As if Paris couldn’t get any better: On Tuesday, the city announced it would soon get a new, more than 100-acre park at the base of the Eiffel Tower. London-based landscape architects Gustafson Porter + Bowman, who were selected by the city from a pool of 43 applicants to lead a major revamp of the site, said their pitch was based around the site’s potential.
“I was horrified by the state of the spaces in that they are not adequately equipped to accommodate the influx of pedestrians and visitors. We must entirely rethink this space,” Gustafson Porter + Bowman founding partner Kathryn Gustafson told Paris-based newspaper Le Parisien.
The firm’s plans for the new park are ambitious: With the Eiffel Tower at its center, the park will be a mile-long line that connects the Place du Trocadéro, the Palais de Chaillot, the Pont d’Iéna, the Champ de Mars, and the Ecole Militaire, according to a press release. Place du Trocadéro will get a new green amphitheater, and the gardens of Champ de Mars—the sprawling park from which the Eiffel Tower currently rises—will also get a makeover, with two new squares and raised lawns. Space directly under the tower itself will also be revamped, with more ticket offices, food and beverage kiosks, luggage drop-off facilities, and information booths “sunken” behind surrounding lawns to avoid interfering with the aesthetics of the architectural marvel, which Gustave Eiffel designed as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair. Perhaps most importantly, all of these spaces will be made more pedestrian friendly: the Pont d’Iéna bridge, which currently connects the right and left banks and provides the main access to the Eiffel Tower, will instead be planted with trees and made into a car-free space.
The first stage of the project is slated for completion in 2023, ahead of Paris’s turn as host of the 2024 Summer Olympics. The timing is hardly surprising: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been vocal about ramping up the city’s green spaces and sustainability ahead of the event, noting that the Olympics will be at the “forefront of environmental stewardship.”
Each year, some seven million people visit the Eiffel Tower, making it one of the most visited monuments in the world. That’s nothing but good news for the city, which plans to finance the new park with money from ticket sales. Paris, here we come.
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