Ten ideas that could improve life in Paris

Paris Town Hall has unveiled a raft of projects put forward by members of the public aimed at improving life in the capital city. Which ones would you like to see given the green light?

Ten ideas that could improve life in Paris
Cars and pedestrians take over the Champs-Elysée? If only. Photo: AFP

In all the Mairie in Paris has unveiled 77 proposals submitted by Parisians to make the city a better place to live.

The scheme is part of the Paris Town Hall's “participatory budget” and is a chance for residents to have their say in what they want the city do for them – with the help of a €75 million budget.

With the Mairie having narrowed down the suggestions from more than 5,000 to 77 by virtue of feasibility, the next cut is up to the people of Paris, who will vote for their favourite one in September.

While proposals including making Montmartre more accessible for those with reduced mobility, restructuring the Champs Élysées to give cyclists and pedestrians more space, and beautifying the Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne will no doubt be universally popular, we've picked out ten of the more innovative ideas.

Which one would you go for?

A new lease of life for the much-derided love locks. Cost: €500,000

Most Parisians would be more than happy to see the love locks that still adorn some of the city's bridges melted down into oblivion, and they may well get their wish – but it might be a little callous to dash the romantic dreams of well-meaning tourists so wantonly. One suggestion is that the locks are reincarnated as a work of art that pays tribute to their former lives as symbols of love and arbiters of fidelity.

Parking availability alerts. Cost: €500,000

Parisian drivers would no doubt welcome the introduction of a service alerting them to available parking spaces across the city. The service will use sensors to detect available on-street parking, and will connect with car parks and garages to keep drivers informed in real-time.

Make the Marais feet-friendly. Cost: €5.6 million

This project proposes banning cars from a big chunk of the Marais by extending the work already done at the Rue Rambuteau and pedestrianising the area between it, the Rue du Temple, Rue des Archives and Rue de la Verrerie. Pavements and streets would be recalibrated and resurfaced to make life easier for those on foot and on bikes.

Quieter street cleaning machines. Cost: €1 million

One to bookmark for those who like to sleep in – among the proposals is the supply of quieter equipment to the city's street-cleaning teams. New electric blowers and pavement washers would not only keep the noise down, they'd reduce greenhouse gas emissions too.

Art for all. Cost: €4.2 million

This suggestion would allow Parisians to bring art into their own homes, by lending them a contemporary artwork. The idea is to make art accessible to all, regardless of their budget, thus fostering relationships between ordinary people and the art world, and supporting local artists by buying their work for the purpose.

Borrow a book from a box. Cost: €1.3 million

In an initiative labelled “libraries without walls”, the city would install boxes on the street which Parisians can use to swap books with one another – drop off a book you've read, and pick up one you haven't.

The Paris pass. Cost: €9 million

With the aim of simplifying access to the city's services, such as libraries and sports facilities, the Paris pass allows residents to create a personal digital profile from which they can book into cultural and sports activities and buy tickets for events for the week ahead, all in one place using one universal account, accessible by smartphone – the idea being to replace passes given out by individual city services.

Lend a hand to the homeless. Cost: €4.4 million

In a bid to make life easier for Paris' homeless population, this entry proposes renovating the city's public bath houses and offering new services to those of no fixed abode, including a network of secure storage units and a digital registration service that would make administration easier for those without an address.

Parks for pups. Cost: €1 million

Parisians love their dogs, but what those pampered pooches leave behind isn't quite so popular. This project would create 20 new parks in which dogs would be free to roam off the leash, keeping the canines happy and other areas clean.

Gardening therapy. Cost: €1 million

While Paris boasts many parks, to pitch up to the Tuileries and start digging it up might be frowned upon somewhat. The aim of this project is to allow those without their own outdoor space to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of gardening in 20 new parks across the city.

To view a full list of all 77 ideas, you can CLICK HERE.

by Lindsey Johnstone

Which is your favourite and what would you add?

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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro