The town hall of Toulouse wanted to diversify the offer. New shops are opening on Place Arnaud-Bernard. But among them, some have already closed.
The ballet of street cigarettes sells the daily life of Place Arnaud Bernard. Neither the presence of the police nor the cameras installed a few years ago limit the underground trade, made in plain sight. In the neighborhood, the traffic is an El Dorado for many newly arrived immigrants. Which earned him a bad reputation crampon. To counter Arnaud Bernard, the town hall of Toulouse has revamped the place. Successful pedestrianization. A half-hearted metamorphosis.
The City has also tried to kick in the anthill by diversifying the supply of shops. New ones, aimed at de-communalizing the place, have moved into the empty premises. But six years after the first openings, the situation is once again mixed. Few of the new arrivals remained.
Among the resistance fighters, Mathieu Lacroix and his partner. Their cheese factory stands at the back of the square. The two managers witnessed the successive departures of recently installed traders. “I think they were fed up with the place”, slice Mathieu Lacroix. According to him, many Toulousans “are always afraid to come and do their lessons in the square because of the various trafficking”. “But the neighborhood is gradually changing. Even if some elected members of the opposition do not want that to happen, ”he adds.
After the recent arrival of a wine merchant and a pub, a new round of business openings is announced by the town hall. Seated at one of the bars in the square, Icham, who has lived in the district since 2004, points to the openings to come. “Arnaud Bernard is French, laughs the forty-something. I notice that in addition to new customers, a few more students are settling in. It adds a facelift ”. He is delighted with “the mix which is gradually happening”. Behind the varnish, the transformation of the limp square.