From huge urban forests to a ban on cars, the French capital, best known for fashion and romance is setting its sights on a greener reputation.
Paris’ Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, first elected in 2014, has placed green policies at the front of her campaigns and what’s more, she’s acting on them.
When you think of France, it conjures up images of a metropolis; a city of grand palaces, boulevards, cobbled streets and impressive architecture, so it may come as a surprise that the city of love is leading the charge with an environmentally conscience plan to transform into a living, breathing green city.
From 2024, all diesel cars will be banned from the city and by 2030 petrol cars will follow suit. Some major roads such as the quais which run alongside the River Seine are closed entirely to traffic and an incredible 900 miles of bike lanes have been created.
As you’d imagine, this has been a source of controversy with taxi drivers staging protests against the rules, but the measures remain in place.
Paris has taken advantage of the quiet streets during the pandemic and turned 40 miles of the road into bike lanes – named the ‘corona piste’ (lanes) by the locals.
Paris is also planning to build four large ‘urban forests’ next to major landmarks like the Opera Garnier. A staggering 170,000 trees will be planted by 2026 and by 2030, Mayor Hidalgo has pledged that 50% of the city will be covered by planted areas.
Famous Parisian landmark, the Eiffel Tower, is also due an update with the area being transformed into a large green park, ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games and the games themselves will be housed in the eco-friendly Olympic Village.
In line with Mayor Hidalgo’s bold ambitions, Paris’s most famous street, the Champs-Élysées will be turned into an ‘extraordinary garden’ in a €250 million makeover. The previously terrifying four lanes of traffic will be reduced to two, creating more space for pedestrians and ‘tree tunnels’ which are designed to improve air quality.
The most impressive and ambitious change to be made, is the concept of the ’15-minute city’. This means that Parisians would have access to schools, shops, and public transport all within 15 minutes of their home. This will help to reduce car use and encourage travelling on foot and public transport.
Paris seems to have taken some optimistic lessons from the coronavirus lockdowns, seeing the impact of the lack of traffic in the city and the possibility of working and living closer to home.