Paris agrees to turn Champs-Élysées into ‘extraordinary garden’

Mayor Anne Hidalgo gives green light to £225m-scheme to transform French capital’s most famous avenue

The mayor of Paris has said a €250m (£225m) makeover of the Champs-Élysées will go ahead, though the ambitious transformation will not happen before the French capital hosts the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Anne Hidalgo said the planned work, unveiled in 2019 by local community leaders and businesses, would turn the 1.9 km (1.2 mile) stretch of central Paris into “an extraordinary garden”.

The Champs-Élysées committee has been campaigning for a major redesign of the avenue and its surroundings since 2018.

“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 said in a statement welcoming Hidalgo’s announcement.

“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,” Jean-Noël Reinhardt, the committee president 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.”

The committee held a public consultation over what should be done with the avenue. The plans include reducing space for vehicles by half, turning roads into pedestrian and green areas, and creating tunnels of trees to improve air quality.

The Champs-Élysées’ name is French for the mythical Greek paradise, the Elysian Fields. It was originally a mixture of swamp and kitchen gardens.

André Le Nôtre, Louis XIV the Sun King’s gardener, first designed the wide promenade lined with a double row of elm trees on each side, called the Grand Cours.

It was renamed the Champs-Élysées in 1709 and extended, and by the end of the century had become a popular place to walk and picnic.

An image showing the planned redevelopment of the Champs-Élysées
An image showing the planned redevelopment of the Champs-Élysées. Photograph: PCA-Stream

Paris celebrated the 1944 liberation from Nazi occupation on the Champs-Élysées and World Cup victories still bring out the crowds, but its famous charm has faded and it is mostly shunned by Parisians.

Today it is famous for its expensive cafes, luxury shops, high-end car salesrooms, commercial rents among the highest in the world and the annual Bastille Day military parade.

Before the Covid-19 crisis halted international tourism, the architect Philippe Chiambaretta, whose firm PCA-Stream drew up the makeover plans, said that of the estimated 100,000 pedestrians on the avenue every day, 72% were tourists and 22% work there.

The eight-lane highway is used by an average of 3,000 vehicles an hour, most passing through, and is more polluted than the busy périphérique ring road around the French capital, he added.

Chiambaretta said the Champs-Élysées had become a place that summed up the problems faced by cities around the world, “pollution, the place of the car, tourism and consumerism”, and needed to be redeveloped to be “ecological, desirable and inclusive”.

The plans also include redesigning the famous Place de la Concorde – Paris’s largest place – at the south-east end of the avenue, described by city hall as a “municipal priority”. This is expected to be completed before the Olympic Games. The aim is to transform the Champs-Élysées by 2030.

Hidalgo told Le Journal du Dimanche that the project was one of several intended to transform the city “before and after 2024”, including turning the area around the Eiffel Tower into an “extraordinary park at the heart of Paris”.

Source: Paris agrees to turn Champs-Élysées into ‘extraordinary garden’ | Paris | The Guardian

Paris Mayor Pledges a Greener ’15-Minute City’

Paris needs to become a “15-minute city.” That’s the message from the manifesto of Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who is seeking re-election this March. Hidalgo has been leading a radical overhaul of the city’s mobility culture since taking office in 2014, and has already barred the most polluting vehicles from entry, banished cars from the Seine quayside and reclaimed road space for trees and pedestrians. Now, she says, Paris needs to go one step further and remodel itself so that residents can have all their needs met—be they for work, shopping, health, or culture—within 15 minutes of their own doorstep.

Even in a dense city like Paris, which has more than 21,000 residents per square mile, the concept as laid out by the Hidalgo campaign group Paris en Commun is bold. Taken at a citywide level, it would require a sort of anti-zoning—“deconstructing the city” as Hidalgo adviser Carlos Moreno, a professor at Paris-Sorbonne University, puts it. “There are six things that make an urbanite happy” he told Liberation. “Dwelling in dignity, working in proper conditions, [being able to gain] provisions, well-being, education and leisure. To improve quality of life, you need to reduce the access radius for these functions.” That commitment to bringing all life’s essentials to each neighborhood means creating a more thoroughly integrated urban fabric, where stores mix with homes, bars mix with health centers, and schools with office buildings.

Paris en Commun has created a diagram to illustrate the concept of what should be available within 15 minutes of “Chez Moi” (home)

This focus on mixing as many uses as possible within the same space challenges much of the planning orthodoxy of the past century or so, which has studiously attempted to separate residential areas from retail, entertainment, manufacturing, and office districts. This geographical division of uses made sense at the dawn of the industrial era, when polluting urban factories posed health risks for those living in their shadows. Car-centric suburban-style zoning further intensified this separation, leading to an era of giant consolidated schools, big-box retail strips, and massive industrial and office parks, all isolated from each other and serviced by networks of roads and parking infrastructure. But the concept of “hyper proximity,” as the French call it, seeks to stitch some the these uses back together, and it’s driving many of the world’s most ambitious community planning projects.

Barcelona’s much-admired “superblocks,” for example, do more than just remove cars from chunks of the city: They’re designed to encourage people living within car-free multi-block zones to expand their daily social lives out into safer, cleaner streets, and to encourage the growth of retail, entertainment, and other services within easy reach. East London’s pioneering Every One Every Day initiative takes the hyper-local development model in a slightly different direction, one designed to boost social cohesion and economic opportunity. Working in London’s poorest borough, the project aims to ensure that a large volume of community-organized social activities, training and business development opportunities are not just available across the city, but specifically reachable in large number within a short distance of participants’ homes. Continue reading “Paris Mayor Pledges a Greener ’15-Minute City’”

French Ranks No. 1 For Sustainable Eats

This new study puts the country at No. 1.

We’ve long admired the French for their food philosophy, breezy approach to beauty, and genius self-care routines. And according to a new report, we should envy their commitment to sustainability, too.

France ranked No. 1 overall on this year’s Food Sustainability Index(FSI), developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation. The FSI analyzed 34 of the world’s most developed nations to see how they stacked up on food waste, sustainable agriculture, and nutrition.

With an overall ranking of 74.79, France took home the gold, due in large part to its commitment to fighting food waste. Last year, [ . . . ] More: French Ranks No. 1 For Sustainable Eats – mindbodygreen

 

Consumers warned as French food waste hits 10m tonnes

France throws away 10 million tonnes of food every year, with each French person throwing out the equivalent of one entire meal per week, a new report has warned.Each French person wastes on average over €100-worth of food – and 29 kg – per year, according to data published in French newspaper Le Monde.This week celebrates the French National Day Against Food Waste (Journée nationale de lutte contre le gaspillage alimentaire), which aims to raise awareness of the scale of the problem.Le Monde’s report showed that if the entire food chain – from production to consumption – is taken into account, each consumer actually wastes as much as €240 and 155 kg-worth of food per year.In response, the French minister for agriculture has warned the public to make sure they do not needlessly throw food away, and to mind the difference between “use by” (known in French as the DLC (date limite de consommation)) and “best before” (DDM, date de durabilité minimale) dates [ . . . ]

Full Story: Consumers warned as French food waste hits 10m tonnes

Have the French found a way to combat food waste? – Green News 

Despite most of the country hiding away from Hurricane Ophelia today, the 16th of October also marks UN “World Food Day.” In celebration, a new food app is being released to launch major action against food waste.TheFoodLife app is the creation of Arash Derambarsh, who played a key role in fighting for the introduction of the French food waste laws in February 2016.Mr Derambarsh is urging the rest of Europe to adopt similar laws in the fight against food waste and food poverty [ . . . ]

Fulll Story at: Have the French found a way to combat food waste? – Green News Ireland