72m makeover will create mile-long stretch of pools, fountains and parks
A garden stretches for a mile, free of cars with one of the worlds most recognisable monuments at its centre. Crossing the river on a tree-lined and lawned bridge, the roar of traffic has been replaced by the sound of water from fountains.
Such is the vision for the Eiffel Tower, which is at the centre of a major makeover project to transform one of Pariss most visited districts.
At the heart of the revamp is a pedestrian-friendly plan to create the citys largest garden. The landscape design, drawn up by a London-based company, will also turn a nearby bridge, the Pont dIna, into a grassy, tree-lined walkway linking riverside gardens either side of the Seine with pools, fountains and mini-parks.
The first stage of the project, financed by the company that operates the Eiffel Tower, should be completed by 2024 in time for the Olympics.
It is the latest element in a concerted campaign led by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, to reduce the number of vehicles in the French capital. Hidalgo, who faces re-election in 2020, has already closed long stretches of both riverside highways to vehicles. She has also revamped seven of the citys major squares, restricting roads and giving more space to pedestrians, cyclists and scooters. She says she wants Paris to become a city where you can let go of your childs hand.
Were really aiming for a high pedestrian target. Were going to have a splendid garden where we can hear the birds sing, she said when she announced the Eiffel Tower project last month. Its a place that will become a space for walking, strolling and breathing Nature will take its place once more alongside this exceptional heritage.
Mary Bowman, of Gustafson Porter + Bowman, which won a competition to redesign the area around the Eiffel Tower, said the aim was to unify the site from the Trocadro to the cole Militaire via the Palais de Chaillot, the Pont dIna and the Champ de Mars to create a biodiverse corridor.
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