VIDEO: Work begins on final stage to make Paris’ Place de la Bastille pedestrian friendly

VIDEO: Work begins on final stage to make Paris' Place de la Bastille pedestrian friendly
Place de la Bastille will connect with the Canal Saint-Martin. Photo: Jean Baptiste Gurliat/Ville de Paris
The final stages of work began on Wednesday to transform one of Paris' most famous places the Place de la Bastille from a giant roundabout into a green pedestrian space.

Place de la Bastille is one of several Paris squares to be getting a pedestrian-friendly makeover as part of the plans of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo to make the city greener

On Wednesday the final phase of the works began – removing five huge steel beams of 30 tonnes each, dating from 1890, from the end of the square to reconnect it to the Canal Saint-Martin.


As well as opening up the square to the canal basin – which has been partially covered over since Metro Line 1 was built in 1900 – the works will also significantly reduce space for traffic and create a giant pedestrian plaza, as well as an interchange for cyclists to connect several different cycle paths.

Jean-Louis Missika, the Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of urban planning, told Le Monde: “The renovation of the Bastille, like that of the Place de la Nation, symbolises our global approach: make room for pedestrians and bicycles and not only for cars, integrate plants and be a place of life and not just a place of passage, be inclusive thanks to a breadcrumb trail on the ground throughout the square for the visually impaired.”
Photo: Jean Baptiste Gurliat/Ville de Paris
As well as Place de la Bastille – a significant site in French history as the Bastille prison which was stormed at the beginning of the French Revolution was located to the west of the current square –  Place de la Nation, Place du Pantheon, Place d'Italie, Place de la Madeleine, Place Gambetta and Place des Fetes are also getting pedestrian-friendly makeovers in the €50 million project.
In total, pedestrians and cyclists will gain 50 percent more space on the squares in a move to significantly decrease traffic.
Since the beginning of her term in office, Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo has prioritised making Paris into a more pedestrian friendly city, with a huge number of roadworks to improve walking and cycling spaces, as well as restrictions on such as banner older diesel vehicles from the centre of Paris during the week.


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