French Language Blog

France and le Grand Paris Posted by on Mar 26, 2019 in Culture

A few weeks ago as I was exploring the public opinion research from IFOP, one of the studies that caught my attention was an examination from last December of public perceptions of the ensemble d’initiatives connues sous le terme du Grand Paris (group of initiatives known as the Great / the Big Paris).

Le Grand Paris / The “Great Paris”

First announced in 2007, le Grand Paris project – whose primary mission is to ensure that Paris can “asseoir son statut de «ville-monde»” … tout en préservant “son histoire et son patrimoine” (ensure its place as global city… while preserving its history and culture) – will run through at least 2030 and include enhanced regional transportation options to connect more of the surrounding region to Paris, development plans to strengthen housing and development in the Île-de-France region, and administrative improvements designed to simplify doing business in and around the city.

One of the defining elements of Paris since it’s completion in 1973 is the Boulevard Périphérique or le Périph’ as it is commonly known. This multi-lane ‘ring road’ and it’s 38 ‘portes’ (‘doors’/’gates’; including the western Porte de Champerret that led to Bois-Colombes where I lived in France) are the entry and exits to the Périph’ that make it quick and easy (sauf pendants les embouteillages! / except during traffic jams … which are sadly too frequent these days!) to get around Paris. Unfortunately it (and the current layout of the Paris Métro) also make it hard to connect the bustling heart of Paris with the surrounding towns.

Qu’en pensent les Français?* / What do the French think (about the plans)?

So how is this major initiative being viewed by les Franciliens (term for the inhabitants of the region of Île-de-France / the region including Paris in the near cities and towns shown in red in this map from IFOP’s study shows that there is overall strong support for the project, but also that many individuals have concerns about possible negative impacts of the plan.

Le pour / The pros

Le contre / The cons

For over 70% of those surveyed, le projet serait plutôt une bonne chose (the project is more of a good thing) with 68% of those surveyed either plutôt ou très optimiste pour les résultats (more or very optimistic about the results).


Mais en même temps (but that same time) people worry that “le développement … entraînera une hausse du coût de l’immobilier” (the development will result in rising housing costs). 90% of those surveyed thought it was plustot probable ou tout à fait propable (quite or totally probable).

* Notice the use of the French pronoun ‘en‘. It is used here to represent the entire concept of le Grand Paris outlined in the previous paragraphs. Instead of saying “Que pensent les Français du project le Grand Paris? the pronoun ‘en‘ lets me just say “Qu’en pensent les Français?”

Looking for ideas about what to do dans le Grand Paris (outside of Paris)? Check out this great website (en français) that regularly highlights the best activities, art, exhibitions, and more dans la proche banlieu et les alentours de Paris.

Photo courtesy of via [CC0]

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.