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Boulevard (French, from Dutch: Bolwerk – bolwark, meaning bastion) has several generally accepted meanings. It was first introduced in the French language in 1435 as boloard and has since been altered into boulevard.

In this case, as a type of road, a boulevard (often abbreviated Blvd) is usually a wide, multi-lane arterial thoroughfare, divided with a median down the center, and roadways along each side designed as slow travel and parking lanes and for bicycle and pedestrian usage, often with an above-average quality of landscaping and scenery. The division into peripheral roads for local use and a central main thoroughfare for regional traffic is a principal feature of the boulevard. Larger and busier boulevards usually feature a median.


International usage



Baron Haussmann made such roads well-known in his re-shaping of Second Empire Paris between 1853 and 1870. The French word boulevard originally referred to the flat summit of a rampart (the etymology of the word distantly parallels that of bulwark which is a Dutch loanword (bolwerk)). Several Parisian boulevards replaced old city walls; more generally, boulevards encircle a city center, in contrast to avenues that radiate from the center. Boulevard is sometimes used to describe an elegantly wide road, such as those in Paris, approaching the Champs-Élysées. Famous French boulevards: Avenue Montaigne, Montmartre, Invalides, Boulevard Haussmann. Frequenters of boulevards were sometimes called boulevardiers


The Königsallee in Düsseldorf is internationally known for its many famous fashion stores located on the one side such as Gucci, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Lacoste and 5 star hotels and banks on the other. The land price of one square meter is about 13500€. A notable boulevard in Berlin, the capital of Germany, is Karl-Marx-Allee, which was built primarily in the 1950s in Stalinist Classicism architecture with decorative buildings. One section of the boulevard is more decorative while the other is more modern. In the center of the boulevard is the Strausberger Platz, which has buildings in wedding-cake style. The boulevard is divided into various blocks. Between 1949 and 1989, it was the main center of East Berlin. The historically most important boulevard in Berlin is Unter den Linden.

United States and Canada

In many places in the United States and Canada, municipalities and developers have adapted the term to refer to arterial roads, not necessarily boulevards in the traditional sense. In California, many so-called “boulevards” extend into the mountains as narrow, winding road segments only two lanes in width. However, boulevards can be any divided highway with at-grade intersections to local streets. They are commonly abbreviated Blvd. Some celebrated examples in California include:

In Chicago, the boulevard system is a network of wide, planted-median boulevards that winds through the south, west, and north sides of the city and includes a ring of parks. Most of the boulevards and parks are 3–6 miles from The Loop. Queens Boulevard, Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard, all in the borough of Queens, in New York City, and Roosevelt Boulevard in the Northeast section of Philadelphia are typically referred to as “The Boulevard.” In Pittsburgh, "The Boulevard of the Allies" runs through and connects major areas of the city. The section of Côte Saint-Luc Road that is located in Westmount, a suburb of Montréal, Québec, is also referred to as “The Boulevard,” as was the majority of Broadway (New York City) in the 19th century. Kansas City, Missouri, is famous for having more boulevards and avenues in the world than any city (if the term is used lightly) except Paris, France. is Moscow’s centremost ring road.]]

Nineteenth century parkways, such as Brooklyn’s Ocean Parkway, were often built in the form of boulevards and are informally referred to as such. In some cities, however, the term “boulevard” does not specify a larger, wider, or more important road. “Boulevard” may simply be used as one of many words describing roads in communities containing multiple iterations of the same street name (such as in the Ranchlands district of Calgary, where Ranchlands Boulevard exists side-by-side with Ranchlands Road, Ranchlands Court, Ranchlands Mews, etc.) Nowaday boulevard can be fund most anywhere and their original structured meaning has lost all meaning.

Lake Shore Boulevard, a six-lane thoroughfare runs along the lakefront in Toronto from Woodbine Avenue in the east to the city limits in the west. The section between Jameson Avenue and the Humber River (the original section), as an example of urban planning, was laid out to provide a pleasant drive with a view of Humber Bay on Lake Ontario and easy access to the park lands by automobile. It was later expanded for commuting.


Melbourne has at least four roads named “the Boulevard.” These are, generally, long roads with many curves which wind alongside the Yarra River. In addition, the spelling of boulevard with an extra ‘e’ is common, for example the Southlands Boulevarde shopping centre in southern Perth.

Several Melbourne thoroughfares not named as a boulevard do in fact follow the boulevard configuration of multiple lanes and landscaping. These include St Kilda Road, Royal Parade, Victoria Parade, Flemington Road, and the outer section of Mount Alexander Road. Sydneys boulevards are Norwest Boulevard in Bella Vista and Baulkham Hills, The Boulevard in Kirrawee, Brighton-le-Sands, Cammeray, Canley Vale, Caringbah, Cheltenham, Dulwich Hill, Epping, Fairfield, Fairfield Heights, Fairfield West, Gymea, Lakemba, Lewisham, Lidcombe, Lilyfield, Malabar, Miranda, Newport, Petersham, Punchbowl, Sans Souci, Smithfield, Strathfield, Sutherland, Wiley Park and Yagoona.


Tel Aviv, established in 1909, was originally designed along the guidelines set out by architect Sir Patrick Geddes. Geddes designed a green or garden ring of boulevards surrounding the central city, which still exists today and continues to characterize Tel Aviv. One of the most famous and busy streets in the city is Rothschild Boulevard.

United Kingdom

Due to city planning and physical geography, the U.K. has a lack of boulevards. Glasgow's Great Western Road is a good example, a mostly dual carriageway road running to the outer suburbs passing through the fashionable West End district, with many shops and bars dotted along the route. After the Great Fire of London, London was supposed to be formed of straight boulevards, squares and plazas which are seen in mainland Europe, but due to land ownership issues these plans never came to light. Boulevards in London are rare but examples, such as Blackfriars Road, do exist. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, is one of only a handful of examples where boulevards are a key feature. This is due to Milton Keynes being built as a modern new town in the 1960s. Nottingham also has an extensive network of Boulevards.


Paseo de la Reforma (English: "Reform Promenade") is a 12 kilometer long boulevard in Mexico City, Mexico, built during the Second Mexican Empire by the Austrian military officer and engineer Ferdinand von Rosenzweig. The name commemorates the liberal reforms of 19th century president Benito Juárez.


In Montevideo, Artigas Boulevard is an important avenue (40 m wide) that encloses the central area.


Alternative meanings

Central reservation: Some people also use the term boulevard to refer to the division or central reservation in such a road, whether specifically in a “boulevard” in the above sense or not. It can consist of anything from a simple thick curb of concrete, to a wide strip of grass, to a thoroughly landscaped space of trees, shrubs, and other foliage; in urban areas, boulevards can also contain public art or memorials. Wide boulevards also sometimes serve as rights-of-way for trams or light rail systems. Kansas City, Missouri, has more “boulevard” miles than the city of ParisTemplate:Fact (if the term is used lightly). One such famous boulevard is Ward Parkway, which features fountains, statues, and vast quantities of grass and trees in the center.

Tree lawn or parkway: Another use for the term boulevard is for a strip of grass between a sidewalk and a road, and located above a curb. Though in Europe the two are often adjacent, many residential neighbourhoods in the United States and Canada feature strips of grass or other greenery between the sidewalk and the road, placed in order to both beautify the street and to provide a buffer between vehicles and pedestrians.


  • Jacobs, Allan B.; Elizabeth Macdonald, Yodan Rofé (2003). The Boulevard Book. The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-60023-4. 



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also Boulevard




From French boulevard from Middle French boulevard from Old French bollevart "promenade, avenue, rampart", of Germanic origin, from Middle Dutch bolwerk, bol(l)ewerc (bulwark, bastion) from Middle Dutch bole, bolle "bole, plank" + werk "work, construction". More at bole, work


  • (RP) IPA: /ˈbuː.ləˌvɑː(ɹ)d/, SAMPA: /"bu:.l@.vA:(r)d/
  • (US) IPA: /ˈbʊlɨvɑɹd/




boulevard (plural boulevards)

  1. A broad, well-paved and landscaped thoroughfare.




From Middle Dutch bolwerk (bulwark, bastion)



boulevard m. (plural boulevards)

  1. A causeway, boulevard.


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