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Visiting France

Paris Mayoral candidates push rival plans for metro and train stations

media Revamped metro station, planned by UMP candidate, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet http://www.nkmparis.fr/

As the race to be the next mayor of Paris hots up, the two main candidates, both women, are pushing some eyecatching projects for the City of Lights.

Centre-right UMP Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has a plan to give completely new life to some disused metro stations.

Champ de Mars, Arsenal, Porte Molitor, Haxo, Croix Rouge, Porte des Lilas, Saint Martin or Martin Nadaud were all metro stations until they were closed down, mostly in 1939.

Kosciusko-Morizet, known by her initials NKM, recently published on her website, a series of stunningly futuristic photographs demonstrating how each of these metro stations could be reborn as a restaurant, swiming pool, theatre, concert hall or art gallery.

Arsenal metro station transformed into a theatre. http://www.nkmparis.fr/

However the plan has so far failed to find support from the RATP, the company which owns the Paris metro stations. The public body says it would cost too much to ensure the premises met current standards on safety etc.

Rival Socialist candidate and current frontrunner, Anne Hidalgo has her eyes on the old railway line which used to encircle Paris, until it was closed in 1930. She wants to develop leafy promenades along the ghost railway line, (known as the Petite ceinture, the little belt) as well as restaurants, an aquarium, cinemas and bars. 

Leafy promenades along the ghost railway line for Socialist candidate Hidalgo. http://www.anne-hidalgo.net/

Meanwhile today, the incumbent Paris mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, attended his very last Paris City Council meeting. "I have no nostalgia, nor sadness, joy filled my heart" he said when he left the City Hall today. 

Delanoë has been Paris Mayor for thirteen years. At municipal elections in March, voters are almost certain to elect either NKM or Hidalgo, and Paris will have its first ever female mayor.

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