Paris: Four districts to become one for efficiency


Paris's modernizing Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has now turned her attention to the city's administrative structure with a plan to reduce the city's districts—arrondissements—from 20 to 17. It's the latest big change from a mayor who's also been campaigning for car-free streets and more park and pedestrian access.

The plan would merge the 1st through 4th arrondissements into a single unit. They are the most central of the city's districts, filled with important buildings and famous sites, but relatively few people. Among the area's features: the Louvre, Palais Royal, Les Halles, Place Vendome, Tuileries Gardens and most of the Marais.

Each of Paris's districts has its own local town hall and local mayor, as well as its own clinics, schools and public nurseries. Under Hidalgo's plan, which would merge the four town halls and all their services into one, parents would, in theory, have more choice and better chances at finding a nursery placement. The present disparities in size range from 1 km sq for the 2nd to 8 for the 16th, and in population from 17,000 in the 1e to 240,000 in the 15e.

The change won't affect the area's familiar postcodes, and people will certainly continue to identify their location by the old numbers...but three "hotels de ville" and a number of jobs will likely be gone.

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