Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to shift the boundaries of Paris's arrondissements or group them together. Photo: AFP/Brad Cerenzia/Flickr
Paris Mayor Anne Hidaldo said on Friday that she plans to reduce the number of arrondissements in the French capital from 20 to 17 in a bid to simplify life for Parisians.
The mayor said that the plan, which she wants to come to fruition by 2020, would see the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th arrondissements become one.
The move is intended to allow a "better democratic representation" for Parisians, the mayor's team wrote in a document seen by Le Monde newspaper
The move would allow "the unification of political representation and the administrative organization of the least populated arrondissements", the Town Hall wrote, adding that just one mayor would be responsible for the merged areas.
Hidalgo stressed that the change wouldn't affect the postcodes of the first four arrondissements, or indeed the other 16 in Paris.
In other words, you could still say you lived in the 2nd, even though it wouldn't exist as an administrative entity anymore.
Paris is divided up in to 20 districts in the form of a clockwise spiral, which is often likened to a snail’s shell.
The 1st arrondissement is in the middle of the city on the right bank of the Seine, and includes the famous Louvre art gallery and Place Vendôme. The arrondissements curl round until the 20th on the eastern edge of the city.
Each arrondissement is like a town in itself with its own Town Hall and police headquarters.
The administrative divisions have laid untouched since 1954.
Hidalgo's move would - which was first brought up in September last year- would reduce the discrepancies between the services available to the public in each arrondissement.
For example the chances of parents finding a place in nursery for their child can vary significantly depending on which arrondissement they live in.
According to one guide, there are just four municipal nurseries in the 3rd arrondissement but there are 40 in the 13th, although it should be said demand for a place in the 3rd is far lower because its smaller population means fewer families live there.
A look at the map reveals the size of the arrondissements varies widely with the smallest one, the 2nd, being just 1 square kilometre compared to the largest, the 16th, which is nearly 8 square kilometres in size.
While the 1st arrondissement is home to just 17,000 residents, the 15th can count 240,000.
Whether the plan will become a reality or not will be decided in mid-February.
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