Paris 2024: Greener Olympics?

The postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have only drawn to a close a few months ago, but Anne Hidalgo’s sights have, for many years prior, been firmly set on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Aiming to host the most environmentally sustainable Olympics in history, the Parisian mayor has extremely ambitious plans in order to make the French capital as sustainable as possible, in time for it to be judged on the world stage.

Paris 2024: Greener Olympics -

Olympics green/er in Paris: overly optomistic?

The wider environmental aim is for the 2024 Paris Olympics to be the first Games to be aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement which came into force in November 2016.

This means that the Games will, in theory, see a 55% decrease in the carbon footprint compared with the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Hidalgo aims to achieve this by creating swimming areas in the Seine, doubling the number of cycle lanes which would allow a greater number of spectators to use clean transportation, creating new sites of biodiversity in the northern department of Seine-Saint-Denis, and using 100% green energy during the Games.

But perhaps the most ambitious initiative on Hidalgo’s agenda is to radically reduce the number of motor vehicles in the Paris Area. Hidalgo has pledged to reduced carbon emissions by 75% by 2050. By 2020, high-polluting cars will be banned altogether, and huge swathes of the Paris Region will be pedestrianised, creating more tranquil spaces and a radically reduced level of air pollution.

Will Paris be recognisable? What of the famous landmarks…

One of the streets which is being specifically targeted in Hidalgo’s agenda is the distinguished avenue of the Champs Élysées. Renowned for being one of the most beautiful and recognisable streets in the world, multiple grèves, gilets jaunes demonstrations, and military parades have somewhat compromised the street’s Parisian splendour. Pre-pandemic, the eight-lane avenue saw more than 3 000 vehicles pass through every hour, hence Hidalgo plans to turn the 1.9km stretch into a bucolic setting, creating a walkway of trees, albeit this will not be completed before the city hosts the Olympics.

Champs Élysées

Translated literally as the Elysian Fields, the Champs Élysées, under the reign of Louis XIV, was largely fields and kitchen gardens, hence the renovations will somewhat restore the natural quintessence for which the street was once known. At an estimated cost of 250 million euros, Hidalgo is not holding back.

Eiffel Tower

Another area that is in need of an ecological revamp is the Eiffel Tower area. Hidalgo plans to transform the heart of the seventh arrondissement into an elegant garden, free from traffic and lined with trees and picturesque fountains, culminating in one of the world’s most recognisable and admired monuments. Parts of these renovations should be completed in time for the Games, which will undoubtedly contribute to Paris’s reputation as one of the leading cities of environmental prowess.

Paris 2024: Greener Olympics -

Ambition meets collaboration

Hidalgo’s plans are ambitious – there’s no doubt.

But if she executes them within the suggested time frame, Paris could pave the way for environmental change.

Ultimately, controlling climate change will be a collaborative effort and not one which Paris can take on alone. With Cop26 just days away, it is clear that this is the last chance to avoid the climate catastrophe. Hidalgo’s efforts are admirable, but whilst the 2024 Olympics shine the spotlight on Paris, the Paris Climate Agreement is an international treaty, not a national one.

What are your thoughts on the plans and ambitions of the Paris Olympics 2024? Please share your views in the comments below.

Image credits:
Both images all rights reserved  ©Paris 2024

About the Contributor

Claudia Jacob

I’ve just graduated from Durham University with an undergraduate degree in French and Spanish and next year, I’ll be completing my postgraduate degree in Newspaper Journalism at City University, London. I fell in love with Francophone culture, food, and literature during my year abroad, when I spent 6 months living in Paris.

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  1. Helen McKennna Oct 18, 2021 at 8:37 PM - Reply

    Greenpeace has activated the French court to order the state to honour its commitments on climate change, with environmental organisations bringing the case to the court. A shame they had force the govt to take faster action against global warming.

  2. Judy MacMahon Oct 23, 2021 at 6:33 PM - Reply

    Comment copied over from the MyFrenchLife Closed group:
    Why am I doing this? Well, I think that this topic deserves debate here so that the author can respond. and so that we can interact with each other…
    1. Comment from Terry Cagle:
    There is great resistance to the plans for the Champs de Mars. Here is a story from Le Parisien.

  3. Judy MacMahon Oct 23, 2021 at 6:35 PM - Reply

    2. Comment from Harriet Welty Rochefort
    Cannot bear what she has done to Paris with her Olympic Game plans to change the city. Overflowing trash cans, rats in city parks, incomprehensible bike lanes, weeds instead of well-tended greenery, the list goes on and on. If you want to see pictures of the Paris we are talking about, go to the Facebook Page Parisiens en Colère Sauvons Notre Paris. You will then see what is behind the official discourse – and it ain’t pretty!

    …The Parisiens En Colère Facebook page tells the raw truth about the results of Hidalgo’s moves. Some of her ideas – lessening of pollution, more greenery – are good in theory but not in practice. That is because, in my opinion, she doesn’t consult anyone and she throws out ideas without thinking them through. I am truly sad about the effect all this has on Paris which is suffering greatly. And all those who live here suffer as well. I know that when people are far away and either have never come to Paris or come very rarely find it hard to imagine and probably not very nice to hear “bad” things about a wonderful place but I also think that they should be aware of what is going on. Check out the page to see what I am talking about. Parisians are enraged!

  4. Judy MacMahon Oct 23, 2021 at 6:37 PM - Reply

    3. Jane Satow
    Gréât article! Love her plans for Paris! amazing

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