Mayor wants to redraw historic map of Paris

Ben McPartland
Ben McPartland - [email protected]
Mayor wants to redraw historic map of Paris
Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to shift the boundaries of Paris's arrondissements or group them together. Photo: AFP/Brad Cerenzia/Flickr

The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo wants to rip up the current map of Paris and its 20 arrondissements and start all over again, in a bid to make the divisions a little more equal.


Anne Hidalgo has got plans for Paris.

The city’s Socialist Party mayor has written to the country’s president and prime minister to ask for a little shake up in the way the French capital is run, newspaper Le Monde has revealed.

She wants parliament to agree to certain powers being ceded from the police to authorities at Town Hall, specifically around parking and the fight against pollution.

She also wants the status of the capital to change from being both “commune” and département to avoid the red tape that comes with having two separate budgets.

But perhaps the most interesting change she is demanding, is a redraw of the administrative map of Paris to iron out inequalities between the different arrondissements, or city districts.

It is thought she would like to see the city's 20 arrondissements grouped together into sectors like in the southern city of Marseille.

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 is keen not be seen to be gerrymandering – or changing the borders for electoral reasons – but her aim is to 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 there are fewer families 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.

It remains to be seen how Hidalgo would redraw the map and whether or not she would be able to persuade the public and the politicians to give her the green light.


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