The city of love is set for a makeover. Plans to transform Paris’ Champs-Élysées into ‘an extraordinary garden’ with new attractions and a seasonal urban beach have just been given the green light.
The Champs-Élysées, which extends from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, is one of the most popular attractions in Paris.
Dubbed as ‘the most beautiful avenue in the world,’ the two-kilometre promenade attracts millions of visitors each year. Along the street is now a number of expensive cafes and chain stores.
However, for the locals, the Champs-Élysées is looking a little ‘worn out’.
In recent years, the avenue has become more like a highway with around with 64,000 cars each day. The streets are beginning to crack and the gardens are losing their radiance.
The noise level is also “one of the highest in Paris” and most Parisians avoid the area if they can. In fact, Paris residents now make up just 9 per cent of the 100,000 pedestrians who visit the avenue on a normal day.
These statistics were brought to light by the Champs-Élysées committee of local business leaders. The committee has been campaigning for a major redesign of the avenue and its surroundings since 2018.
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“Tourism is very positive for Paris and for the Champs-Élysées. But when the local inhabitants start feeling that the place they have known all their life is no longer a place for them, then you start having problems. And that’s why we believe it is time for a rebalance,” Jean-Noël Reinhardt, the committee president said.
Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has now given the plans to revitalise the Champs-Élysées the go-ahead. The initiative is estimated to cost €250 million (A$395 million).
What are the plans?
The plan, by architect firm PCA-Stream, will see the avenue become more pedestrian-friendly, with fewer car lanes and more greenery.
It will be ‘an extraordinary garden’ with expanded footpaths and thousands of new trees, according to Hidalgo.
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The Champs-Élysées Gardens will be revamped and the number of car lanes around the Arc de Triomphe reduced from 11 to seven. This will make way cycle paths, a tram, and electric buses.
At Place de l’Étoile there are plans for a new cultural centre and surrounding the Arc de Triomphe, an urban beach. In winter, the beach will become an ice-rink.
While these grand plans are exciting, they may not happen until after the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in Paris. At this stage, the plan is to start on the Place de la Concorde and continue the rest of the project after the Games.
Feature image: © PCA-Stream