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Seven famous Paris squares set for major makeovers
Place de l'Italie, with 'transformation areas' marked in colour. Photo: Twitter/Journal du Dimanche

Seven famous Paris squares set for major makeovers

Catherine Edwards · 7 Mar 2016, 11:24

Published: 07 Mar 2016 11:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Mar 2016 11:24 GMT+01:00

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is stepping up her campaign to hand Paris back to pedestrians and cyclists.

The aim of her new project , scheduled to be completed by 2020, is to give more space to pedestrians and cyclists on the seven famous squares or places which are currently monopolized by cars. The squares set to be remodelled are: Place de la Bastille, Place de la Nation, Place du Pantheon, Place d'Italie, Place de la Madeleine, Place Gambetta and la Place des Fetes.

Mayor Hidalgo first announced the project last year, and on Sunday she revealed the blueprints for how the squares will look post-makeover (see below).

"Pedestrians and cyclists will gain 50 percent more space on average," Christophe Najdovski, deputy head of highways, explained to theJournal du Dimanche newspaper. He added that the goal was to make the squares "places of life, agreeable and re-balanced", rather than simply "places of movement".

As much as €30 million has been set aside to be shared out among the seven squares - despite the fact that a similar project to transform the Place de la Republique alone cost €24 million.

In the pictures below, you can see exactly how each of the squares will change.

Yellow spaces mark extended pedestrian zones, red marks 'meeting points' where 20km/h speed limits will be in place, blue marks car-free zones for buses and taxis, green marks meeting points and pedestrian areas, and white stripes show where the pedestrian paths will be.

Areas marked in purple will be used for a variety of purposes including art exhibitions and play areas.

Here are the squares which will be undergoing a transformation:

Place de la Bastille (4th, 11th, 12th arrondissements)

Place de la Nation (11th, 12th arrondissements)

Place du Panthéon (5th arrondissement)

Place d'Italie (13th arrondissement)

Place de la Madeleine (8th arrondissement)

La Place Gambetta (20th arrondissement)

La Place des Fêtes (19th arrondissement)


The remodelling of the squares is just the latest step in mayor Anne Hidalgo's 'war on cars'. 

Hidalgo has long fought for stricter anti-pollution measures and earlier this year announced that the Champs-Élysées will be pedestrianized once a month, starting this spring?$

In May 2015 she unveiled plans to hand the right bank of the River Seine back to pedestrians. Last September, the city's first car-free day was hailed a success, and she said that the event this year will be "even bigger".

Catherine Edwards (catherine.edwards@thelocal.com)

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