The stone paved streets had more or less disappeared in Paris, but now they are again in fashion. Basically new paving is made in combination with transforming certain streets to become purely pedestrian – and that’s another nice fashion (I recently gave up my car).
In history, quite a few stones have been used for other more or less revolutionary purposes, lately e.g. during the “May ‘68” manifestations.
The paving of the Paris streets started around the 12th century, in the beginning often with drains, sewers, in the middle of the street to evacuate water – and ”whatever”.
The first pedestrian pavements appeared around 1780. As from 1830, evacuation on the sides of the streets was imposed.
Most of the streets were later – starting during the 19th century - covered first by macadam, later by bitumen, asphalt, although you can still find quite a few of the older stone paved streets and places, including Les Champs Elysées, La Place de L’Etoîle, La Place de la Concorde… It’s sometimes a bit slippery and noisy, but it’s also part of the charm.
You can see a sample from Les Champs Elysées here. I wonder how long these stones have been there and how many cars, motor bikes, scooters… have been rolling on them? Originally the avenue was paved in the middle of the 19th century.
Pavers are still needed. No evacuation in the middle of the streets anymore!