Corks at Place Olympe-de-Gouges – photo: Axel G

They promised hell to motorists. And they succeeded beyond all imagination. After having considerably reduced traffic in Paris – without public transport being improved – the Paris City Hall's “anti-car plan” is entering its final phase in Paris Center. Which radically changes the situation in the Marais.

Since the February 2023 holidays, several street segments have changed direction, starting with sections of rue des Archives and rue Vieille-du-Temple. According to the town hall, this is to prevent traffic on these two south-north and north-south axes in order to prevent the Marais from being used as a transit point by non-Maraisian motorists.

In practice, this new plan has a strong impact on Marais motorists. Going home by car is a gymkhana, like Jacques Tati returning to his house in the film Monsieur Hulot's Holidays (1953) along a convoluted route.

Example: to reach the Picasso Museum (3rd) from the Town Hall (4th), cars must now enter Rue des Archives from the BHV (as before), then quickly turn left into the street Saint-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie; turn right into rue du Temple towards the north, then right again into rue Rambuteau before taking rue des Archives towards the north to rue de Bretagne; then take the latter before going back down towards the Picasso museum via rue de Turenne.

Result: a distance traveled twice as long as the pre-existing journey (rue des Archives, rue de Franc-Bourgeois, rue Elzévir), not to mention the time spent in the car, which has at least doubled.

Questioned by Le Marais Mood at the start of the year, the mayor of Paris Center Ariel Weil explained: “There will be no pedestrianization strictly speaking. On the other hand, we are going to eliminate the windfall effects of small through streets, whose layouts date back to the Middle Ages, such as Rue Vieille-du-Temple or Rue des Archives, and where traffic continues to be intense. Certain segments of these streets will be restricted. But only for cars; not for buses and taxis. »

He continued: “Residents and delivery people will sometimes have to make small detours to reach certain places. But as traffic will be generally more fluid, it will not be very inconvenient for local residents who, by definition, know the area. »

And concludes: “It will take less time to go around the block than to go straight today, because there will be less traffic. Rest assured that we always keep the problems of local residents in mind. We have also created a residents' card which allows residents of the Marais to access rue de Rivoli. »

Bouchons rue Michel le Comte – photo: Nour Helal

Taking him at his word, local residents launched a petition on It is entitled “Pedestrianization of the Marais: same rights for residents and priority vehicles. » The petitioners are calling for an adaptation of the Limited Traffic Zone (the famous ZTL, in town hall jargon) in measured and reasonable terms.

They explain: “We adhere to a policy which aims to limit vehicular traffic, cars and motorbikes, to reduce congestion, air pollution and noise. We share the town hall's desire to discourage transit traffic which crosses Paris from south to north and from east to west. The neighborhood councils opposed it twice in the form of a resolution of which we received a copy. They demand, as Anne Hidalgo committed to in her campaign promises, that residents benefit from the same traffic authorizations as buses and taxis. »

This proposal seems reasonable. This solution would ensure that Marais resident motorists (there are quite few of them) do not congest the neighborhood by traveling longer distances during longer travel times.

Streets that change direction (on certain sections):

▼ Phase 1: January-February 2023
– Rue de Turenne
– Rue Vieille du temple
– Rues des Archives/White coats

▼ Phase 2: March-April 2023
– Rue du Temple
– Rues Charlot (south) /Quatre fils
– Rue Charlot (north)

▼ Phase 3: summer 2023
– Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth
– Paved Streets/Malher
– Rues Beautreillis/de la Cerisaie
– Rue Mornay
– Rue Tiron
– Rue Fauconnier/du Figuier
– Rue Saint-Louis on the island

Rue Beaubourg – photo: Nour Helal

Text: Axel G


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