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10 Characteristics of Haussmann Apartments in Paris: Recreating Classic Elegance

CEO Khai Intela
Have you ever been captivated by the grandeur of Haussmann-style apartment buildings in Paris? These magnificent French dwellings, named after Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who revolutionized their construction in the mid-19th century, boast a unique set of...

Have you ever been captivated by the grandeur of Haussmann-style apartment buildings in Paris? These magnificent French dwellings, named after Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who revolutionized their construction in the mid-19th century, boast a unique set of features. Today, lucky Parisians reside in these remarkable spaces, while the Haussmannian aesthetic has spread its influence to other European cities such as Vienna, Moscow, and Berlin.

The design of Haussmann apartments was guided by three main principles: light, space, and movement. These characteristics shaped the breathtaking buildings created by Georges-Eugène Haussmann during the Second Empire of Napoleon III. Let's explore the distinctive elements of these iconic structures.

Haussmann Buildings: A Reflection of Majesty

Buildings conceived by Georges-Eugène Haussmann embody the essence of sophistication. They exhibit the following attributes:

1. Imposing Molded Double Doors

At the main entrance of a Haussmann building, you'll often encounter striking molded double doors, exuding an air of grandeur.

2. Absence of Elevators

Interestingly, elevators did not become a commonplace feature in France until 1870. Consequently, Haussmann buildings lacked this convenience.

3. Ornate Façade

The exteriors of Haussmann buildings are characterized by intricate cornices, moldings, and sculptures that adorn their facades.

4. Luxurious Lower Floors and Modest Upper Floors

Haussmannien apartments typically feature lavish lower floors, while the upper floors are relatively modest in comparison.

5. Ground Floor with High Ceilings and a Mezzanine

The ground floor of a Haussmann building boasts soaring ceilings and may even include a mezzanine, adding an extra touch of elegance.

6. The Prestigious Nobless Floor

Occupying the third level, the Nobless floor is reserved for affluent families. It offers a balcony for stepping out, symbolizing prestige as it requires only a minimal number of steps to reach it. This floor also boasts the highest ceiling, serving as a reflection of the French social hierarchy.

7. Gradually Decreasing Ceiling Height

As you ascend the floors of a Haussmann building, you will notice a gradual decrease in ceiling height, mirroring the social hierarchy.

8. Standard Fourth and Fifth Floors

The fourth and fifth floors are considered standard. Though they may have small balconies outside the windows, they lack the prominence of the lower floors.

9. Continuous Balcony on the Sixth Floor

The sixth floor stands out with its continuous balcony, similar to the third floor. Its purpose is to create visual harmony on the front façade of the building.

10. The Attic: Home to Servants

Located on the seventh and top floor, the attic of a Haussmann building is famous for its Parisian gray zinc roofs. Historically, this floor was designated for servants' quarters or "chambres de bonne." Interestingly, the toilets were shared and positioned in the hallway, rather than within each apartment. Today, these attic apartments are commonly occupied by students.

Haussmann-Style Apartments in Paris: Transforming Your Home

If you wish to infuse your home with the timeless charm of a Haussmann apartment, pay attention to these classic Parisian home decor characteristics:

1. Black Iron Balconies

Black iron balconies are a quintessential feature of Haussmann buildings in Paris, often found on the second and sixth floors.

Parisian Haussmann Style Apartment decor black iron balcony @fadela

2. Marble Fireplaces

Marble fireplaces epitomize the essence of a Haussmann apartment. They can be seen in Parisian living rooms, dining rooms, and even bedrooms. Although there was a time when they couldn't be used to light a fire in Paris, this restriction has since been lifted.

Parisian Haussmann Style Apartment living room marble fireplace @verocotrel

3. Gold Mirrors

Most marble fireplaces are adorned with rectangular gold mirrors. Parisian interior designers often acquire gilded mirrors from flea markets in France to preserve the authenticity of these essential pieces.

4. French Doors

Haussmannien apartments boast French doors, high ceilings, and elaborate wall moldings, creating an atmosphere of charm and sophistication.

5. Stained Glass Doors

Stained glass interior doors are a common sight in classic Parisian apartments, enhancing their timeless elegance.

6. Herringbone Parquet Wood Floors

To recreate the allure of a Haussmannien apartment in your own home, start by painting the walls a light color and opt for herringbone-patterned wood parquet floors.

Parisian Haussmann Style Apartment Living Room parquet wood floors @theworkinggirl

7. Wall and Crown Moldings

Parisian Haussmann apartments boast exquisitely crafted moldings on their walls and ceilings. To maintain a sense of balance, furnish the space with classic pieces that feature simple lines and serve practical purposes.

Parisian apartment characteristics Wall and Crown Moldings @talkadecor

8. Tall Glass Windows

Choose elongated, slender glass windows that open up like French doors to infuse your space with a touch of Parisian elegance.

9. White Walls

The walls in Haussmannien apartments are usually painted in a simple yet tasteful shade of white, creating a bright and airy atmosphere by reflecting ample natural light.

10. Understated Luxury

Ultimately, Haussmann apartments exude an atmosphere of understated luxury and refinement. Each element contributes to the overall harmony and elegance of the space.

By incorporating these ten characteristics into your home decor, you can recreate the allure of a classic Parisian apartment, regardless of your location. Indulge in the elegance and sophistication reminiscent of a Parisian Haussmannien apartment, and savor the timeless beauty it offers.