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Les Berges: the removal of the Left Bank espressway in Paris

Les Berges: the removal of the Left Bank espressway in Paris

Jun 23rd, 2013, 09:25 PM
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Les Berges: the removal of the Left Bank espressway in Paris

Although the project was delayed for political reasons, it only took 5 months (and 75 million euros) to transform the Left Bank expressway into a new promenade for Parisians.

It just opened on June 19th, so people are still discovering it for the first time. In spite of the iffy weather, I went there yesterday and took a number of pictures to show what it looks like: http://tinyurl.com/berges
kerouac is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 11:09 PM
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Thanks for this report! I saw it on a blog (Out and About in Paris), and it looks great. I can't wait to see it when I'm there in Oct!

swandav2000 is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 03:08 AM
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great photos
bilboburgler is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 04:40 AM
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As always, excellent photos. Sadly, same weather we have had for 6+ months.

Reminds me of a similar project in Boston to demolish the hideous Central Artery.

Massive costs and problems with the "Big Dig" but the greenway was a fantastic outcome:

Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 06:00 AM
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I wonder where they got the idea;


As always, where Lyon leads, Paris follows...

And I'm only semi-joking.

I can't say I'm a big fan of the 'picnic boxes' as they'd be a bit too much like being in fishbowl for me, but other than that, it looks great.

The only sad thing about this is that I'll never again be able to recreate (in my head at least) the car chase from Ronin;

Jay_G is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 06:07 AM
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Did I miss it, or can you give me an approximately location and length of this? Is (was) this the road that runs past the d'Orsay etc.?

Your pictures are excellent and really show how innovative this is. Most city parks would be lucky to have a fraction of whimsy and services demonstrated throughout this thing.
Bitter is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 06:27 AM
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It runs from the Orsay to the Pont de l'Alma -- 2.3 kilometers.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 06:44 AM
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I think it is beautifully inventive in the way that only Paris can be. Look forward to strolling along it in September.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 06:50 AM
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Another interesting walk to look forward to. Great photos even in the rain.

A comment on the weather....
Looks like terrible weather in Paris. When we were there in Sept.'12 it rained the whole time---just the opposite of Sept.'11 when it was hot & sunny for our 10 days.
During our Sept. visits since '01 all have been decent weather except '12, with '11 being the best.
Rain or shine, Paris is still the place I want to be.

The weather in the US has been just as bad for quite a while now. Global warming????

I liked seeing the comparison with the youtube video.
TPAYT is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 06:51 AM
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Not wanting to flog a dead horse, or take a lead from your name Bitter, but it's really not all that innovative.

Lyon has had something very, very similar in place since 2007, right down to some of the same street furniture (maybe France buys those wooden recliners in bulk), stretches of wild flowers mixed with more structured gardens and almost identical 'things' (not sure what to call them) in the various playgrounds along its route.

I suppose the major differences are that in Lyon, Les Berges (du Rhone) are over twice as long as the area transformed in Paris, you're free to picnic and (gods be praised) smoke wherever you like and the barges moored along its route are bars and restaurants that are open to the public, rather than being private.

It certainly looks good, in that way that many public parks in France do, but innovative, it ain't...
Jay_G is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 06:55 AM
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Great to read about. What are the blue wild (?) flowers, please. So pretty.
TDudette is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 07:08 AM
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Did they reroute the expressway or simply do away with it? Has it affected traffic patterns?
Nikki is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 08:34 AM
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Jay_G, for me the main innovation is closing down the expressway. If the subjets is the creation of riverfront walks, I don't think the Paris waited for Lyon or any other city to create the walks along almost the entire length of the Seine and also the Canal Saint Martin, Bassin de la Villette and Canal de l'Ourcq -- all of which have restaurant and café barges and are totally open to picnicking.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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Great photos! Thanks for sharing these.
Bellarosa70032 is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 09:02 AM
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Little details indeed! I love this. Thanks for posting.
YankyGal is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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Kerouac - didn't mean to touch a nerve.

I didn't suggest that riverside walks had been invented in Lyon, or that they had never existed elsewhere, it's just that the similarities between this development and the one in Lyon are numerous, both in style and scope.

I wasn't denigrating it or saying anything bad about it, merely that a (very) similar development already exists in France. I know lots of people on here suffer from Paris Syndrome but never had you pegged as one.

As someone who takes great pleasure in the idiosyncratic and off the beaten path gems (much to the benefit of this board I might add) I would have thought that you would have been at least interested to know of the similar development in Lyon. I guess I was wrong.
Jay_G is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 01:52 PM
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Yes, Lyon has been extremely innovative in many of the things that it does. You could start a thread about Lyon to tell us about them.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 02:16 PM
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Like so many of your reports, your photos and comments are an excellent documentation of current Paris. Apart from their value for all of us who love the city and try to visit as often as possible, they have a true value as historic documentation of a moment in time in one of the world's great cities. I would hope that someone in a position to do so would be interested in archiving many of your reports for the city. I'm sure many people for years to come would find them valuable. You are a talented observer and your observations are so perceptive.

Like Nikki, I'm interested in the effect on traffic with this expressway gone. (Not sure why, since I don't drive in Paris, but just curious.)
MaineGG is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 03:12 PM
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The city claims that the removal of this little piece of expressway adds only 7 minutes to travel time to crosstown vehicle traffic. Naturally, opponents contest this. I am certainly in no position to decide, but I think that traffic on the upper quay in no worse than it was before.

In any case, traffic has dropped 25% in Paris in the last 10 years for various reasons, and one of the reasons is because more people have been convinced to use public transportation or things like Vélib.
kerouac is online now  

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