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The destruction of the Jardin des Éléphants

Posted by dlandgren on 2011-02-18

The Forum des Halles redevelopment project finally got around to sending in the bulldozers, the chainsaws and the jack-hammers to tear apart the Jardin Lalanne. In its place will be a glorious entrance to the underground shopping mall, thereby satisfying a long-standing complaint the tenants of the western wing have had with the owners. Due to the fact that there is no entrance on one side of the mall (apart from an emergency exit which is always locked), there is less foot traffic and so sales are lower. People are not consuming enough. This must be fixed.

So the garden got chopped. We demonstrated with the children a couple of years ago when the plans were made public, to try and save the garden. Hundreds attended the rallies but to no avail. The town planners had their way. It is true that the building surrounding the Forum are an eyesore, and no-one will shed a tear when they are demolished. But surely there could have been some alternative plan that would have retained the garden as it was. There’s certainly a soulless playground with next to the jardin that could have got the axe.

What is really sad is seeing what has replaced it, out in front of Saint Eustache. And when you look at it you see that the children there are not having fun, not really. It’s too boring and safe. There’s no adventure, no call to the imagination.

TODO: I have some more photos taken from a couple of years ago during the demonstrations, that show what the garden used to look like (because if you never saw the Jardin des éléphants in its heyday, this post probably doesn’t make a lot of sense). I’ll dig them out and add them here next week.

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