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After the 2024 Olympics, vehicle traffic will be halved, trees planted and the size of green space on Paris ’iconic boulevard increased.

After the 2024 Paris Olympics, the Champs-Élysées will be renewed, the mayor of Paris has announced. Regarding the investment of 250 million euros (90 billion forints), Anne Hidalgo said that the plans had already been presented to the leaders of local governments and businesses last year. The idea is to turn a “special garden” out of a 1.9-kilometer boulevard that crosses downtown Paris. The Champs-Élysées Commission has been campaigning for the redesign and renewal of the avenue since 2018. As they put it, the legendary avenue has lost its luster for the past 30 years, Parisians have turned away from it, and they have been hit one after another by economic and health crises and strikes, The Guardian wrote. “It is often called the most beautiful avenue in the world, but we who work here every day are no longer so sure about that,” said Jean-Noël Reinhardt, chairman of the committee, last year. He added that as more and more visitors pass through it and businesses are fighting to get their feet on it, it looks worn out for the French. The committee assessed the needs for change through a public consultation. It is planned that the location of vehicle traffic would be halved, most of the road would be handed over to pedestrian traffic and green areas, and rows of trees would be planted to improve air quality. The Champs-Élysées was originally a swampy area with a kitchen garden. It got its name from the heaven of Greek mythology, the Elysian fields. André Le Notre, the Sun King, XIV. Louis the gardener first designed the wide promenade lined with rows of trees, which was named the Grand Cours. It was renamed the Champs-Élysées in 1709, when it was expanded and by the end of the century it had become a popular walking route and picnic spot. Nowadays, the showroom of several luxury car brands, famous for its cafes and department stores, has also opened on the boulevard. It also traditionally hosts an annual large-scale military parade to commemorate the siege of the Bastille.

Before the coronavirus epidemic, star architect Phillippe Chiambaretta, whose office was working on renovation plans, said about a hundred thousand pedestrians turned up the boulevard every day, 72 percent of them tourists and 22 percent working there. Three thousand vehicles pass through the eight-lane avenue, which makes the air in the area very polluted. He stressed the need to turn the polluted, car-crowded, high-tourism shopping center into an “environmentally conscious, attractive and inclusive” area. The renewal will also affect the famous Concorde Square, the largest square in Paris, located at the southeast end of the boulevard. They want to complete its transformation before the 2024 Olympics. The transformation of the Champs-Élysées could be completed by 2030 as planned. Hidalgo also talked about other renovation plans being prepared in different parts of Paris: they also want to turn the area around the Eiffel Tower in the heart of the city into a “special park”.

Source: Népszava by

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