The Paris Police Headquarters has given a few more details about the living and traffic conditions in Paris during next summer’s Olympic Games. And it still looks quite complicated. Beyond the security perimeters around the competition venues where you will need to show identification to drive in, several very important axes of the capital will be penalized from spring and sometimes until September. In the streets of central Paris, residents and shopkeepers are expecting the worst and are finding it hard to see the positive.
“I’m freaking out”
Luc, a neighbor of the Seine, is feeling this way. He lives between the quays and Odéon, right in the blue zone around the opening ceremony. “It’s freaking me out,” this Parisian reacts. “We already have enough QR Codes in our lives, now we have to show one to drive our car to the garage.” The authorities have unveiled all the modalities for entering the restricted traffic zones, but this thirty-something has many questions. “And the buses? Will I be able to go to work?” he wonders. Yes, buses will be able to enter the restricted zones, but “it will inevitably cause huge traffic jams,” Luc predicts.
But above all, it is the construction and dismantling of the ephemeral Olympic installations that make the residents fear the worst. A florist on the Île de la Cité had not noted this information: Place de la Concorde will be fully closed from 1st June, several bridges over the Seine will be closed to cars from early July. “It’s already not easy to get around, it’s going to be even worse. Either it will be very smooth because no one will take their car, or it will be a mess and we will be stuck in traffic all the time.” But the merchant keeps on smiling, “we will endure, we have no choice.”
The charm of the Parisian summer spoiled
Luc is fixated on the closure of the lower quays from June until at least August, the time it takes to dismantle the VIP stands and installations of the opening ceremony show. “Does this mean we won’t be able to go for a walk, stroll, have an aperitif?” It’s the whole charm of the Parisian summer that is evaporating and all the interest of living in central Paris that is spoiled. “I love summer in Paris for that, honestly, with my partner we are wondering, we might take our vacation specifically during the Olympics to leave Paris. It doesn’t make you want to stay in Paris at all next summer,” concludes the Parisian, echoing the sentiments of many other residents.