In April, 2010 the Mayor of Paris, Bernard Delanoe made a revolutionary announcement:
“Paris is Taking Back the Banks of the Seine!”
Years ago, the banks of the Seine were converted to automobile use to ease traffic congestion. While sidewalks remained to stroll and run along, areas were converted to side roads for most of the year. In an initiative to ease car pollution and encourage greater use of public transport, Paris is taking a huge step. By 2012, the City of Paris plans to transform 15 hectares of land next to the river Seine into pedestrian use. One fourth of this land will become completely pedestrian — hooraaayyy!!!! The designated areas are concentrated on the Left Bank of the Seine, near the Alma Bridge, Invalides Bridge, Concorde and Louvres Bridges and the Bridge at the Musee d’Orsay.
The riverbanks of Paris inspire me completely, and I wrote a post about it a few months back. I love to walk and attempt to jog along the Seine as often as I can. At sunrise, at sunset, sunny days or during winter snows, nothing touches me like walking along and crossing the bridges of the Seine. I can’t wait to see the transformation! The before and after plans are shown vividly in the photographs below.
The photo above shows the transformation of the river bank next to the beautiful Pont Alexandre III, a favorite for walks early in the morning. Here is the beautiful river god at sunrise:
Paris at sunrise; Pont Alexandre III on the Left Bank
The river is so peaceful at the moment and the ripples in the water appear almost gentle. It is a fast-moving river and the aspects and reflections continually change with the light.
Below are the before and after pictures of the Invalides and Place de la Concorde Bridge, one of the most exciting proposals:
BEFORE - Pont Alexandre III
AFTER - Left bank near the Invalides becomes a pedestrian area to stroll along
Equally dramatic will be the transformation of the Quai or river bank near the Musee’ d’Orsay. Current plans are to build outdoor terraces, plant trees and gardens and install an open theatre on the Seine, with terraced seating where you can come down and watch a movie on warm summer nights!
BEFORE - Port de Solférino - Musée d'Orsay
AFTER - Open Air Movies on the Seine Near Paris Perfect Apartments
Equally exciting are the plans for the banks near the Invalides and Concorde Bridge, with volleyball courts and other sports activities. including an island onto the Seine with cafe’ and possibly swimming!
BEFORE - Here is the river bank near the Invalides and Concorde Bridge today, a short walk from many of our Paris apartment rentals.
After Paris transforms this river bank into a completely pedestrian area, including man-made island on the Seine!
AFTER - Sports areas and manmade island; this will be on of the best parts of Paris' transformation of the riverbanks!
The Branly Museum on the Left Bank will bridge with the Palais de Tokyo on the right bank across the pedestrian bridge for ongoing exhibitions, a pedestrian area and exclusive bicycle lanes.
BEFORE - Passerelle Debilly - Palais de Tokyo - Musée du quai Branly
AFTER - Near the Branly Museum on the Left Bank and linked to the Palais de Tokyo on the right, ongoing exhibitions, bicycle lanes and more.
The Alma Bridge, with its iconoclastic ‘bug-eyed’ lamps will benefit from gardens, seating areas and walkways. Plans for a skating area and more…
AFTER - The Alma Bridge benefits with a beautiful garden area, covered seating and walkways
Here is the current plan for Paris’ Recapturing of the Seine. Most of the designated pedestrian enclaves are clustered in our favorite destinations along the Left Bank and close to many of ouru Paris apartments. Start out in the morning and spend your day walking and relaxing along this beautiful river. As Bertrand Delanoe said: “Help transform the river banks to the pleasure of being alive”. This is what we find in Paris, and with the transformation even more.
It will be fabulous to stroll along the Seine under green trees, starting near the Eiffel Tower, heading towards the the Invalides, Concorde, Orsay Museum and Louvres! Cut onto rue du Bac to gaze at the antique shops or the Bon Marche for fashions. Circle back to the river and slowly walk home at sunset. If you’ve stopped at the open air market near the Alma Bridge, enjoy fresh cheese, baguette and wine for dinner by candlelight with someone you love. What could be more complete?
M. Delanoe, we can’t wait!