In Pictures: Paris mayor unveils plan to create four ‘urban forests’ in city centre

Some of the French capital's most famous sites are set for a green makeover, with plans to create four 'urban forests' in the pipeline, the Paris mayor has revealed.

In Pictures: Paris mayor unveils plan to create four 'urban forests' in city centre
Palais Garnier is one of the symbolic sites in central Paris set for a green makeover. Photo: Ville de Paris/Apur/Luxigon
The areas set to be rejuvenated with some fresh foliage are Hôtel de Ville in the 4th arrondissement, Gare de Lyon in the 12th, Palais Garnier in the 9th and along part of the banks of the Seine, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced. 
“We have an obligation to act today to avoid making this city impossible to live in down the road,” she said in an exclusive interview with Le Parisien.  
“We will use one of the two pedestrian lanes on the Right Bank of the Seine, while the other road will remain paved for the purposes of emergency vehicles,” she said. 
Right Bank/Ville de Paris/Luxigon
At Hôtel de Ville and Gare de Lyon, the plan is to create 'urban forests' above the car parks,” said Hidalgo, adding that at Palais Garnier the forest will be planted behind the building. 
There are also plans for trees will also be planted on smaller sites, such as Rue Louis-Blanc (10th) and Boulevard Pasteur (15th). 
She added that there are also plans for a planted walk from La Villette to Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th. 
Gare de Lyon/Ville de Paris/Apur/Luxigon
And Hidalgo doesn't appear to be wasting any time, with the forests set to appear during 2020. 
In her interview with Le Parisien, the mayor said consultations would be held “with the mayors of the arrondissements concerned and residents”, and a debate will be held in Paris Council.
But, perhaps unsurprisingly, the plans have not been well received by everybody.
Hôtel de Ville/Ville de Paris/Apur/Luxigon
The mayor's announcement in Le Parisien provoked the ire of opposition politicians who protested the move at the Paris Council on Thursday night.
“While sitting in council for three days dealing with urban projects, we discover in a newspaper that the mayor plans not to decide (in assembly) but in her office and then announce it to the press,” politician Eric Azière told the French press.
Another opposition politician in the Paris Council Danielle Simonnet said the mayor's method showed a “contempt for democratic debate”. 

Member comments

  1. Every country is packed with idiots on their i-phones who love cars and asphalt and hate (or “don’t get, duh”) nature, not noticing that IT’S “nature” which (for just a while longer) is the only thing that ever sustained their “lifestyle.” Ah well. Go Anne!

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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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