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Les Champs Des Possibles

Paris's world famous Champs-Élysées, and the surrounding area, are set to be transformed into an 'extraordinary garden' in the heart of the French capital as Anne Hidalgo, the city's mayor, gives the green light to a $300 million restoration and rejuvenation project.

This fabulous, radical plan will reduce space for parking by half, convert roads into pedestrian spaces, insert bicycle lanes, and plant avenues of trees alongside the old elms which, today, struggle to survive in the polluted air (just like residents and visitors). In short, the objective is to create a lot more green spaces and give Parisians and tourists a significantly more pleasant environment to enjoy. The video below shows the daring scale of what's going to happen.

“The legendary avenue has lost its splendor during the last 30 years,” said a statement from the Champs-Élysées committee in 2019. The Champs-Élysées is a place where Parisians have long celebrated: when the Nazis were thrown out, when Les Bleu won the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and for the annual Bastille Day Parade.

Before the pandemic, there were more cars driving up and down the boulevard each day than on the peripherique, the Paris ring road. Not great for a city centre!

Architect Philippe Chiambaretta, whose firm is handling the makeover, described the issues to The Guardian as characteristic of all problems facing modern Paris: “pollution, the place of the car, tourism, and consumerism.” He added that the Champs-Élysées needed to be redeveloped into something “ecological, desirable, and inclusive.”

While the makeover will not be complete before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, the rejuvenation and greening of Place de la Concorde at the other end of the Champs-Élysées from the Arc de Triomphe, is expected to be completed before then.

Another part of the city will also get a face lift - Eiffel’s famous tower, which Hidalgo promises to turn into an “extraordinary park at the heart of Paris.” The Champs-Élysées will remove most of its polluting traffic by 2030. Which, by then, will mostly be non-polluting electric cars anyway.

Here's the video of what we can all look forward to:

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