Tuesday, April 11, 2006

C'est la vie

France is the world's #1 tourist destination country and Paris is the #1 tourist destination city. And most Paris visitors go to their Disney Park (!); the Louvre is second.

The center of Paris, the only part that most tourists ever see, is certainly splendid and most (not all) of the surroundings look pretty awful. Yet the Ville de Paris (the core) lost population -- from 2.9 million in 1921 to 2.1 million in 1999. Over the same period, Ile de France (the greater Paris area) grew from 5.9 million to 11 million. (Thanks, Wendell Cox.)

And what are Paris planners doing? They are converting boulevard traffic lanes to bus lanes. This is supposed to get people out of their cars and onto transit. Sound familiar? As usual, people are not cooperating. So the cars move more slowly and foul the air more. Claude Raines would be shocked(!).

Prof Remy Proud'homme and his colleagues have done the math and found a $1 billion annual net loss.

Central planning will always be hard work. Tourists will keep coming to the city (including it's Disney Park) and Parisians will keep moving to the suburbs.