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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Place de la Republique

On my bicycle tour around Paris, I am pretty sure we peddled around the Place de la Republique. I was really trying not to get run over or hit a pedestrian.  Heather Stimmler-Hall points out in her "Secrets of Paris" Newsletter that the large and noisy Place de la Republique hasnever been a place to linger. It’s a nightmare for pedestrians, a confusingintersection for drivers, and usually full of protest marchers at the foot ofthe Statue de la République or drunks passed out on the patches of grass at thecenter. But you may want to take one last peek (and a “before” photo) before amajor facelift project gets underway this winter to modernize this square whichhasn’t changed since 1883. Strategically located at the cross roads of the 3rd,10th, and 11th arrondissements, in January 2012 the square and its surroundingstreets will be ripped up and replaced with a pedestrian esplanade of over 2hectares (about 5 acres), a tree-lined square set up for public events likeconcerts, and rerouting of the street traffic around one side (instead of allaround). This should make the square more welcoming for cyclists, publictransportation users, and pedestrians. It will supposedly be done by Spring2013. I think the proposed "facelift" will be spectacular and on my next visit to Paris, I will definitely make a point to check it out.