Paris Journal 2005

Saturday, June 4, 2005           <Previous           Next>

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Some of the towers at Beaugrenelle don’t look too bad in this view from the Seine, a part of a photo I found at this cool site with Paris photos.  But there is a dark, dreary underside where these buildings cover streets and a scary, smelly, failed shopping center exists.


Behind this interesting but ugly fence is where I think there is a squash court that the neighbors would like to preserve, but the greedy developers would like to destroy.


Somehow a vet’s office survives in the dark, dreary underside of Beaugrenelle.  Check out this cute, clever logo on their sign.

My neighbors, protesting the developers plans for Beaugrenelle.  The protestors DO want Beaugrenelle to be renovated, but in a much more neighborhood-friendly fashion.

The protest took place directly beneath one of the project developer’s billboards.



You may write to the Committee at


Or, better yet, send a donation to them:

Comite de Defense Beaugrenelle – Front de Seine – Charles Michels, 70 rue Saint-Charles, 75015 Paris, FRANCE


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For some great photos of Paris, click here.


Humans have been present for over 5,000 years in the Beaugrenelle area of Paris, according to archaeological discoveries made in a quarry there in 1886.  But humans haven’t necessarily done their best with this area.  First of all, the city of Grenelle was an industrial town of about 20,000 people when it was annexed to Paris in the 1860s, as part of the 15th arrondissement.  I’m sure it wasn’t a pretty sight then.


Then in the Beaugrenelle area, from Place Charles Michels up to the Seine along rue Linois, some truly hideous buildings were built in the 1970s.  Don’t just take my word for it.  Here’s what Heather says on her web site at


News/Miracles: The New Beaugrenelle *
Another butt-ugly 70s building bites the dust! First the Forum des Halles, and now the Centre Beaugrenelle, that horrid commercial center over by the Pont de Grenelle in the 15th (if you’ve ever been over to see the Statue of Liberty on the Seine, it’s right there). Not only is the building itself ugly and creepy, but the shops inside – and there are only a few left – are the saddest things I’ve ever seen in this town. *shudder* Expect to see something new and fabu by 2008 (it takes time to undo mistakes of the disco era). If you want a sneak preview, go see the plans at info center/portable at 25 rue Linois, 15th or try and look at these “Before/After” pics on the official website (they are taken from very far away and don’t do the horrid interior any justice).


Okay, Heather is right.  The hugely ugly complex MUST be renovated.  But a lot of the neighbors think the real estate people and developers have become too greedy in their redevelopment plans.  They organized a protest today, and I went to it.


So, the Committee for the Defense of Beaugrenelle – Front de Seine – Charles Michels have organized.  There are about 230 of them, although only about 60 showed up for today’s protest.  They say it isn’t too late to fight against the project; it has not yet been authorized (permitted).


The greedy developers are going to kick the medical center, the C.3B. (whatever that is), and the Police station out of their quarters at Beaugrenelle.  Are they crazy?  Nobody mistreats the Police here.


Last February 7, the Conseil de Paris voted to authorize the SEMEA15 to sell all the property to the private investors.  The Committee’s flier says “This alienation of the public domain puts all the power in the hands of the project promoters.”  Yikes.  But the sale has not yet taken place.  The permits for demolition and construction haven’t been issued.  And the public comment period for the PLU (see entry for June 1) is going on.  The PLU evidently shows specific plans for each arrondissement, and so the public meetings on the PLU are arranged by and in each arrondissement.


So, the Committee has the perfect opportunity to work their objections into the public comment on the PLU for the 15th.  This is really exciting stuff for me.


The objectives of the Committee are:


-         opposing the project for the new commercial center at Beaugrenelle

-         evoking a counter-project for the rehabilitation of the center

-         fighting against the real estate speculation and increasing of rents and other charges

-         preserving and ameliorating the area’s below-market-rate housing, public facilities, sport facilities, transportation, and the environment

-         safeguarding and ameliorating the neighborhood’s way of life.


One of the Committee’s fliers states that the proposed project DOUBLES the commercial center.  Wow.  In an already very densely developed area, that is just too much.


My neighbors in Sanibel, Florida, will be able to empathize with all of this, I’m sure, given what we went through in our recent municipal election.


One large sign said, “Renovation, YES!  Speculation, NO!  The Residents of Beaugrenelle Against the Project of the Mega-Shopping Center.”