"On Sunday, Paris Socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoë, accompanied by the woman he hopes will succeed him in City Hall, Anne Hidalgo, unveiled the place's £20.4m facelift – £5m over-budget, and hailed a project that he said had reclaimed the place, previously a glorified roundabout, for the people," reports Kim Willsher. "Around 70% of the 3.4 hectares making up the square and its surroundings roads have become a pedestrian zone."
"'My predecessors handed the square over to the car. We wanted to put beauty, the values of the République, and a joie de vivre at the heart of this transformation,' Delanoë said as he strolled around the square on Sunday morning shaking hands with people."
"The opposition centre-right UMP opposed the project and accused Delanoë of creating traffic chaos and being 'anti-car'," says Willsher.