So afterwards much of medieval Paris was famously demolished in the mid-19th Century by Louis Napoleon III and his urban planner (1853-69) Georges-Eugene Haussmann in the creation of the modern city of grand boulevards and 20 arrondissements – but many streets in the older districts such as the Marais did survive.
The current street name plaques are made of metal – presumably aluminum – although a few older enamelled plaques do remain – these logically lack information regarding the arrondissement. Other changes are also noticeable – the type has shifted from a blocky serif to a sans, the articles and prepositions have been subordinated in size, explanatory text of the street’s name has been added.
And yet the design has been remarkably consistent for nearly 200 years. They remain an integral yet almost subconscious part of the city’s visual wayfinding system – kept vital as a popular target for street art and graffiti, and reproduced as a popular and slightly less tacky than average tourist souvenir.
Stéphane, Bernard. Dictionnaire des noms de rues. Mengès, 2005.