La Corniche des Forts

Romainville, Les Lilas, Pantin, Noisy-le-Sec[93]

Stretching out over three kilometres in the Plaine de France, the Corniche des Forts park has taken over a number of former gypsum mines that had returned to a state of nature.
The threat of subsidence, and speculative pressure in an area that is close to Paris, were the main preoccupations.


Above all, there was the question of conserving a protected green space in an urban milieu which is now a reservoir of biodiversity, with the support of numerous associations. The area is home to a range of flora and fauna, including birds, foxes and badgers.

We prioritised the natural ambiance of this resurgent vegetation and wildlife, this « reconquest » which is a showcase for a new form of urban nature.


The fact that the earth had been hollowed out by the gypsum mining meant that a lot of cavities needed to be filled in with earth from non-polluted areas. The subsoil is thus being stabilised, and the development work is proceeding gradually. There is an east-west pedestrian link between the four communities concerned, along with parks and gardens that are being integrated into an overall, multifunctional system.

Sculpting the substructure

The development of the site is determined by the nature of its subsoil. Material is being taken from the non-polluted parts to consolidate it. There is a question of stability, and associated geotechnical considerations, with an alternation of green spaces and the return of woodland. Incorporating these different factors into an overall plan creates a heterogeneous range of openness and closure, and the potential for a wide range of activities.

In praise of flexibility

This project brings up issues of temporality in urban planning and landscaping. The site was overexploited for more than half a century, and it will take some time to recover. Our concept is sufficiently flexible and versatile to embrace activities that are varied and continually evolving.

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2003 (work in progress)
Client: Région Ile-de-France
Design: Ilex paysage urbanisme (team leader), Ateliers Lion, Egis
Mission: complete project
Area: 65 hectares
Provisional budget: €54 m (excl. tax)