Why Grand Paris ?

Having begun in 2007 under Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency, the «Grand Paris» project aims to transform the Paris city area into a 21st century city and confirm its rank among competing international megacities. The project also aims to improve life for residents and to even out disparity between territories while building a sustainable city.


The challenges Paris currently faces are twofold :

– As a capital within a global economy, in competition with major cities such as New-York, London or Tokyo, it must establish itself as a “world city”. To achieve this, it must meet the commitments laid out in the Kyoto protocol whilst building housing and improving the supply of transport both between the suburbs and the centre and between the suburbs themselves.

In light of heightened competition from global cities

The greater paris region is not making the most of its human and economic capital

Paris and the Greater Paris Region is currently :

  • An urban entity on a global scale, the city’s extension has encircled Paris which now comprises 11.9 million inhabitants and has become Europe’s main economic region.
  • A capital with limited space …
  • … But one of the highest urban densities in the world and strong demographic growth;
  • Economic and social life with a strong focus on Paris;
  • A city with home-work flows which predominantly converge on Paris,  due to current transport routes (and the RER in particular): A wide-reaching but ageing network that does not connect outlying towns amongst themselves;
  • A city with an urban motorway (Boulevard périphérique) which surrounds Paris forming an abrupt cut-off point between the city and the suburbs.

The project

Imagine a larger paris and put in place suitable transports, town planning and governance

Key project dates
June 26th 2007Nicolas Sarkozy announces the launch of «Grand Paris» during a visit to Roissy.
June 2008-April 2009International consultation with ten teams of architects and urban planners on the development of the Paris area.
July 16th 2009In Le Havre, President Nicolas Sarkozy insists on the need for «Grand Paris» to become a maritime city.
October 30th 2009Creation of the Atelier International (global workshop) for the «Grand Paris» project.
May 20th 2010The Parliament adopts the law relating to the «Grand Paris» project.
June 3rd 2010
Creation of the «Société du Grand Paris».
January 26th 2011Merger of the Arc Express (Region) and «Grand Paris» (State) projects to give rise to the future «Grand Paris Express».
May-June 2012Change in the presidential and parliamentary majority in France.
March 6th 2013Confirmation by the new government that the «Grand Paris» project will continue.

Early stages

The «Grand Paris» project is the spiritual child of Nicolas Sarkozy and Christian Blanc, former Secretary of State for the development of the Capital region. In May 2004, Christian Blanc published a report entitled “Pour un écosystème de la croissance”  (For an ecosystem of growth) as part of an economic development project that had been given to him by the then President. He noted the extremely centralised organisational structure in France (and in the Greater Paris Region in particular) that was impeding the country’s reactivity and ability to innovate. Amongst other things, he recommended the creation of ‘competitiveness centres’ (“clusters”). He stipulated the need for a “territorial player that would be strong and uncontested, able to act as a catalyst to activity and align disparate efforts”. These observations have, undeniably, inspired the current projects that form «Grand Paris».

The aims of the «Grand Paris» of tomorrow in 10 key ideas :

  1. Making Paris better equipped to defend its status as a world city via the implementation of large, iconic projects.
  2. A city of knowledge for which economic development will focus on the creation or strengthening of large competitiveness centres,
  3. A more intense city,
  4. A rethinking of road transport and an improved public transport offering,
  5. The creation or strengthening of urban centres,
  6. Better integration between districts,
  7. Preservation of the green belt
  8. Enhancement of the Seine and its tributaries as connecting threads of the city,
  9. Adapted governance to allow more harmonious and coherent development,
  10. And therefore … A sustainable «Grand Paris».
Source : Atelier International Du Grand Paris