Paris votes to axe its Big Wheel

Paris councillors on Wednesday voted to scrap the city's prominent riverside Ferris wheel, the French capital's version of the London Eye.

Paris votes to axe its Big Wheel
Photo: AFP
Run by “fairground king” Marcel Campion who has also seen his Christmas market on the Champs-Elysees scrapped because authorities deemed it too tacky, the attraction will be closed from July 2018.
City councillors voted almost unanimously against granting him a fresh licence for the “Grande Roue”, which has sat intermittently on the Place de la Concorde near the Louvre museum since 1993.
Councillors said getting rid of the wheel would help protect the area's “historic visual appearance”.
They indicated that they were not against a Ferris wheel being erected somewhere else, said deputy mayor Bruno Julliard.

After cancelling Christmas market now Paris wants to pull down its big wheelPhoto: AFP

It could potentially be set up in time for next year's Christmas holidays, he said, adding: “Anyone could apply to run it, even Marcel Campion.”
The decision comes as a further blow to Campion — who has been embroiled in various legal troubles in recent years — after the council voted in July to get rid of the Christmas market he has run since 2008.
Some local lawmakers complained that the quality of the wares on sale was not in keeping with an avenue that hosts luxury labels such as Louis Vuitton as well as high street chains like H&M.
They want it replaced with a more upmarket site selling products made in Paris.
Angry funfair operators and market stall holders blocked major roads around the capital earlier this month over that decision in the latest of several protests, saying their livelihood was under threat.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said this week that Campion had been told “we cannot suffer the permanent threat of having the capital blockaded”.
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 when he called Hidalgo “mentally disturbed” earlier this month.


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”.

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