Victor Baltard (1805-1874). Iron and Paintbrush
The market and abattoirs at La VilletteLike the covered markets, the question of the abattoirs was an essential problem in Paris town planning. At the end of the 1850s, both for reasons of hygiene and functionality, Haussmann adopted the principle of combining all of the Paris abattoirs at the periphery of the capital, near a new cattle market.
Based on his experience with the central covered markets, Baltard was made responsible for designing this vast complex. However, he left the actual construction of the edifice to the architect Louis Adolphe Janvier.
This immense city of blood was the occasion to apply a varied architectural repertoire according to the use of the buildings: classicism for the administrative buildings, industrial modernity for the market halls, picturesque and multicoloured for the sheep and cattle areas.
A few years later, on the site of the old abattoirs at Villette-Popincourt which were freed these new constructions, Baltard designed the municipal undertakers' buildings.
Organising the Paris festivals In 1853, Baltard was appointed architect for the festivals of the City of Paris. A tradition inherited from the Ancien Régime, the organisation of public festivals was still an important activity for architects, as shown by the example of Viollet-le-Duc, who decorated Notre-Dame for the marriage of Napoleon III.
Baltard not only organised the ordinary receptions of the municipality, but also prestigious ceremonies conveying important political messages, such as those organised for the visit by Queen Victoria (August 1855) and the baptism of the prince imperial (June 1856).
He was also called upon to celebrate the new Paris on the occasion of the inauguration of new thoroughfares, particularly those of the boulevard de Sébastopol (1858), the boulevard Malesherbes (1861) and the boulevard du Prince Eugène (1862).
For these grandiose festivities, the architect designed ephemeral constructions made enchanting with luxurious vegetation and the play of water and light. Very often, these provided the opportunity to try out architectural solutions that would become lasting.