Published on June 20th, 2016 | by Julie Chaizemartin1
The Newsstand, Symbol of the Parisian Street !
In Paris, the newspaper stand, like the Morris column, the underground (subway) station or Hector Guimard Wallace’s fountains, is part of Parisian charm. Yet, in recent weeks, rumour has it that the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, might replace the newsstands with more modern and contemporary kiosks already selected, designed by Matali Crasset. Certainly, she is talented and recognized for her work throughout the world, but for this project, it is no longer about design, but about rescuing our heritage, preserving the Parisian identity. Without its kiosks, Paris will lose some of its spirit and its romanticism. Eric Azière, President of the UDI-MoDem group (Union of Democrats and Independents – Democratic Movement) at the Council of Paris, even compared the new kiosk model to a “photocopier,” as reported in the newspaper Le Point.
Parisians Want to Save Their Kiosks
Parisians and numerous associations are mobilizing to prevent the destruction of these famous Haussmannian kiosks that form a part of a global urban architecture conceived in the nineteenth century, and are encouraging all lovers of Paris to sign the petition “No to new Parisian newspaper kiosks: keep the spirit of old Paris!” launched on the website Change.org. If Paris’ 376 kiosks have aged, can we not renovate and modernize them without destroying these historic icons? They were designed by the architect Gabriel Davioud (1823-1881) to beautify the streets and illuminate them after nightfall. With their windows welcoming posters, their octagonal shape, and their small dome of zinc canvas topped with an arrow, they are stylish and perfectly recognizable. The first kiosks appeared in 1857 on the Grands Boulevards to substitute for “squalid and disparate stalls which were a shocking sight,” as the newspaper Illustration then wrote. Originally, the prefectural administration reserved them for widows of soldiers and government officers so that they could earn a subsistence income. They became a decoration of the Parisian streets, in response to the Morris columns, fountains, park railings and lampposts that make up an architectural and urban ensemble existing since the nineteenth century. An ensemble that Parisians and tourists love, participating in this symbol of Parisian life.
If you do not agree to the replacement of old kiosks, if you are fond of Parisian heritage, sign the petition!