Could the French capital city’s most neglected area really become ‘the new face of Paris’?

Could the French capital city's most neglected area really become 'the new face of Paris'?
Photo: AFP
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is kicking off her reelection campaign with the promise of a makeover for one of Paris' most notoriously shabby areas.

Plans have been unveiled for a transformation of La Chapelle, a notoriously worn-down part of Paris that was recently describes as “forgotten by the world” by the capital’s main newspaper Le Parisien.

The plans were revealed by Paris en Commun, a cross-party support group for Hidalgo, on Twitter on Monday morning.


Situated in the far north of the capital, in the eastern part of the 18th arrondissement, La Chapelle is infamous for its worn-down look and crumbling infrastructure.

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A long-time overcrowding of the local refugee shelter at Porte de la Chapelle had about 1,600 migrants setting up a camp in the area.

After clearing the camp last year, local police reinforced security in the area, but local groups say that now around 2,500 people are sleeping rough there – more than before the clear-out. 


With her “unique and experimental initiative,” Hidalgo is going for a different approach, aiming to profoundly transform the whole area.

“In a short term perspective I want this new district to become the new Paris,” she told Le Parisien.

Anne Hidalgo chose to start her reelection campaign in the capital's most tired area. Photo: AFP

So what is the Mayor proposing exactly?

For one, two of the areas main roads will be made accessible for pedestrians and cyclists, with new bike lanes and a generous amount of trees and plants.

The tweet below shows a before and after-image of one of the streets in question:


Secondly, the Mayor's office is looking at plans to create a big square in front of the Arena, one of the locations where the Paris Summer Olympics for 2025 will take place.

There is also talk of an “elevated, green bridge.”

However Mayor said that “none of this has been voted on,” and that all plans would have to pass through the Parisian City Council for approval.

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  1. If this is the extent of her plans, it does not amount to much. No solution to the actual issues in the neighbourhood, just a creeping gentrification that will push the problems out to other parts of the city.

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