Paris mayor underfire as culture guru flees 'violent and dirty' city

Paris mayor underfire as culture guru flees 'violent and dirty' city

11/15/2021

‘Paris is a rubbish bin’: Macron’s culture guru flees city for countryside saying it has become ‘violent and dirty’ under socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo as anger builds over £600m skyscraper likened to a ‘giant piece of brie’

  • Stéphane Bern blasted Paris, saying it has become ugly, violent and dirty
  • Left-wing mayor Anne Hidalgo has overseen unpopular ‘green’ reforms 
  • She also pushed through plans for controversial 42-storey skyscraper

One of France’s most well-known culture experts is leaving Paris for the countryside, saying the capital has become a ‘rubbish bin’ under the leadership of its socialist mayor.

Stéphane Bern, 58, who was hired by Emmanuel Macron as a cultural adviser, bemoaned how Paris is now a hotbed of violence and ugliness after a series of unpopular reforms by Anne Hidalgo.

The left-wing mayor has overseen a series of sweeping reforms to make the city ‘greener’ including concrete cycle lanes, plans to turn the Champs-Elysées into a garden, and the removal of traditional 19th century benches because they are ‘sexist’, all while failing to clean up the streets.

Hidalgo, who is running for president next year, has also attracted ire for pushing through plans for a controversial new £600million glass skyscraper likened to a ‘giant piece of brie’ that critics say will ruin the Paris skyline.

Bern, a journalist and TV presenter, has now vowed to move from his flat in Pigalle, a Paris neighbourhood known for its nightlife and home to the Moulin Rouge, to Perche in northern France.

Construction is due to start on a controversial new £600million glass skyscraper likened to a ‘giant piece of brie’ (pictured)

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is under fire for overseeing a decline in the capital according to her critics

The left-wing mayor has overseen a series of sweeping reforms to make the city ‘greener’ including concrete cycle lanes

Stéphane Bern (pictured), 58, who was hired by Emmanuel Macron as a cultural adviser, bemoaned how Paris is now a hotbed of violence and ugliness

Hidalgo, who is running for president next year, has also attracted ire for pushing through plans for a controversial new £600million glass skyscraper

Bern said: ‘Where has the City of Lights gone?’

‘I still marvel at the beauty but I deplore that it is letting itself go to a certain extent, and even growing uglier in general. 

‘Paris has become a rubbish bin where people throw anything away, anywhere and any old how.’ 

Bern will be moving to a disused military school that he purchased in 2013 when he vacates the capital.

His comments have renewed debate about the state of Paris as critics say the City of Love has started to lose its lustre.

Hidalgo has pushed for many pro-cycling measures including controversial new lanes last year which are separated from the roads by giant concrete blocks, which have been branded an eyesore.

Bern’s comments have renewed debate about the state of Paris which some say is quickly losing its status as the City of Love

Hidalgo has pushed for many pro-cycling measures including controversial new lanes last year

Bern will be moving to a disused military school that he purchased in 2013 when he vacates the capital

She also introduced large plastic flower pots across the city in a bid to allow locals to tend the flowerbeds, but many have been left unkempt and overgrown.

The mayor is currently facing a backlash over the proposed Triangle Tour glass skyscraper which is set to be built this year.

Plans for the tower, unfavourably compared to The Shard, were first approved more than a decade ago but legal wrangling from activists, environmentalists and architects has pushed back construction.

The 42-storey building is designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and will include office spaces and a four-star hotel.

Art historian Didier Rykner blasted the project as a ‘big piece of brie in the sky that can be seen from everywhere’ while French news outlet Télérama said the building is an ‘outdated, ecologically absurd project being built out of place’.

A court overturned previous rulings this month to grant planning permission but opponents are still hoping for a last ditched attempt to derail it.

The mayor is currently facing a backlash over the proposed Triangle Tour glass skyscraper which is set to be built this year

The 42-storey building is designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and will include office spaces and a four-star hotel

Philippe Goujon, the conservative mayor of the 15th arrondissement where the building will be located, will formally ask for it to be postponed at a city council meeting this week.

Prosecutors are also investigating alleged ‘favouritism’ by Hidalgo’s office towards Viparis, the company that manages the construction site.

She and other backers say the tower will generate more than 5,000 jobs and be a major asset for Paris.

But others say the city already has 1.5million square metres of empty office space and its irregular shape would make it vastly less energy efficient. 

Separately, one of Hidalgo’s most unpopular moves was the removal of Paris’s traditional wooden and wrought-iron benches which had been designed by Gabriel Davioud in the late 19th century.

Hidalgo and feminists say they are mainly used by men and women are scared to use them out of fear of being harassed.

Bern bemoaned how Paris is now a hotbed of violence and ugliness after a series of unpopular reforms by Hidalgo

One of Hidalgo’s most unpopular moves was the removal of Paris’s traditional wooden and wrought-iron benches

She replaced them with deconstructed benches, which resemble long tables and slabs of concrete, to encourage women to sit together, but Bern blasted them as ‘frightful’.

He said he was horrified by the ‘dirtiness, the holes in the road, the permanent building sites, the noise and especially the violence’ in the capital.

He added: ‘You should hear how people talk to each other. Traffic is an incredible source of tension. Cars against pedestrians, scooters against bicycles, scooters against cars… this war of wheels is intolerable.’

Bern previously worked under Macron and remains close to the President, having been tasked with preserving French heritage in the culture ministry.

He has been influential with setting up a heritage lottery similar to the one in Britain and he previously presented a number of acclaimed documentaries about French royalty.

Source: Read Full Article