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1. Emmanuel Grégoire at the Paris City Council on 6 June 2023
Screenshot of the video broadcast
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On Tuesday 6 June, the Paris Council held a debate on the City Hall’s plan to redevelop the surroundings of Notre-Dame. Emmanuel Grégoire (ill. 1), the first deputy mayor, once again repeated an incredible number of untruths, as he regularly does (see our articles). But the most extraordinary thing, once again, is that he has done so by accusing just about everyone who disagrees with him of lying [1]. This level of denial is staggering. On a rainy day, the elected representative would be able to say with aplomb that the weather was fine.

Emmanuel Grégoire said that the original design for the square would be preserved. All you have to do is look at the views of the project circulated by Paris City Hall to see that this is obviously false. Lie!
He again claimed that the historic street furniture would be preserved. We have already shown (see article) that this is not true, based on the documents distributed by Paris City Council itself. Lie!
On these two points (and others), Emmanuel Grégoire refers to the competition specifications, which the Paris City Council stubbornly refuses to release.

Emmanuel Grégoire, attacking Paris councillor Brigitte Kuster, who pointed to the document presented to the Commission Nationale du Patrimoine et de l’Architecture (CNPA), dared to reply: "But it’s the document of the National Commission for Heritage and Architecture, which is not produced by the City". We publish here the cover of this document (ill. 2), whose authors, quoted at the bottom of the page, are the Bas Smets office and all its associates for this project. Contrary to what Emmanuel Grégoire says (Lie !), it is therefore a document from the City, since it is its project, and in no way a document from the CNPA, to whom it was submitted for review. And it is this document that shows that the garden design has not been retained, and that the street furniture has largely disappeared.

2. Cover of the document submitted to the CNPA for approval.
The names of the authors, who are the Bas Smets office and all those associated with it for this project, can be seen at the bottom.
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Still addressing Brigitte Kuster, who was indignant that Emmanuel Grégoire was calling her a liar, Grégoire added: "You mention in Square Jean XXIII a buvette in the garden". This was yet another lie by Emmanuel Grégoire, as Brigitte Kuster had never made any such claim. It referred to a previous intervention by Aurélien Véron, who had made a mistake on this point. But Emmanuel Grégoire dwelt at length on the matter of the refreshment bar in the garden, as if it were an essential point. On the other hand, he also dared to say the following: "Madame Kuster, let’s be a bit serious, I know how committed you are to these issues: games and markets in Square Jean XXIII? But things aren’t going well. How can you, a former Member of Parliament, how can you? No, no, it’s not written anywhere. How can you dare say that in the Square d’Île-de-France and the Square Jean XXIII we’re going to have games and markets?" We won’t go into his great elegance. But the wish to build steps and install play equipment in Square Jean XXIII is written in black and white on p. 68 (ill. 3 and 4) in the document sent by the City to Paris City Council. The evidence is there, but Emmanuel Grégoire would be able to explain that it snows in summer. Lie!

3. p. 68 of the document given to the CNPA for validation
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4. Detail of the previous illustration showing what Emmanuel Grégoire denies
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Even more serious is the question of the trees, which Emmanuel Grégoire claims they will not cut down, overlooking the fact that the tamarisk no longer appears on the documents distributed by Paris City Council (see article). Let’s assume that this tree is spared all the same. The real problem is that, as with the Champ-de-Mars (a project that was fortunately cancelled in the face of the outcry), it is the works themselves that are seriously threatening several of the trees surrounding Notre-Dame.
We are basing ourselves here on the work carried out by Tangui Le Dantec, a leading tree specialist, and Baptiste Gianeselli, the initiator of the petition, as well as many other members of the public disseminating this information via Twitter. We thus discover, with supporting evidence, that several plane trees on the right of the forecourt when you look at the cathedral, as well as some of the beautiful mulberry trees in the Square de l’Île-de-France, are actually under threat.

The plane trees will be bordered by a path along the quay. We haven’t investigated this specific aspect of the project, but others have, notably Baptiste Gianiselli. We therefore refer you to his long Twitter feed, which contains all the necessary explanations and evidence that this poses a threat to these great trees.

As for the mulberry trees, a gif superimposed on the project and the current state clearly shows that the gate that the City of Paris wants to move will make one of them disappear and seriously weaken two others. We have included the tweet below to demonstrate this, as well as Tangui Le Dantec’s explanations.

Lies by omission, then, on the part of Emmanuel Grégoire, who still hasn’t understood what tree conservationists keep repeating: old specimens should be left alone, in a protected environment.

Emmanuel Grégoire seems to be living in a parallel reality. The best example of this is a passage in which he admits that one plane tree, just one, is threatened: "it is not at all threatened by Square Jean XXIII or by Square de l’île-de-France". Here we can only agree with the councillor: the squares are not a threat to anyone, they are!
He continues: "it is [threatened] by the waterproofing platform of the future reception area on the forecourt, it’s a tree and our consultant, in this case Bas Smets, who is, in my opinion, slightly more competent than many of the people who feel authorised to speak in landscape matters, guarantees us that he will take all the necessary measures not to cut it down but to move it and put it back exactly where it is".
If Bas Smets makes such recommendations - to move a hundred-year-old plane tree and then put it back in its place - we might well wonder about his skills in this area. Because, as Tangui Le Dantec confirmed, only a few species can withstand being transplanted, even when they are large, and in very specific conditions. Certainly not plane trees. Some people have looked on the net and found the example of a century-old oak tree transported to the United States (see [this video>]). Yes, but not only was this tree in the middle of the countryside and isolated from its surroundings, which meant it could be dug up far from the tree to take away its entire root system, but the move also made it very fragile due to a fungus contracted during the move (see this article). Tangui Le Dantec thus explained that "The tree in question was very badly damaged. It is still alive, but in very poor condition, and sick [...] exceptional measures were taken around it: a ban on trampling the enclosure in which it was placed so that it would start putting down roots again (etc). Measures that are completely impossible and out of place on the Notre Dame site".
Either Bas Smets has made such a proposal, and that would seriously call into question his competence, or, more likely, Emmanuel Grégoire is talking nonsense: Lie!

There are countless lies in Emmanuel Grégoire’s short speech to the Paris City Council, and we cannot be exhaustive. Here are just a few more:

 "The opinion of the National Heritage and Architecture Commission is unanimously favourable. Unanimously favourable, with one observation that does not meet with our support at the moment". No, these are not "observations", they are "reservations", meaning that these points are not accepted by the CNPA. Lie! And there is not one but three as we explained here. Lie!
 "Reposition the gates as they were originally and not as they are today, which is not at all historical in the Square de l’Île-de-France". Although the gates in the Square de l’Île-de-France are higher than they were when it was created (to prevent trespassers), they were exactly where they are today, as can be seen in the photos below (ill. 5 et 6), which we have borrowed from Baptiste Gianeselli, who has just published them in a Tweet Lie !

5. View of the Square de l’Île-de-France before the creation of the Deportation Memorial. You can see the previous gates, in exactly the same position today.
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6. View of the Square de l’Île-de-France today, the (taller) gates have remained in the same position.
Photo: Google Maps
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 "We want to remove [the gate] because we want to recreate continuity between Square Jean XXIII and Square de l’Île-de-France to make one big garden" Once again, Emmanuel Grégoire is talking nonsense. You can’t "recreate" something that never existed, because the two squares (the second of which was created quite recently in the 20th century) were never joined together. Lie!
 "Understand our anger at being dragged through the mud, accused of all the wrongs, accused of wanting to undermine the dignity of the memorial to the victims of the Shoah and the deportation". Emmanuel Grégoire is undoubtedly overcome by emotion and confuses the Shoah Memorial with the Deportation Memorial. What is certain, however, is that when he defends himself against wanting to undermine the dignity of the Deportation Memorial (in the Square de l’Île-de-France), this is false information, because that is exactly what he is going to do. We refer you once again to a demonstration by Baptiste Gianeselli, who first published it in a series of Tweets and then repeated it on Emmanuel Delarue’s blog: L’Indépendant du cœur de Paris, to which we refer. Once again he demonstrates the opposite of what Emmanuel Grégoire says. Lie!

We give facts here, and demonstrate them with evidence. Emmanuel Grégoire is content to call others liars without ever - he would obviously be incapable of doing so - being able to prove it. I hear he wants to be mayor of Paris instead of Hidalgo. Let’s hope that the future will spare us both.

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