Greener, fewer cars: Champs-Elysées will begin a profound change, elected officials and experts on Wednesday promised to “re-enchant” the famous Parisian avenue at the 2024 Olympics. Named “Re-enchanting the Champs-Elysées” project carried out by the Paris City Hall, the elected officials of the district and the Champs-Elysées Committee, which brings together merchants and businesses on the avenue, are to be carried out in two stages.
The first is to be concluded at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris in the summer of 2024; the other, which comes next, has more blurred contours. Specifically, it is at the two ends of the 2-kilometer-long avenue that the changes will be most visible.
First on the Place de la Concorde side, where the gardens on either side of the “Champs”, now largely faded, will be transformed. “We want to turn these gardens into real promenade gardens,” PS Mayor Anne Hidalgo promised during a news conference at the Théâtre du Rond-Point, a stone’s throw from the avenue. Hundreds of trees will be planted and small outdated streets will go to pedestrians, with the elected socialist wanting to “restore freshness” to adapt the city to global warming.
The second major change for 2024 will take place around the Arc de Triomphe, where the Place de l’Etoile roundabout will see its abundant car traffic reduced. “At the Arc de Triomphe, what we need to do is expand the ring” pedestrians around the monument, Anne Hidalgo explained. “It’s a reduction in the car’s space, I prefer to be ready. Because that’s how we should look at tomorrow’s city,” she added.
But the reduction in motorized traffic, the mayor’s cockroach and politically sensitive issue does not currently concern the avenue itself, which has two lanes in car traffic and a bus and taxiway in each direction. On this subject, “the mayor has agreed (…) to discuss, to negotiate, I know she has her opinions, we have ours,” assured Marc-Antoine Jamet, chairman of the Champs-Elysées committee.
At the top of the avenue, very commercial and popular with foreign tourists, the sidewalks and street furniture, in aging places, will be renovated, the elected officials promised. By 2024, City Hall will commit 26 million euros to all the workers, in addition to 6 million from Solidéo (an Olympic supply company for works) to the places affected by the Games, namely the Place de la Concorde and the Grand Palais.
And afterwards Concorde
Because the challenge is to bring the Parisians back to this iconic avenue of the city, laid out in 1670 and which has survived the times. It is necessary “to enchant one of the capital’s most emblematic windows, the most famous of the Parisian avenues, which suffers from having lost much of its splendor in the last 30 years,” said the mayor of the 8th arrondissement. , Jeanne d ‘Hauteserre. Crowded with people until the middle of the 20th century, it was gradually deserted by Parisians and more taken over by foreign tourists and customers in luxury shops.
Its terraces must also be “harmonized” by 2024, a sensitive topic for traders who have been entrusted to Belgian designer Ramy Fischler. “Our goal and my mission (…) is both to preserve the brands’ identity and personality (…), but also to create a signature that in a certain way identifies Champs, as it has always done throughout the world,” he said. And beyond the Olympic deadline, the transformation must continue. The development of the project was handed over to the architect Philippe Chiambaretta.
Place de la Concorde, now fully paved, will be at the heart of the changes. It will be necessary to “facilitate the crossing”, “to restore access to the monuments, the obelisk and the fountains” and to green the site, “an oven”, the architect explained. Anne Hidalgo said she was in favor of extending the Tuileries Gardens to the obelisk.