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Olympic Games 2024: Paris and its neighbors reclaiming the Seine

The Barcelona Olympic Games, whose 30th anniversary is being celebrated this year, have reconciled the Catalan metropolis with the sea. The 2024 edition must seal the reunion of Paris and Greater Paris with the Seine. This is at least the ambition displayed by the organizing teams, the elected officials of the capital and those of Seine-Saint-Denis, who intend to derive maximum benefit from the event for their inhabitants.

The concept of the opening ceremony sets the tone. For the first time, the athletes will not parade in a stadium, but in the city, in this case on the river, between the Austerlitz bridge and the Eiffel Tower. But the story of this “reconquest” announced, which takes on its full dimension at a time when towns are seeking by all means to cool their summers, began to be written when the site of the Olympic Village was chosen. Plaine Commune (Seine-Saint-Denis) had a number of advantages, “but the presence of the Seine thrilled everyone”remembers Patricia Pelloux, deputy director of the Parisian Urbanism Workshop (APUR).

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For the architect Dominique Perrault, responsible for designing this future piece of town (6,000 inhabitants in the long term, as many employees), it was an opportunity to reconnect Saint-Ouen and Saint-Denis to this river to which they were turning their backs for decades. The presence of factories placed there in the last century made any access to the banks impossible. Mail Finot, the main artery, is designed as a gently sloping promenade that leads to the water from the metro. The alley of the Seine, the parallel to the north lined with plane trees, makes the link with the Pleyel crossroads.

“We return to the fundamentals of Ile-de-France: the castles of the Seine and Marne valleys – Champs-sur-Marne, Saint-Germain, Saint-Cloud – all have a system of terraces facing the landscape », commented Henri Specht, project manager for the Olympic facilities delivery company (Solideo).

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During the competition, the platforms will be pedestrianized. After the departure of the athletes, it will not yet be a guinguette atmosphere like in Paris or Lyon, where the tracks have been returned to walkers. The departmental will however be reduced to two lanes and bordered by a cycle path.

The Seine returned to swimming

The elected officials of Plaine Commune plead for these developments to extend to Clichy, to the south, and Epinay, to the north. Not an easy task in view of the administrative millefeuille that is this route. “We had put a lot of things in the water (pontoons, etc.). Nobody really wears them anymore, notes Guillaume Hébert, co-founder of the consulting firm Une fabrique de la ville. But the installation of dolphins for barges makes possible the permanent mooring of bars and restaurants”.

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