city park in paris geographical structure


Any city planning should ensure that it has an efficient geographical structure. This can be done by ensuring that planners put in mind the need for enough space for relaxation purposes. A city’s park should be big enough to avoid disturbances from other people. Pedestrian footpaths are also a very important tenet of city planning. If they are not adequate, people tend to create their own which is inconveniencing and uncomfortable at times.

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The city’s park should be made up of the natural environment including lakes, rivers, and hills and should be situated far away from busy traffic. This would ensure that its visitors are in a private and serene environment. In planning for a city’s amenities, planners should also consider its residential areas in terms of social amenities such as hospitals and children playing grounds. This paper analyzes the movie Before Sunset in relation to its shooting locations in Paris and if the city planners did a substandard or a perfect job in regard to these locations.

The Geographical structure in Paris is somehow tricky and the planners should have put in mind the need for enough space for relaxation purposes. The city’s park should have been big enough to ensure that once one gets into it he does not easily surface from its other end.

Paris City planners did not put in mind enough pedestrian footpaths. For instance, the viewer discovers that the Geographical structure of Paris city is somehow tricky when Jesse and Celine start their walk around this magnificent city. As documentary crewmembers follow the couple in the streets, the complex nature of the streets reveals itself. (Richard Web). After experimenting with few footpaths, the Planners should have realized that it did not work. In the restitution of an urban open space, there is usually provided room for bold designs and fresh experiments (Mumford 90).

The city planners managed to come up with a pedestrian friendly urban neighborhood. However, there is no direct connection of this neighborhood to the quite park. There was still a need to ensure that the road to the park is devoid of traffic. This would ensure that cyclists and people on foot have their quite time, particularly during peak traffic hours i.e. 7am and 5pm.  As Celine recounts the experiences she has had in her environmental work in rue Charlemagne, a small town in Paris, the viewer gets to know about the Pedestrian friendly urban neighborhood. Celine asserts that the covered passages are likely to take one into a chain of interconnected and quite neighborhoods christened St Paul village. This neighborhood is said to house dozens of elegant historic stores (Richard Web). The neighborhood, as opposed to individual building blocks, make up the unit of urban designs as well as any new schemes both for traffic and open spaces (Mumford 91).

Paris City Planners managed to get a park for its dwellers, the Promenade Plantee. Its serenity was augmented by the fact that there was a river passing through it; that is, the Seine River. However, there was a need to ensure that the park is expansive in nature to accommodate sports and other games. The site of the Park by the city planners was not good because even though there is a river, there is no lake for games such as boat racing, or a hill for ice skating in winter. This is the reason Jesse and Celine keep on walking rather than engage in any of these outdoor adventures.

A big city like Paris needs to have an open space to accommodate natural settings such as a river or a park. The significance of the river in the movie is shown when Celine arrives at the Shakespeare book reading organization. He meets Jesses at the book center trying to publish his book on the nightlong romance they had between Pont au Double and Petit Point. This serene environment was located on the Seine River’s left bank on the eastern side of their hotel (Richard Web).

From the riverbank, they went southwest along Rue Saint and passed through the students’ neighborhood north of Sorbonne, before turning left into a Cinema hall christened Rue Galande. In one cut, they are seen to have suddenly crossed the River Seine and are even observed walking in the opposite direction. The open space is therefore very critical in a big city such as Paris because it enables people in love to have their quality private time (Richard Web).

The Promenade Plantee Park was a serene 4.6 Km park that was constructed on top of the old Viaduc des arts. This incredible place ran from Bois de Vincennes to Place de la Bastille. Jesse and Celine entered it through the staircase located at 90 Avenue Daumesnil in the 11th arrondissement. However, the planners did not ensure that its accessibility is far away from the busy traffic. After sometime, they came back to the River Seine bank where they had started out (Richard Web). For recreation over weekends, the entire city’s natural setting should be perceived as a potential park area and should be made to be attractive at numerous points so as to minimize the gradually unwinding weekend traffic (Mumford 91).
            The Paris city planners did a good job in ensuring that most parts of the city had isolated environments for people who want to have quality leisure time. However, the surrounding residential areas should also have been considered for children who would want an open space for playing away from their neighborhoods. While they were headed north, Celine and Jesse turned to the back of Église-St-Paul-St-Louis, an urban isolated area important for people who want to have quality time to converse on their own. They then turned into rue Charlemagne as Celine made various accounts of her environmental work (Richard Web). With the adolescents the neighborhood does not count any more on their list of their activities. They do not just visit within the city but also go for hikes (Mumford 30).

The movie indicates that Shakespeare bookshop was a neighborhood-gathering place. However, the fact that not many gathering places are shown proves that the city planners did not include this in their plan. It is believed that the gathering places started emerging on their own. This was lack of good planning which is likely to lead to conflicts with other peoples’ interests.  The Shakespeare bookshop seems to be one of the neighborhood gathering places. Quai de la Tournelle’s is also a prominent neighborhood gathering place since even Jason Bourne gets his head down in his car in this place upon his arrival in Paris. By minimizing the realities of human societies and living organisms to calculable financial abstractions, the administrators and contractors of our machine conditioned modern metropolis disregarded the city’s essential task (Doxiadis 128).
Le Pure Café a nearby coffee shop and St Paul village a nearby housing portrays that the Paris City planners had a ‘mixed use concept’ in planning for the city. Upon further chatting, they realized that they both shared one town in their upbringing:  New York. After walking for some time, they stopped at Le Pure Café and Celine decided to take Jesse to the nearby raised garden path, which formed the entrance to the Promenade Plantee Park.

However, important amenities like hospitals are not mentioned in this movie. The movie director should have had a scene where one of the actors is hospitalized to give credit to the city planners for including this important social amenity. “The planner could as well consider if in terms of planning there is not a transitional solution in the middle between the well-equipped and expensive hospital that is prepared for every emergency and the ordinary household that is able to deal with minor sicknesses but without the equipment and space to handle child birth” (Mumford 25).

            The Paris City planners came up with poor physical design and urban density elements. Jesse and Celine are forced to use tiny passages to escape the noisy city rather than use cool and quite footpaths that would connect them to the surrounding parks. The poor elements of physical design and urban density are further illustrated in the movie when at Église-St-Paul-St-Louis, Celine and Jesse turned right into rue Charlemagne. This occurred even as Celine continued to give various accounts of her environmental work. They then went through Rue Eginhard’s tiny passageway on their way to Rue Saint-Paul. Notably, this tiny passage in Paris City enables the couple to get rid of populated areas even as they seek to have quality time away from crowds. H.G. Wells forecast the populated areas in Paris more than five decades ago. More than 50 years ago H.G. Wells in his prophetic eyes and in anticipation asserted that with the motor car, the train,  and the aeroplane that he foresaw, the population would not only become mobile but also delocalized (Doxiadis 129).


The movie, “Before Sunset,” was shot in one of the world’s best cities. However, it did not take full advantage of its settings. For instance, the scene at the park is short-lived and most of the locations chosen by the film director depict the poor planning done by the Paris City planners. For instance, the city planners did a good job in ensuring that most parts of the city had isolated environments for people who want to have quality time of their own. However, the surrounding residential areas should also have been considered for children who would want an open space for playing away from their neighborhoods. This is not depicted in the film. The researcher believes that if the screen shots were all inclusive Paris outskirts and residential areas would have given more credit to the movie.



Works Cited

Doxiadis C.A., Ecumenopolis: Toward the Universal city: Athens. Doxiadis Associates. (2009):128-129. Print.

Mumford Lewis, The neighborhood and the neighborhood unit, Town Planning review, (2010): 24-91. Print.

Richard Linklater, Before Sunset, Tri-Star Pictures. 2004. Neflix.Web.


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