The first part of Paris’ exciting new Seine-side
development has just been unveiled.
In May, Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris,
received approval for his controversial Berges
de Seine (Banks of the Seine) project, which is reclaiming the motorways on
both sides of the River Seine from the 40,000 motorists that use them each day and
creating a green space for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Work on the Right Bank was completed in
September, with the riverside road, voie Georges Pompidou,
narrowed, traffic lights added and wider pavements and new cycle lanes
installed. Parts of the Left Bank will be auto free when work is complete in
spring 2013 and 4.5 hectares of new space between the Musée d’Orsay and Pont
de l’Alma will be dedicated to events, sports, nature, culture and relaxing.
Trees and grass are being planted along
both banks, and a floating garden made up of five islands will be added to the
river. Visitors to the city can take leisurely strolls along the paths and look
out onto the historic islands Ile St Louis
and Ile de la
cite and iconic Paris monuments including Notre Dame Cathedral and
the Hotel de
However, not everyone is in favour of the 35
million euro redevelopment. The project has seen much opposition from the
right-wing UMP party, and many of the drivers
that use these roads have joined forces to create an organisation called 40 millions
d'automobilistes (40 million car users) in attempt to have their voices
Delanoë and his supporters defend the project,
pointing out the benefits of reduced traffic and pollution, and noting that the
new, smaller roads will only add a extra five minutes onto journeys. The mayor has
also highlighted the cultural importance of this space for both locals and visitors
to the city.
Kim Laidlaw Adrey is the Paris Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes www.unlockparis.com.