After cancelling Christmas market now Paris wants to pull down its big wheel

After cancelling the annual Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysees the mayor of Paris now wants to tear down the big wheel that has stood on Place de la Concorde each Christmas for the past 16 years.

After cancelling Christmas market now Paris wants to pull down its big wheel
Photos: AFP
Some might accuse mayor Anne Hidalgo of being a bit of a Parisian version of scrooge. Others, many others in fact, will agree with her stance.
After City Hall scrapped the annual Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysées this year, the mayor has now made it clear she wants the big wheel on Place de la Concorde taken down too.
The wheel has taken pride of place in the square each winter for the past 16 years (it is actually in place for six months for November to May) but Hidalgo has had enough. 
She believes the temporary attraction is out of place with the historic setting of one of the city's grandest squares. City Hall says the mayor wants Place de la Concorde to rediscover “the character of its heritage”.
Later this month she will ask city councillors to vote through a motion to ensure that 2017 is the last year for the wheel.
It appears she will get her way after councillors already passed a motion last year to hold a debate on the presence of the wheel.
The move will no doubt spark the ire of Marcel Campion, who has run the attraction as well as the Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysées.
Fairground workers already held two days of protests against the scrapping of the market, in which they blockaded roads around Paris leading to traffic chaos.
Campion, known as the “fairground king” said Hidalgo's move to pull down the wheel is a “settling of scores” and shows she wants to banish fairgrounds from Paris altogether.
But the mayor's opposition to the big wheel is not just about heritage and history.
(What Place de la Cncorde looks like without the wheel. AFP)

It appears Paris authorities are no longer comfortable working with the “fairground king”.

After years of suspicion Campion, or at least his company “Festivals and Leisure” (Fêtes et Loisirs), is finally under formal investigation for various offences including: colluding with competitors, abuse of property, money laundering, favouritism and involvement in organised crime.

Campion probably didn't help his cause  this week when he called Hidalgo “mentally disturbed”.
Deputy Mayor Bruno Julliard insists Paris is not against the idea of a big wheel, they just don't want it such a historic setting, next to the Jardins des Tuileries.
He says city authorities will reflect on options to erect a big wheel in another part of the city.


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