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CRIME

Paris tourist taken for a €400 ride by fake cabbie

Let this be a lesson for all tourists arriving at airports in Paris. A visitor, who was picked up at Charles de Gaulle airport by a fake cabbie had to endure a 200km/h high-speed chase with police, before being stung for a €400 fare.

Paris tourist taken for a €400 ride by fake cabbie
The cab driver forced the hapless passenger to pay him €400 for the journey. File photo: Jean Pierre Gallot

This story will do no good for the already poor reputation of taxi drivers in Paris.

Tourists visiting France’s capital are often wary of being ripped off by cab drivers. What they are perhaps less prepared for are unlicensed cabs charging them hundreds of euros as they attempt to evade police.

This was what happened to an unfortunate Indian tourist last week who picked up a taxi shortly after landing at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris in the evening.

Anyone arriving in Paris will have seen taxi drivers touting for business by the arrival gates.

In this case the 29-year-old female tourist accepted a ride from one of them, not knowing he had no driving license let alone permit to drive a cab.

Soon after the woman got into the taxi the vehicle was approached by police, French daily Direct Matin reported on Monday. In an attempt to evade police the driver then sped off towards the A1 motorway at around 200 km/h, prompting a high-speed car chase.

At one point during the chase the driver attempted to drop the passenger off on the hard shoulder but was unable to do so as the police were catching up with him, according to the paper.

The driver, 46, eventually managed to drop the passenger off at Survillier (Val d’Oise), around ten kilometres into the journey.

But before he let his victim go he reportedly forced her to pay him €400 – the entire contents of her wallet.

The horrified tourist then reported the incident at a nearby police station.

The suspect has since been identified thanks to CCTV footage at the airport. He was then charged with illegally working as a taxi driver, driving without a licence, abducting a passenger and refusing to comply with police.

He is due to appear in court in Pontoise.  

Last week The Local reported how a driver for the car service Uber was fired for refusing to give a lift to two gay men after telling them homosexuals weren't allowed in his vehicle.

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TOURISM

Trees, parks, and a stream: How Paris City Hall plans to redevelop Notre-Dame area

As work continues to restore Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral after the devastating fire of 2019, City Hall has released plans to redesign the area around the cathedral adding trees, a stream and an underground visitor centre.

Trees, parks, and a stream: How Paris City Hall plans to redevelop Notre-Dame area

Three years after the fire that nearly destroyed France’s 850-year old landmark – while the cathedral itself is still closed for repairs – the Mayor of Paris has unveiled plans to redesign the surrounding landscape.

The plans show trees and vegetation surrounding the square in front of the cathedral, where, in hot weather, a small stream will flow through to cool the square.

The group envisages a large 400-metre park along the banks of the Seine, while the space behind the cathedral will also be transformed with extra vegetation.

An artist’s rendering of the area behind the Cathedral (Photo Credit: Studio Alma pour le Groupement BBS)

The reception area will also be redesigned. In the future, groups, individual visitors and tourists wishing to access the towers will queue at different locations.

Under the monument, the underground parking lot will transform into a visitor centre, offering an interior walkway that will give access to the archaeological crypt and will open up onto the Seine.

The image can be seen below:

(Photo Credit: Studio Alma pour le Groupement BBS)

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the goal was to “magnify” the building, and that there was a “pressing need” to do so after the fire. For the mayor who is known for her efforts to increase green space in Paris, increasing the vegetation around the monument was also a top priority.

“Urban planning and development must now respond to the climate crisis,” said Hidalgo. In total, 131 new trees will be planted.

At a cost of €50 million, the project will be entirely financed by the City of Paris, and it will be headed by the landscape design firm Bas Mets. The group came in first place out of a group of four finalists in a competition that began in the spring of 2021 to determine the best landscape architect for the job.

Work is already ongoing to restore the cathedral itself after the fire, and that is due to be finished in 2024, in time for the Olympics. Once the Olympics and Paralympics are over, work will start on the area around the Cathedral, which is set to be finished by 2027.

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