Transforming the area around the Eiffel Tower into a green pathway, free from cars, may seem appealing, but Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is facing resistance from both residents and the police force in her efforts to enhance one of the city’s iconic views.
The proposal envisions removing cars and establishing a continuous garden between the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero esplanade. Tourists typically flock to Trocadero to capture the picturesque view of the Eiffel Tower from across the River Seine, but the journey to Trocadero involves navigating two major intersections and the often congested Pont d’Iena bridge.
Despite Mayor Hidalgo’s announcement this week of plans to proceed with the project after the 2024 Summer Olympics, critics, particularly the Paris police chief, remain opposed to the idea. The initiative aligns with Hidalgo’s broader strategy to reduce car usage in Paris and promote environmental sustainability, a move that has sparked division among residents and political opponents who argue that her policies go too far.
Hidalgo had initially launched the Trocadero project in 2019, encountering opposition from the city’s former police chief and right-wing mayors of three districts over concerns about traffic disruptions. However, she is leveraging the Olympic Games fervor to garner support for the ambitious plan.
The proposed transformation includes a “green” Trocadero, a “pedestrian-friendly” Iena bridge, and a “reforested” Champ-de-Mars, creating a substantial park in the heart of Paris. Supporters commend Hidalgo’s efforts to reduce pollution and increase green spaces in the densely populated city.
Despite facing rejection by an administrative court in 2022 and 2023, Hidalgo has submitted a modified plan to the police authorities, hoping for a new opportunity amid Olympic preparations. However, the opposition, including Culture Minister Rachida Dati and Paris police chief Laurent Nunez, persists, expressing concerns about potential traffic disruptions and hold-ups affecting emergency services.
The Eiffel Tower, drawing 6.3 million tourists last year, is one of the world’s most popular monuments. With 15 million visitors expected for the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics, the debate over the proposed changes to the iconic view continues.