Place de la Madeleine

8th Arrondissement
Paris, France

Contributed by Project for Public Spaces

A traffic-congested plaza surrounding an outsized 19th-century monument.


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Why It Doesn't Work

Approaching Place de la Madeleine, one is so overwhelmed by traffic that the district's positive assets, including a wonderful flower market, are all shunted into the background.

Once you get to the steps of the Madeleine, a monumental church constructed in the style of a Greek temple, you can behold the sea of traffic coming toward you from Place de la Concorde and up Rue Royale. If vehicular space was decreased by a quarter and the sidewalks were widened into a boulevard like the Passage de Gracia in Barcelona, the whole experience would be dramatically altered. Combine these changes with similar improvements to the streets emanating outward from this plaza, and you'd completely transform the whole district into a walkable, attractive destination. One suggestion: A pedestrian–oriented connection between Place de l'Opéra and La Madeleine could become a much-used link between two of the most recognizable monuments in Paris.

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