 1815 and until 1848 France was back under a monarch. The return to monarchy was not universally accepted, and in 1830 the monarchy itself had to be reformed and a new King come to power. Napoleon III, exiled because of his relationship to the deposed Emperor, grew up in Germany and actually always spoke French with a German accent. He once tried to come back to France to re-establish the Napoleonic empire, but was captured and imprisoned. When the events of 1848 led to the birth of the 2nd French Republic Napoleon won the Presidency in the first election. It's not clear that the French people really knew who they were voting for, but they knew the name Napoleon. He governed until 1870 in an era of French prosperity and relative calm. Despite his womanizing and other minor scandals, as well as his adventures in some ill advised wars (Crimea, the wars of Italian unification), his reign was not that of a dictator wanting to assert power. In fact, towards the end of his rule he was moving power back to the National Assembly, many think he was setting up the possibility of a French royal family similar to the British royal family. Some traditionalists balked at his willingness to give up power and authority, but from 1860-1870, driven perhaps by his desire to be liked by the people and to please expectations, he was moving France towards a stable transition to a more democratic system. Bismarck and Prussia stopped all that in 1870 by defeating Napoleon III's army at Sedan and ending the "2nd Empire." Napoleon III died in exile in Great Britain as France moved on to its Third Republic.
And the boulevards? Well, from the time of the French revolution on citizens would barracade streets to defend against government armies and police. You can't baracade wide boulevards. Napoleon III's archetect Haussmann developed the plan that both beautified Paris and made it less susceptible to a revolt from within. Napoleon I is more remembered for his battles, but Louis Napoleon (Nap III) deserves a lot of credit for helping shape the character of Paris and France in the middle of the 19th century.
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