Around 1853, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann got to work on what is arguably the most successful — and most admired — renovation project of all time: a comprehensive overhaul of the streets, parks and buildings of Paris. After all, he is the man who untangled the city’s original medieval footprint, called for a vast annexation of surrounding suburbs and unfurled wide boulevards in tidy lines across the city. Haussmann also played an integral role in shaping the architectural profile of Paris. The city’s glorious, distinctive residential buildings were built to Haussmannian specifications: large (often whole-block), stone-faced, five-floor structures marked by the perfect alignment and symmetry of their balconies, windows and mansard roofs. Inside, the spacious apartments featured equally elegant architectural flourishes: high ceilings, parquet flooring, floor-length windows and intricate wood and plasterwork.
In addition to being incredibly sought-after by homeowners, these details form the archetypal image of a Parisian apartment. At a time of year when French festivities of all types — Bastille Day! The Tour de France! Haute Couture Fashion Week! — converge, we’ve assembled a gallery of 16 images that highlight the versatility and timeless chic of the classic Paris apartment. Below, see some of the crème-de-la-crème of Parisian interior design.