Francophiles and flâneurs, rejoice: Paris’s famed Champs-Élysées is set to undergo a €250 million (roughly US$305 million) makeover that will transform the 1.2-mile-long stretch into a green pedestrian-friendly area in the city center.
The historic avenue, which dates back to 17th-century France, will be transformed into an “extraordinary garden” that extends between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche on January 10. The redevelopment, designed by French architecture studio PCA-stream, will see the avenue with fewer car lanes and more pedestrian spaces, along with newly planted greenery to improve air quality in the area.
The vision for the redesign of the Champs-Élysées aims to reduce “nuisances” such as car traffic, noise, and pollution and improve “comfort[s]” like air quality and pedestrian spaces, according to a PCA-stream press release. Overall, the number of vehicles in the area will be reduced by half. “Flâneurs will be able to stroll up and down the historic boulevard in an atmosphere greatly improved by the reduction in motor traffic,” the architecture firm’s statement reads.
Food and drink options, entertainment, and recreation programs will also be installed throughout the gardens, including playgrounds for children and communal areas that will offer spaces for pedestrians to rest and gather.
This pedestrian-forward redesign has been a long time coming: The Comité Champs-Élysées, an organization of local business leaders, first campaigned for a major redesign of the avenue and its surroundings in 2018. The first stage of the project—renovating the Place de la Concorde at the southeast end of the avenue—is slated for completion in 2023, just ahead of Paris’s turn as host of the 2024 Summer Olympics. The aim is to transform the entire Champs-Élysées by 2030.
The overhaul of the Champs-Élysées is one of several high-profile projects intended to transform the city “before and after 2024,” Hidalgo told Le Journal du Dimanche. This push to ramp up the city’s green spaces contributes to Paris’s goal to become a carbon neutral city by 2050.