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Champs Elysees turn green

The mayor of the French capital, Anne Hidalgo, in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, announced that the plan for the global renovation of the Champs Elysees was finally approved. At the first stage, timed to coincide with the 2024 Olympic Games, it will affect the Place de la Concorde, and only by 2030 will the entire main avenue of the city on the Seine and the adjacent zones be completely transformed. When the project developed by the architectural agency PCA-Stream was presented at the beginning of last year, experts estimated its implementation at 150 million euros. However, it is possible that in the end the cost will be significantly higher.

According to Anne Hidalgo, “our goal is to transform the Champs Elysees into an extraordinary garden.” Moreover, the head of the aforementioned agency, Philip Ciambaretta, hopes to make them a kind of “standard of modern approach to urbanization issues.” So what transformations await the famous Parisian street?

First, it will be deprived of the status of the central transport artery of the city, which is fully consistent with the long-term policy of the head of the Paris municipality, aimed at ousting cars from the capital. The current eight-lane highway will be cut in half. The freed up areas will be given to pedestrians, and over 1,100 trees with dense crowns will be planted on both sides of the highway for almost two kilometers. They are intended to create the effect of “green tunnels”, where, in particular, the terraces of restaurants and bistros will be located. Traffic around the Arc de Triomphe located in Place Charles de Gaulle – Etoile will also be curtailed. The plans are to change the road surface of the avenue, using materials that can seriously reduce the noise of passing cars and buses. At the same time, the park area of ​​the Champs Elysees will be expanded. There will be playgrounds, cafes, and a variety of entertainment for Parisians and visitors.

Frankly speaking, the need for a radical redesign of the Champs Elysees is long overdue. The fact is that for most Parisians, they are by no means the most attractive place in the city. A poll conducted by the French Institute for the Study of Public Opinion (IFOP) shows that 92 percent of the capital’s residents give the avenue a negative assessment. Causes? The highest level of gas pollution in the city, crowds of tourists, expensive shops, designed mainly for visitors. In addition, the image of the Champs Elysees was badly spoiled by endless manifestations of “yellow vests” with stunning pogroms and arson.