Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has approved a plan to turn the legendary Champs-Élysées promenade into a vibrant strip of green.
The $250m project, which will turn the Champs-Élysées into an “extraordinary garden,” is set for completion just before the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.
Hidalgo announced that the planned work, presented by local businesses and community leaders back in 2019, would turn the 1.9 km stretch of central city Paris into a beautiful green space for the whole city to enjoy.
Since 2018, the Champs-Élysées committee has been campaigning for a complete redesign of the strip and surrounding area in hopes of returning its once-sought-after magic.
“The legendary avenue has lost its splendour during the last 30 years. It has been progressively abandoned by Parisians and has been hit by several successive crises: the gilets jaunes, strikes, health and economic,” the committee announced, following the decision.
Achieved through rigorous consultation with the French public, the proposal will reduce traffic in the area by nearly 50%, converting roads into green spaces and pedestrian areas. An added canopy of trees will help in improving the city’s air quality.
“It’s often called the world’s most beautiful avenue, but those of us who work here every day are not at all sure about that,” committee president Jean-Noël Reinhardt said in 2019. “The Champs-Élysées has more and more visitors and big-name businesses battle to be on it, but to French people, it’s looking worn out.”
Meanwhile, more good news from Paris: The Champs-Elysees will be reconfigured, eliminating half the space currently set aside for automobiles.
Extensive new pedestrian areas and greenways are planned. https://t.co/ylCsJEsTFX
— David Zipper (@DavidZipper) January 10, 2021
Previously boasting rowed elm trees and decadent gardens, the Champs-Élysées earned its name for its lush green space. Now famous for bougie cafes, opulent shops, and luxury car dealerships, the avenue is mostly shunned by locals, with much of its charm fading into traffic, pollution, and, before COVID, the influx of yearly tourists.
Architect Philippe Chiambaretta said the area was symbolic of the environmental problems now challenging the whole world: “pollution, the place of the car, tourism and consumerism”, and stressed the need for the redevelopment to be “ecological, desirable and inclusive.”
Hidalgo said the project is just one of the several proposed plans to transform the Parisian city “before and after 2024.” Other plans include converting the area surrounding the Eiffel Tower into “extraordinary park at the heart of Paris.”