This Paris Life

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Could Paris’s Avenue Foch become a pedestrian zone?

Things are heating up in Paris as we approach the municipal elections in March. As part of her pitch, Socialist Party candidate for Mayor Anne Hidalgo is supporting a proposal to transform Avenue Foch into a pedestrian zone.

Avenue Foch in the 16th arrondissement (district) is one of Paris’s major arteries. The 1.3 kilometer (0.8 mile) avenue links the Arc de Triomphe on l’Etoile in the center with the Périphérique ring road. Named after Maréchal Foch, the French World War I leader, it has historically been one of the most prestigious addresses in the city.

A group of architects and urban planners have been working on the project for some 18 months. The plan is to create an urban park of 67,000 m2 and a pedestrian zone with shops, apartments and a luxury hotel. Anne Hidalgo has picked up the idea, which she says she will study carefully with the Socialist Party candidate for the 16th arrondissement.

In a statement, Anne Hidalgo said, ‘This ambitious project would revitalize the western neighborhoods of Paris. It’s in the same spirit as the pedestrian zones along the banks of the Seine and the Place de la République, where the car had dominated for too long. The scheme will bring the bois de Boulogne into central Paris’.

Not everyone shares her enthusiasm for the concept, which has been variously described as ‘bizarre’, ‘disturbing’ and ‘unrealistic’.

Watch this space…


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