Plans to turn one of Paris’ most desirable addresses – Avenue Foch in the 16th arrondissement – into social housing have been met with indignation. Residents are up in arms at the proposal from Socialist mayoral candidate Anne Hidalgo.
If she wins next month’s election, she wants to make more use of the 140-metre-wide, tree-lined boulevard that leads from the Arc de Triomphe.
Her plans would see its western end, where it meets the Bois de Boulogne, become a park. The other end, approaching the Étoile roundabout, would be pedestrianised, with shops, offices, hotels and – crucially – social housing.
Inevitably, it is the thought of working class incomers living cheek by jowl with the super-rich that has provoked outrage.
Ms Hidalgo’s mayoral rival, centre-right candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, has been quick to oppose the plans and hopes local anger will bring her electoral victory.
Inhabitants of Avenue Foch insist that if Ms Hidalgo tries to go ahead with her plans, they will – how shall I put this? – invoke the name of the street to tell her where to go.