Claude-Philibert Barthelot, Comte de Rambuteau (1781 - 1869), was a senior official of the first half of the 19th century. He was Préfet of the former Départment of the Seine, which included Paris, from 1833 to 1848. He established the groundwork for the fundamental transformation of Paris that Haussmann carried out under the Second Empire.
His administration was marked by the implementation of the theories of the hygienists. One year before his nomination, an epidemic of cholera devastated Paris. Rambuteau thought that the narrow, tortuous streets and small disease-prone districts in the centre of Paris encouraged the development of the disease. He commenced the cutting of 13 metre-wide roads through Paris with the widening of the Rue Rambuteau in 1839, which was later named after him. This was the first time wide roads had been built in central Paris.
The motto of Rambuteau was: "water, air, shade". He thus modernised the sewers of Paris and ordered the construction of many fountains. Some of his fountains in Paris parks still function. He developed gas lighting and the planting of trees along the avenues. At the beginning of his administration the city had 69 gas jets; at his departure it had 8,600 gas jets. He also commenced the construction of the famous public urinals along the roads of Paris.
In spite of the enactment of the law of expropriation in the public interest in 1841, Rambuteau did not have the means or the ambition to implement the work that Haussmann later carried out, but he showed the way forward.