- Aerial night view of the Île de la Cité, published in the report, unfortunately undated
Photo : APUR
- See the image in its page
Emmanuel Grégoire, and more generally the city hall of Paris, likes nothing better than to call his opponents names. He has no terms harsh enough to describe them, and that of "liar" comes up systematically. However, and this is very easy to prove, it is indeed "celui qui dit qui y est", to speak trivially.
We have already had the opportunity, notably in this article, to dismantle the speech of the first deputy of the City of Paris. It is a pity that Le Journal du Dimanche, which gives him the floor so complacently, does not do the basic work of journalism: checking and correcting the facts if those presented to us are untrue. We are starting a series here that will address some of Emmanuel Grégoire’s false claims by demonstrating them in a factual manner. But it is true that in our post-truth era, facts no longer matter.
So the first claim by Emmanuel Grégoire that we will examine is what he told the Journal du Dimanche and which we said was unlikely, but that we had nothing to suggest otherwise.
Well now we have something. Something tangible, since it is a recent report, commissioned by the City of Paris and delivered in March 2021, by a "Heritage and Landscape Team" composed of Marie-Pierre Gosset, Denis Miraillé and Viktoria Paniouchkina-Moullet (the first two are landscape architects, the last is an architect). This report, which is in no way hostile to the town hall, can be downloaded from the municipality’s website at this address.
To the question: "Are the opponents wrong to fear an attack on biodiversity linked to the trampling of the lawns and night lighting", Emmanuel Grégoire replied: "How far will the disputes go... We are the first to defend the black spaces for biodiversity. But here we are talking about Jean XXIII Square, which is already lit at night, even when closed, not to mention the lighting of the cathedral".
How far do the protests go? As far as the reports produced for Paris City Hall! Because in the one we quoted above, p. 42, in chapter 2.4 entitled "Night views" illustrated by night photographs (ill.), this is what we read: "The Jean XXIII and Ile de France squares have more discreet lighting, a minima, respecting a certain darkness, a guarantee of observation of the stars and an attempt to give the place depth.
This reduction in light intensity in the gardens is beneficial to the development of fauna and flora and is undoubtedly an asset both for the atmosphere and for the maintenance of biodiversity". In other words, exactly the opposite of what Emmanuel Grégoire dares to claim, and no less exactly what the opponents of the project assert: the Jean XXIII square (and the Île-de-France square as well) respected "a certain darkness" at night, and this low light intensity is an asset for maintaining biodiversity. Tomorrow, if these squares are lit day and night, biodiversity cannot be maintained.
What we thought - and we were honest enough to say that we weren’t sure - has been proven. So, either Emmanuel Grégoire is knowingly lying, or he is talking nonsense because he knows nothing about his subject. The two are not incompatible.