Nov 25th, 2018, 01:46 PM

The New Marais

By Joan Jessiman
Image Credit: Joan Jessiman
The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th arrondissements will soon combine to be the "Paris Centre."

This past month, citizens from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th arrondissements voted on the new name for the districts and location of the town hall for the Marais neighborhood, which will come into effect next year. On October 12 and 13, 2018, anyone who was a citizen of the first four arrondissements voted via ballot or online. A metropolitan planning law set in 2017 aimed to “simplify administration, create a new division of powers between state and city and to strengthen the told of borough mayors,” according to a statement on the Marie du 3eme website.

The winning name of the new district. Image Credit: Marie03

If you live, study, work etc in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th district the boroughs will not disappear and the postal codes will remain the same. At a citizens panel held in February 2018, three names for the new district were proposed. “Heart of Paris”, “Paris Centre” and “Lutece Sector.” These names were presented to the mayor of Paris and the four boroughs. The official list of the four neighborhood names included: Paris Centre, Heart of Paris, First Arrondissements of Paris, and Paris 1-2-3-4. These four names were voted on last month with the final result and new name being the “Paris Centre” with the town hall for the four districts being the Marie du 3eme. 56% of the vote was for “Paris Centre” with the second closest being the “Heart of Paris” with 31% of votes. According to Le Parisien, Around 25% of people with the right to vote did take part in the two decisions.

So why was there a need for this change? In the 19th century the “inhabitants were mainly concentrated in the center of Paris, today they live mainly in outlying districts. The division of Paris into 20 districts no longer corresponds to the current demographic reality,” according to the Marie du 3eme website. The decision was a question of guaranteeing a Parisians a better representation based on the population of each district.

Marie du 3eme/ Proposed changes. Image Credit: Marie03 

This vote is hugely important not only for the city but also for the residents of the four districts. For example, the vote will “open up more possibilities for parents who apply for a place in a nursery school, improve cleanliness, greater political representation of Parisians, free spaces for citizens in the town halls, as well as many other aspects,” according to the Marie du 3eme website.

Since 1859 Paris has been divided into 20 districts with a mayor for each for the last 25 years. Because the first four districts will combine and have one town hall representing them the other town halls will be used for other purposes. As per the vote the new “Paris Centre” will have its town hall in the current town hall of the 3rd arrondissement. The other three town halls in 2020 will become spaces to further community life of Parisians.   

Beginning in December of 2017 citizens were instructed to imagine and propose ideas for the soon to be empty town halls. The spaces will most likely be used for community events, sports, as well as various events that come up. Suggestions can be made up until January 31, 2019 with 900 suggestions already submitted.