A new lane for lovers

A new lane for lovers

In the 1960s Paris was at the height of its infatuation with the automobile. So much so that Prime Minister at the time, Georges Pompidou, had dual carriageways constructed alongside both banks of the River Seine so that Hermes-clad motorists could have easy access to the city, while enjoying the view from behind the wheel of a pale-blue Panhard or a red Renault.

Fifty years on, the love affair has subsided, as more people opt to minimise their carbon footprint with alternative modes of transport, not least the good old bicycle. In keeping with the times, the city has decided to do away with sections of the riverside highway, and introduce pedestrian walkways and cycle paths along each side of the riverbank.

The real chef-d’?uvre will be unveiled in spring next year, with the transformation of a two-and-a-half kilometre stretch along the Rive Gauche between the Musee d’Orsay and the Pont de L’Alma. This will become an entire waterfront park, complete with restaurants, sports courts, and there’s even talk of floating botanical gardens.

Before then, in September 2012, work will begin on the Rive Droite. The riverside expressway Voie Georges-Pompidou is transformed every summer into a seaside resort, complete with sand, parasols and palm trees, but this time the transformation will be permanent, as the former road will become a pedestrianised boulevard, lined with new bars and cafes. New bike lanes will also be created, and more pedestrian crossings will provide easier and safer access to the riverside footpaths – still one of the world’s most romantic places to stroll arm-in-arm, and one of the most-filmed locations in the history of cinema.

To find out more about Paris visit http://en.parisinfo.com

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