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Why Are the Streets So Wide in Paris?

Paris used to be known for its narrow, grimy streets. Cramped conditions and filthy water encouraged the spread of cholera and typhus. This was the Paris where Les Misérables of Victor Hugo’s imagination lived. Hugo set his story in 1832. By the time Hugo died in 1885, Paris was being called the most beautiful city in the world. What happened? How did Paris change so fast? And what was the point of all those new, wide streets?