The ring of towns adjacent to Paris known as the Petite Couronne is currently the most interesting part of the metropolis.
As separate entities from Paris proper, each municipality has developed its own identity and unique history. Now, however, with the gentrification of Paris pushing more and more middle-class people outside the city limits, they are changing. These are territories full of projects and ideas, often with young populations and key protagonists who tend to be more on the margin of the Parisian establishment.
In many cities, growth has led to a situation where the metropolitan area is considerably bigger than the city proper. Paris, where the city limits remain frozen as they were in 1860, is an extreme case of this phenomenon.
Today only 21% of dwellers of the Parisian “urban unit” live in the municipality of Paris, which covers a scant 4% of the metropolitan territory. This situation hampers policy development and implementation for the metropolis and is increasingly seen as an unnecessary handicap for Paris in the global competition among cities.
The question, in this election year, is whether Paris will be able to achieve its first expansion in more than 150 years, whether it will finally be able to give itself a government at the scale of the metropolis.