Paris to place 100 ‘small bubbles’ on city’s streets to shelter homeless

Paris City Hall has announced its latest method for helping the city's homeless population - distributing one hundred "small bubbles" around the streets of the French capital which can be used for shelter at night.

Paris to place 100 'small bubbles' on city's streets to shelter homeless
Photo: AFP
The launch of these “bubbles” was announced by the official in charge of the city's homeless population who on Tuesday evening said that they would help increase the amount of accommodation for people living on the Paris streets. 
“We need at least 3,000 more places [for homeless people],” said Dominique Versini.
So far the size of the “bubbles” has not been revealed although Versini said that they would account for “at least half” of the 3,000 places she says are necessary.  It has also not been decided where these bubbles will be located.
She also announced the creation of a public bath and shower area reserved for women, as well as two new restaurants for the city's homeless and an area for them to store their belongings. 
However so far City Hall has not announced when this plan will be put into action. 

Paris counts 3,000 homeless living on its streets in first ever censusPhoto: AFP

During the city's first ever Nuit de Solidarite (Night of Solidarity) in February, 1,700 volunteers and 300 Paris officials found that at least 3,000 people were sleeping rough on the streets of the French capital and authorities warned that this was likely to be a serious underestimate. 
This situation is “of absolute urgency,” said Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo on Tuesday night, adding that it was necessary to come up with new ways of addressing the situation. 
“Today there are 16,000 permanent places every day, and you need to go beyond that,” she continued. 
In February, after several controversies over the number of people on the street, the government had argued that 13,000 emergency shelter places had been created this winter.
Visitors to Paris are often shocked by the poverty that exists in some parts of the capital, especially the omnipresent beggars on the metro and the migrants' tents perched along the Canal Saint-Martin.
And across the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France there were a total of 18 deaths during the same period, according to the list from Les Morts dans la Rue (Deaths on the street), a collective dedicated to documenting the deaths of homeless people in France. 
In response to the list, Jean-Christophe Combe, director general of the Red Cross, told Le Figaro that the situation was “not acceptable and not sustainable”.


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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