“Puerile,” “soulless”: The verdict on the newsstands that could replace Paris’ iconic green kiosks

Over 30,000 people have signed a petition to save these.
Over 30,000 people have signed a petition to save these.
Image: Burgermarc on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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Since the mid-19th century, Paris’ bottle green newspaper kiosks have been a distinctive part of the city’s streetscape. They were originally commissioned by urban planner Baron Haussmann during his sweeping renovation of the city that began in the 1850s.

But the ornate kiosks may soon be no more. AFP reports that the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, plans to replace the beloved historic structures with more practical alternatives by June 2019. A petition (link in French) calling on Hidalgo to revoke her plan to introduce the “soulless” kiosks that “undermine the beauty of Paris” has been signed by over 30,000 people.

Before and after.
Before and after.

“Modernisation should not be synonymous with destruction of the past,” wrote one signatory. The French national heritage group SPPEF is also no fan of the new design, with the group’s vice president Julien Lacaze dismissing it as ”puerile” (link in French).

According to Le Parisien (link in French), some 400 revamped kiosks will have interactive screens, presumably with maps and other information of the surrounding area, and post boxes will be installed. The newsstands will be illuminated green or red to show whether they are open, and they will come equipped with heating, insulated floors, removable windows to protect against inclement weather, and refrigerators for cold refreshments. Newspapers and magazines might also benefit from the more open display space.

Image by Burgermarc on Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)