Paris Journal 2005

Wednesday, June 1, 2005           <Previous           Next>

Sign my guestbook. View my guestbook.


Some scenes from our 3 hour walk yesterday:


Fuzzy Deutzia growing in the Gardens of the Trocadero


Statue in the renovated Parvis des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertes (Rights of Man and Freedom)


View from the Parvis above, at the Trocadero, looking over the Champs de Mar.  The colored letters on the Eiffel Tower say “Paris 2012 – ville candidate,” referring to Paris’s campaign to be the host city for the 2012 Olympics.  The Ecole Militare is the building framed by the arch, at the end of the Champ.



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There sure were a lot of glum looking faces at La Gauloise last night.  It wasn’t because the food was bad.  This traditional resto on the avenue de la Motte Picquet is consistently good.  I think the reason for the subdued mood was the outcome of Tuesday’s elections.  I remember how I felt after the November 2000 elections.  These sad folks have my deepest empathy.


Now Chirac has replaced the affable Raffarin with the dead serious Villepan and he made his bitter political enemy Sarkozy the minister of state.  Will this convince the French people that now things will be better?  I doubt it.


Enough of that.  Parisians do have some other things to think about.  For example, the local government has released a new, draft “plan local d’urbanisme” for the citizens to comment upon.  It defines the rules for development/redevelopment in the city for the next 15 years.  The elected representatives will actually vote on the plan in early 2006, but now is the time for the people to have their say.  There are public input open houses at the town hall for each arrondissement scheduled through July 13.


The new plan is only 120 pages (without the appendices).  What is proposed is lower density, allowing for construction of only 3 square meters for every 1 square meter of  developed ground surface.  The construction of buildings taller than 37 meters would be forbidden.


There would be less space for cars.  This is the subject of violent debate between the Green Party and the Socialist Party.  The new regulation would require only one parking space for every 100 square meters of living space, instead of the current requirement for one place for every apartment.  (Many apartments are small studios.)


Every housing development larger than 1000 square meters would have to integrate 25 percent “logements sociaux,” which I take to mean below market rate housing.  The “defenseurs des mal-loges” (defenders of the poorly housed) say this quota is insufficient.


230 kilometers of neighborhood commercial streets would be protected under the new plan, which would forbid in certain cases the changing of businesses renting the street-level commercial units.


Some say the plan is too restrictive, others say it is too timorous. 


I now receive interesting web site activity reports so I can learn who reads these journals.  About 500 people all over the world read them every month! I really want to hear from you folks.  For example, there were two people, one in the Netherlands and someone else in Latin America, who were reading my Paris 2001 journal two days ago.  Why the 2001 journal?  Tell me.  People from New Jersey, Wyoming, Florida, North Carolina and California were also reading various Paris journals on my site that day.  Please do sign my guestbook and let me know your thoughts.  You can make it a private entry if you want to.  And if you are French, you can write to me in French.


Men gathered to play boules at the Esplanade des Invalides.


A Wallace fountain, with golden Chinese dragon in the background.  I think this was at the Place de Costa Rica, but don’t hold me to it.