In Paris, research is being conducted on the condition of balconies along the Seine River. Experts want to know if there is a risk of collapse.
The reason is the Olympic Games. The opening ceremony will be held on July 26 on the Seine River, where boats carrying thousands of athletes will sail about six kilometers. This ranges from Notre Dame almost to the Eiffel Tower. There is a fear that Parisians, friends and guests will gather en masse on the balconies of homes overlooking the water to watch the ceremony.
“The houses there are sometimes more than 300 years old, and the balconies are usually designed to accommodate two or three people,” Olivier Princivalli of the real estate agents' federation FNAIM told AFP. “If more people stand during the games, it could be a problem. We have to know if the balconies can accommodate that. We also have to make absolutely sure that the railings and fencing are properly secured.”
The trade association for estate agents, UNIS, is also concerned. “These balconies are not designed to accommodate 40 people. If an accident occurs, who will be responsible?'' UNIS President Benjamin Al-Darmoni asked on television.
According to the French government, homeowners and property owners are responsible: they must be the first to ensure that their homes and balconies are free of defects. But from a legal standpoint it is more complicated. A balcony or fence can be already in good condition and at the same time not be able to support (too much) a large number of people. FNAIM has now consulted with the police and the Architects' Union. The latter organization is now preparing a preliminary inventory of the buildings and potential hazards, in cooperation with real estate agents. This is submitted to the police, who must then decide on any follow-up action.
According to official figures, there are approximately 32,000 homes along the Games' opening ceremony route. According to the participants, they will initially be eligible for inspection.
The reason for the concern is not surprising. During the opening ceremony, hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to arrive in Paris and on the banks of the Seine River. There have been criticisms about this before: There will be too big a crowd. Problems can arise in terms of flow and safety.
Initially, the target was 600,000 visitors during the opening ceremony. But last month, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced that this number had been revised downward: only about 300,000 visitors would be allowed.
Also a complicating factor is that many Parisians plan to rent out their apartments to tourists during the opening. This is very profitable. Hotel and Airbnb prices skyrocket during the games. But with fewer permanent residents and an unknown number of tourists in rented homes, there is less visibility of the number of people in homes and balconies along the Seine.
Specialists say there is no direct cause for acute care. There are no known recent incidents involving balconies dating back hundreds of years in Paris. If balconies collapse, it is often in recently built buildings. At previous major public events, such as the July 14 celebration or the World Cup ceremony, groups of people would also gather on balconies without causing any problems.
'A medal in Paris is not actually a utopia': Why the Belgian Cats could start the Games in July with ambitions (+)
Much cheaper and with the Eurostar you can get there in an hour and a half: Brussels' hope for many visitors during the Olympic Games in Paris (+)
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.
“Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert.”