The Église Saint-Augustin is a Catholic church. It was designed to provide a prominent vista at the end of the boulevard both of which were built during Haussmann's renovation of Paris under the Second French Empire. During the reign of Napoleon III in the 1850s and 60s Paris experienced a dramatic transformation under the direction of Georges-Eugène Haussmann. Haussmann cut many boulevards through the crowded, medieval city placing prominent public buildings at the boulevard ends to provide impressive vistas. The boulevard Malesherbes was laid out cutting northwest from La Madeleine.