A €50 million Notre-Dame landscaping project is going ahead, transforming the area surrounding our city’s famous cathedral.


It’s the latest in a string of environmental schemes that are making Paris greener.


We examine what the revitalized area is going to look like, and when we can expect to see it complete.



The greening of Paris


Combatting climate change… environmental sustainability… the greening of Paris. There are lots of buzzwords used to refer to these projects taking place in our capital.


Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, is passionate about environmental issues, and it’s well known she’s on a mission to make Paris a more eco-conscious city.


Just some of her plans already taking place are the new Eiffel Tower park, the planting of urban forests, and the soon-to-start transformation of the Champs-Élysées.


The latest one approved by her office is this Notre-Dame landscaping project.


Belgian architecture and landscape group Bas Smets shook off competition from three other firms for the contract, chosen by a jury.


The company is working alongside urban planning firm GRAU and architectural specialists Neufville-Gayet to bring the project to life over the next five years.


The total cost of €50 million is being covered by the Ville de Paris (city of Paris) council.



The devastating Notre-Dame fire of 2019


This landscaping project is in addition to the major restoration that’s still underway, following the Notre-Dame fire three years ago.


On April 15, 2019, the world watched in horror as this iconic Parisian landmark caught fire, causing devastating damage to the centuries-old building.


We previously reported on the ongoing works to restore the cathedral.


While the work on the main structure continues, this scheme is reimagining several areas around Notre-Dame. This includes the square and the underground parking spaces beneath it, the crypt, the Jean XXIII square behind the cathedral, the riverbanks, and the surrounding sidewalk.



Plans for the Notre-Dame landscaping project


So what will the area around Notre-Dame look like following this makeover?


130 new trees are being planted, while a five-meter-long fountain will trickle water down the forecourt, reducing temperatures by up to 10ºC on hot summer days. This will use rainwater, pumped from an underground reservoir.


In addition, the underground parking lot will go, replaced with a large reception area and walkway. This leads down to the crypt and opens onto a riverside walkway next to the Seine where there will be more trees and benches.


A new landscaped lawn behind the cathedral completes the plans. From this large open garden, visitors can enjoy clear views of the stained-glass windows and buttresses.


Overall, this project aims to increase the green space of the area by a total of 36%, as well as making it more comfortable for visitors during hot weather.


It will also likely enhance the value of residential property in the area.


Works are due to complete by 2027. But visitors will be able to access the area as it grows, from 2024.



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 Photo: Bureau Bas Smets