(Paris) Dozens of streets closed in front of schools, a city center forbidden to the most polluting, cars banned from the banks: Valérie Plante said Thursday to be inspired by the current trajectory of Paris, but refuses to commit to import their ideas.
Passing through the French capital, the mayor of Montreal praised the way Anne Hidalgo has been transforming her city for nearly a decade, while temporizing.
“What Ms. Hidalgo has done and continues to do is in direct line with our vision,” said Valérie Plante, in the inner courtyard of Paris City Hall.
The closure to car traffic of 180 Parisian streets bordering schools, “I think it’s a good idea, but far be it from me [to announce it for Montreal] at this time without having discussed with our partners [schools, businesses, communities]”. “We’re evaluating it,” she added.
As for the Crit’air program, which radically limits the circulation of the most polluting vehicles in Paris? “Clearly, this is a practice that seems to apply in several countries, including Scandinavia. Are we going to be exactly the same? I can’t tell you today,” she said.
“I really like the reappropriation of the Seine, the traffic around it,” she continued, referring to the closure of several waterfront quays to cars.
But Paris could also take inspiration from Montreal, Ms. Plante pointed out. “Ms. Hidalgo is preparing the Champs-Élysées, which she wants to make much more accessible to cyclists, and even remove traffic lanes. I was just telling him that’s what we did in Montreal with rue Saint-Denis,” she said. The mayor of Paris “should be coming to Montreal soon, I can’t wait to introduce her to her.”
Valérie Plante and Anne Hidalgo met on Thursday, on the fourth day of the mayoress of Montreal’s European tour. She has already passed through London and Vienna.
The two women share the same status, they pointed out: elected women at the head of large metropolises, who are the subject of harsh criticism, but were re-elected with a large lead.
Elected in 2014 and then in 2020, Anne Hidalgo embodies the transformation of Paris into the spearhead of ecology, at the cost of significant municipal debt and virulent criticism from several motorists. His candidacy for the French presidential election in 2022 ended in bitter failure.
“Me, I am inspired a lot by the energy of Valérie,” said Anne Hidalgo, Thursday, in her large office at the town hall of Paris. “We share a lot, we are two women, from two big cities, two very beautiful cities. »
In a press briefing afterwards, Valérie Plante went further, saying that they will also try to support the other women elected to head other major cities. Because “yes, the pressure is different. Yes, attacks can be extremely virulent and gender-based. Yeah, it’s hard,” Ms. Plante said.
On Friday, the two women will also participate in a meeting of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF) on the theme of hate speech. “You can make connections” to the “virulence and personal attacks on women on social media,” she said, including herself as a victim of this phenomenon. “It’s really, really difficult. »
“Perhaps 20 or even 10 years ago, mayors were less attacked, but now we are positioning ourselves and we are more and more interested in social issues which are – in the current context – very polarizing “, she added.
The two elected officials also renewed the cooperation agreement that unites Montreal and Paris. It facilitates exchanges between municipal officials and has notably contributed to the creation of the Mobile Mediation and Social Intervention Team (EMMIS) in Montreal, a unit of civilians that responds to certain emergency calls.