Monday, July 16, 2012

Le Plessis-Robinson

Planetizen has just published my article, "Le Plessis-Robinson: A Model for Smart Growth," describing the history of the Parisian suburb, Le Plessis-Robinson, which was filled with modernist housing projects but has been rebuilt since 1990 in the traditional style of the Ile de France region.  The article is available at

I have many more photos of Le Plessis-Robinson than I could include in the article, so I am posting additional photos here.  To understand these photos fully, you must read the article.

(Note added on Sept 27, 2012: The Providence Journal published an article yesterday based on this post.)

Coeur de Ville

The Coeur de Ville (Heart of the City) neighborhood was designed in 1990 by Francois Sperry and completed in 2000.  Here are pictures of its main square and the surrounding streets.

Cite-Jardins 3 and 4

Here are some pictures of Cite-Jardins 3 and 4, designed by Xavier Bohl in 2000 and completed in 2009.

In this final picture, notice that, between the two neo-traditional buildings, you can see the 1920s "garden city" housing project that could not be demolished because it was found to be a landmark (as described in the planetizen article).

Old Le Plessis

This section has some pictures of the buildings remaining from the old village of Le Plessis.

The municipal administrative center (left) was built in the 19th century. L'Eglise Saint-Jean-Batiste (right) was ´╗┐founded in 1112, and the current building was built in the 17th century.
In front of the church is a statue of d'Artagnan, made famous in Dumas' The Three Muskateers. His cousin, marshall Pierre de Montesquiou d'Artagnan, was buried here in 1737.
The park facing the Mairie is a favorite place for the town's children to play. 
This restaurant, behind the municipal center, is presumably a favorite place for city employees to have the long lunches that the French are famous for. It is currently called Le d'Artagnan. In the 19th century, it was called A La Bombe, because during the Napoleonic wars, an Austrian bomb fell right next to it but did not explode.
Here is some of the old housing of the village of Le Plessis. 
Here is an alley behind the old housing.  It is gated, but one of the residents was kind enough to show it to me (and even kinder to compliment me on my good French).

Miscellaneous Pictures

Here is a picture of a neo-traditional building under construction, which shows that it is made of concrete. 
Here is a campaign poster showing Mayor Pemezec (right), who recently ran for National Assembly.  In France, it is common to hold multiple offices, such as Mayor plus National Assembly.
Finally, in case you are so intrigued by these pictures that you want to see the town for yourself, here is a map showing the locations of all the neighborhoods described in my planetizen article.
It is fairly easy to get to Le Plessis-Robinson from Paris.  Take the RER B line south to Robinson, and then there is a short bus ride or a 25 minute walk to the center of Le Plessis-Robinson.


Blogger Joseph Jutras said...

Hi Charles,

I read your original article and really appreciated it.
I founded the ITA with similar feelings as expressed in your article.
If you wish to make a difference and drive change, feel free to join us!

All the best,

5:42 AM  

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