Ugly Paris(#2)


Anne Hidalgo (Credit)
   

Why this page ?

The current mayor of Paris is Anne Hidalgo, elected in 2014. She is charismatic and authoritarian. She has a vision for Paris (which is good for a mayor), she is a Socialist (that her absolute right), she does not listen to anybody who does not share her views and decides about everything (this is not very nice for the Opposition), she his not known for her culture and her esthetic taste (see below), she wants to run for the presentential election in 2022 (her perfect right) and all she does aims at buiding a national image regardless the specific needs and constraints of Paris and its inhabitants (that is THE problem). See a few illustrations of it.

Buildings and street equipment

  • The City has announced that, in order to illustrate its policy to protect environment, the lawns would no longer be treated with pesticides and the foot of the trees would not be deweeded. See the result all over Paris
  • As of today, public housing represents more than 20% of dwelling units (>40% in North and East paris). To increase public housing in Paris, the regulation on the maximum number of floors has been released and more and more buildings now wear a vertical extension. See the picture.
 
under construction
"To protect environment and biodiversity", no more deweeding (this is in front of Paris City Hall) (credit)  

Traffic management

  • Hidalgo wants Paris to become the most bike-friendly city of the world.The city does eveything possible to make the use of a car as difficult and as expensive as possible. New bike lanes are build all over the city, protected by ugly concrete blocks.

 

  under consruction

Land use and architecture

  • To illustrate her mark on the city, the mayor has decided to re-design some of the main "places" (squares) of Paris with up-to-date equipment (benches, newstands, etc). The result is a total disaster.

 

 
under construction
This in NOT a railway sleeper, this is one of the new benches on the main squares of Paris (here in front of the city hall) (credit)  

What is a Mayor in France ?

 

 
  • In France, the Mayor has much more power than in the US and he/she is the most popular figure of French political life.
  • The Mayor of Paris is, by definition, a very influent political personnality and the kings feared him : this is why, between the French Revolution (1789) and the Commune (1871) the positions was suppressed several times. (read more about French revolutions). Since 1871, Paris was the only city in France which did not have a "mayor" but a president of a municipal council with little power : the real power was in the hands of the Préfet de Police, apointed by the Government.
  • The function was re-established i 1977 and the first to occupy it was Jacques Chirac, who became president of France in 1995. This explains why a mayor of Paris may consider running for president.
 
To related pages : more unknown Paris (#1), Ugly Paris (#1), Paris notebook, historical landmarks, places you can avoid, etc...

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For more on intercultural differences, order Harriet Welty Rochefort's books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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