Paris Mayor Plans to Dismantle Big Wheel
First, she cancelled the yearly Christmas market. Now, Parisian mayor Anne Hidalgo aims to take down the big wheel located at the Place de Concorde every Christmas season.
The controversial decision is dividing Parisians, with some agreeing with or strongly opposing her choice.
During the six months between November and May, the big wheel has dominated the Place de Concorde skyline for the past 16 years. However, Hidalgo thinks that the modern amusement ride detracts from the beautiful, historic atmosphere of the Place. According to City Hall, the mayor hopes to reinfuse the Place de Concorde with a sense of its history.
In late November, Paris city councillors will vote on whether or not 2017 is the big wheel's last hurrah. City officials seem at least open to the idea as they enacted a proposal last year to open the issue to debate.
Marcel Campion, who operates both the Champs-Elysées Christmas Market and the big wheel, will not accept this news lying down. Employees of the Christmas Market previously protested for two days to battle the shut-down of their event, during which they barricaded several Parisian streets.
"Fairground King" Campion believes the mayor's decision is a "settling of scores". He thinks she hopes to eliminate all fairgrounds from her city and goes as far as to call her "mentally disturbed".
Indeed, it appears Hidalgo's stance on the Place de Concorde attraction is not only about aesthetic values. Several Paris officials have lost confidence in Campion.
The government is officially investigating the Fairground King's company "Fêtes et Loisirs" after several years of questionable activity. Infractions committed by the company could include collusion, property damages, laundering funds, and even connection to organized crime.
Meanwhile the Deputy Mayor, Bruno Juilliard, claims Paris' issue is not with the big wheel, but with its location. According to him, city officials will consider other spots to put up the large attraction.
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