Our Future Paris
Parler Paris–your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday, May 9, 2005
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
The oldest tree in Paris is propped up by a slab of concrete and stands in the center of the Square Vivani in front of Eglise Saint Julien le Pauvre in the 5th arrondissement. Dating back to 1602, the “Robinia pseudacacia” was brought from Virginia to Europe and planted there by herbalist to King Henri IV and director of the nearby Jardin des Plantes, Jean Robin.
From this vantage point, with Notre Dame looming up in the background, one can sense an even more profound history of the city — long before Baron Haussmann bulldozed what stood in the way of his grand plans.
What was so intriguing about the three-hour-plus walk ten of us took on Saturday with Leonard Pitt to discover a “Paris Disparu,” are the questions that remain in our minds: If Haussmann hadn’t left his mark, then who would have? And what would Paris look like today?
One thing of particular note when looking at the photos of the city taken before the turn of the 20th-century, is the evident lack of greenery. Barely a tree stood along the cobblestoned streets and blackened stone buildings. Perhaps the tree at Square Vivani was one of only a handful! Life seemed poor, dark and dismal.
In today’s Paris, along the grand boulevards with their symmetrical, straight-lined Haussmannian “pierre-de-taille” buildings, the trees stand tall, well tended, springing with life and blocking the view of the buildings all spring and summer long. While so much of Paris dating before the 19th-century is gone, never to be discovered again, replaced by 21st-century icons such as Starbucks, the Centre Georges Pompidou and La Défense, is that all so bad? What would have been the alternative?
I’m thankful to lawmakers such as André Malraux and the civil-minded folks who saved Le Marais and the 17th-century building I now live in and I’m thankful to the gardeners who keep the oldest tree in Paris alive and standing tall.
We wrestle with the question of progress, good or bad? And we know that it’s impossible to stop, but only to give proper direction. From what I can tell, the city leaders, such as Mayor Bertrand Delanoë and progressive district mayors such as Pierre Aidenbaum of the 3rd, are taking to heart the programs they administer and how it affects our future…our future Paris.
For that, I am thankful.
A la prochaine…
P.S. If you are as fascinated by the future of the city as you are of its past, then stay tuned in by visiting the city site at http://www.paris.fr/. Plus, we write regularly about what you can expect of Paris and Paris the future of your Paris property investments in French Property Insider. Click here to learn more.
g> A few special announcements:
g> A few special announcements:
*** Don’t miss tomorrow’s coffee gathering, Parler Paris Après Midi, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais. For details, visit Après Midi
* Great meals in Paris don’t have to be expensive. Parisians do it every day and Adrian Leeds tells how to pay less, eat better, enjoy Paris more. Learn how.
* Many people don’t have the time nor the resources to look for their own little piece of France. Let us make your dream to live in France come true.
The Ultimate Travel Photographer’s Workshop
* Property E-Zine: French Property Insider
Learn how to buy property in France. French Property Insider is an e-mail newsletter from the editors of Parler Paris. If you’d like to learn about the insights, recommendations, and discoveries about buying and investing in real estate in Paris and France that French Property Insider readers get every week, read more about a subscription here:
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Our Future Paris
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