Olympic Village and Grand Paris Express: Suburbs at the Heart of the New Paris

The facilities for the athletes will be transformed into housing for approximately 6,000 people

Saint-Ouen, located north of Paris, is a peripheral neighborhood, largely working-class, with a significant proportion of housing designated for social housing and a vibrant community that has developed near the banks of the Seine. Just a few days ago, construction was completed on the new and gleaming buildings that will house the Olympic Village for the Games scheduled to take place next summer in Paris.

During the Olympics, the facility will accommodate 14,000 athletes from around the world. However, the residents of Saint-Ouen observe it with curiosity for another reason: a year after the competitions end, the Olympic Village will be transformed into housing for approximately 6,000 people, many of whom will once again be designated for social housing. Additionally, there will be offices capable of accommodating another 6,000 people.

Indeed, one of the objectives of these Olympic and Paralympic Games is to leave behind an infrastructural and social legacy for the French capital, accelerating the transformation of the large area around the city and thus contributing to improving the living conditions of the communities in the Seine-Saint-Denis neighborhoods. It’s no coincidence that both the Olympic Village and the aquatic center were built in the Saint-Denis area, one of the poorest in the region, at the heart of what is called Greater Paris. The same area that the city administration and the government have chosen to revitalize by planning and constructing one of the largest and most extensive metro lines in Europe, the Grand Paris Express, which will serve the entire peripheral belt of the capital over a total length of about 200 kilometers.

From Saint-Ouen to Grand Paris, the subway race

Saint-Ouen is a working-class neighborhood, home to about 60,000 people and recently populated by new companies, including international ones, that have chosen to establish their headquarters there. Elon Musk, for example, chose to establish the French headquarters of Tesla in Saint-Ouen, partly because 70% of the population is under the age of 45, indicating a sign of great vitality.

Right here, just steps away from the Olympic Village, one of the stations of the Grand Paris Express will be built to serve a significant part of the neighborhood. This station will be one of the 68 planned stops on the new metro network that will connect the municipalities of Greater Paris, a project that was conceived even before the allocation of the global event but aligns with its philosophy: to promote the development of the outer areas of the metropolis and its connections with the rest of the city.

Grand Paris Express: another development accelerator for the French capital

Debates on the Grand Paris Express date back to the early 2000s and primarily aimed to develop solutions to reduce congestion in the Ile-de-France, the vast region around Paris. Some projects were formulated between 2004 and 2007 when the idea of a circular metro line that could circle the outer belt of the metropolis took shape. It follows a similar concept to Cityringen, the metropolitan ring built by Webuild in Copenhagen but on a significantly larger scale.

Over time, the Grand Paris Express has become a symbolic project envisioning a sustainable future for the city of Paris, reducing surface traffic and promoting green transportation. Construction sites are now open everywhere, and the project includes the construction of four new lines (15, 16, 17, and 18) and the extension of Line 14.

Webuild is also participating in this significant challenge, engaged in the construction of Line 14, which reaches Orly Airport, and Line 16, serving various municipalities in the North and East areas of the metropolis. Construction is ongoing in parallel to ensure the operation of the complete system in the coming years, contributing to the French government’s most ambitious goal of cutting 27.6 million tons of harmful emissions by 2050. This is in addition to the direct impact resulting from the construction of the project, estimated at 115,000 jobs created and an additional GDP of 100 billion euros. An incredible development accelerator that complements the effect assured by the 2024 Games when the world’s best athletes will be hosted in the beautiful and sustainable Olympic Village of Saint-Denis.