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France - 2005 - New Streets?

version 2000

versie 2000.



Published: December 21, 2005


In the French 3-monthly M@ppemonde, No.77 (1-2005) the article below was published, in which a proposal to revise the Paris game board is done.
It happened however that Hasbro in honor of Monopoly's 70th anniversary in this same year (2005) published the revised edition "Et si Monopoly était inventé aujoud'hui?" ("And if Monopoly was invented today?"). I was quite surprised to see the French Newspaper Libération of Saturday October 8, 2005 published two articles on this very same topic as well. 
So fuss in France and sufficient reason to ask special attention for this!

Febr.2005:      "The streets of Paris going from Monopoly,
                                             a proposal for revision
                                             Marie-Françoise Fleury (Collège Marc Chagall, Gagny - F)
                                             Hervé Théry (Centre Nat. de Recherche Scientifique - F)

The original design

The Paris game board contains 22 avenues, streets or squares, 4 stations, a water works and an electric company, all concentrated upon the right Seine bank, as shown by figure1.             Original streets.                                       Only 4 streets and 1 station are situated on the left bank. That choise may have been reasonable, because the right bank stood for business, luxury and trade, while the left bank represented culture and education. A preponderance of the right bank is normal in a game in which enrich oneself is the goal. The northern districts (like the18th and 19th), eastern (like the 20th) and the southern part of the capital (like the 13th and 14th) are not at all represented on the board of this game. There has been no single street chosen of the isles Saint-Louis and la Cité, the historical centre of the capital.
Today an analysis of Paris' real estate prices show another contrast: in the western part of the capital the prices are much higher than in the eastern one. This opposes - schematically - a middle-class and  official Paris, to an industrial Paris and polpular Paris, even when now the most eastern districts of Paris have been renovated. This criterion apparently did not really came up for discussion for the Paris game board, because there is not really an equal distribution of the streets from the west and the east, even when the "better districts" being preferred to the more popular workman's districts.
So it seems the choice made for of the axes taken is rather based on the history and reputation of certain districts, as we can see proceeding over the board from the cheaper streets to the more expensive ones. The Rue de Belleville is a good example of the contrast of both value systems: it is one of the cheapest streets of Monopoly  and indeed it is a street in the east part of the capital, preserving the memory of an industrious past. Since the XIXth century this district lodges countless immigrant communities like the Jews from Eastern Europe, Armenians, Spaniards, Greek and North Africans. Today it's the turn of the Azians, mainly Chinese, to invest in this district.
In reverse, the Rue Lecourbe in the 15th district is nowadays part of a posh district and should no longer belong to the cheap streets of the game. This also applies to the Rue de Vaugirard, almost precisely parallel to the Rue Lecourbe (in addition it is the longest street of Paris). The Boulevard de la Villette has lost its popular atmosphere with its bistro's and slaughterhouses, so well described by Boris Vian, to get his nobility letters, in his "City of Science and Industry". This very well visited centre of culture and education symbolizes the revival of eastern Paris, but its place on the game board looks rational when the game was designed.
On the other hand the Avenue de Neuilly never was a popular district, but hwas always been part of distinguished districts. The Rue de Paradis also had its special place, because it is the centre for cristal and pottery of Paris: Baccarat has here established its Cristal Museum.
Continuing our trip over the game board we arrive at the Boulevard Saint-Michel, in the middle of Quartier Latin, known by its religious and academic traditions. In this historic and cultural pre-eminently district this boulevard is well in place. As far as the Place Pigalle in the middle of Montmartre is concerned, that is the somewhat old-fashioned red light district and is visited by an endless stream of tourists mingling with the local people only 2 steps away from the Moulin Rouge.
The Boulevard Malesherbes, built between 1860 and 1866, causing the disappearance of Little Poland district, connects Place Saint-Augustin with Place de la Madeleine and is a good representative of the Haussmann era, not far away from the business boulevard bearing the name of the man who was governor of the Seine from1853 till 1870.
The Place de la Bourse owes its fame to the Palais Brongniart, called after the archtect who started building this palace in 1808 (despite much later, between 1902 and 1907,  2 wings were added). Since its foundation the Paris Stock Exchange has been financial meeting point of France causing a permanent feverish activity despite the famous "corbeille" (= "basket", here: closed section for stockbrokers) has been substituted by a computerized quotation. 
Already in 1890 the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré saw a craftsman saddler settling down. His name was Hermès and he was selling armours. Today it is one of the most luxury and well-known shops in the whole world. Nowadays this street is a display window of French luxury and fashion: a couple of renowned names in the high fashion of Paris and abroad have their seats here. Being a well situated street for the business world, also innumerable antique shops and juwellers have established in this street. Eventually, this is the street where the Palais de l'Élysée is situated, the official residence of all French Presidents since 1871. So today this street ought to be amongst the most expensive streets of the game board, because of its commercial and political importance.
The Boulevard des Capucines, according to the model of the large boulevards, is somewhat different from the earlier district, but it used to be very popular spot in Paris. It stood for "the Paris' life" and the famous "boulevard mentality". It is the theatres district, like the Olympia, still being one of the most important music-halls.
Finally we arrive at the Champs-Élysées, the large, triomphant avenue in Paris, connecting the Place de la Concorde, with its famous obelisk, with the Place Charles de Gaulle, with its not less renowned Arc de Triomphe. It is unquestionable one of the most important axes of the capital, but to consider it "the most beautiful avenue of the world" may be an exageration..... It remains in any case one of the most renowned, but is strangely enough, not the most exspensive one on the game board in question. 
The one who is on top the hierarchy , the Rue de la Paix, is but hardly known by the majority of the French people: many just know it thanks to Monopoly, but do they really know why it is supposed to be among the dream districts? It owes its place to the jewellers concentrated in that area. They were moved during the second Empire, from the Palais-Royal, where they lived since the Ancien Régime (i.a.before the 1789 Revolution). The great challenges of that time as well as the eccentricities of the Belle Époque helped the fast development of this profession. This symbolic place for international jewelry trade makes unevitably thinking of things like gold and precious stones. The very greatest, like Cartier, Chamet, Boucheron, Van Cleef and Arpels are represented on this world axis of richness and luxury.

Proposal for revision

Changes.Between 1935 and 2005 Paris has gone through a strong development in most of its districts, strengthened by radical changes of real estate values. Fashions have led to search for privileged places in a certain district while avoiding other territories. What there is the situation today and what can we propose to keep a true picture of the game going from the poorest districts to the richest? The principle we have choosen was to take into account the revaluation after 70 years of the real estate values (resulting in an important change of contrasts between different parts of the city), all in order to come to a better representation of the various districts, which is not at all the case in the original version. The East part of Paris is completely changing fast and we see a rearrangment of the capital, leading to decrease the differences between East and West Paris can be seen.
Nevertheless the first streets and avenues have to be in the North and East of the capital. It would be interessing to introduce for example the Boulevard Voltaire or the Rue de Faubourg Saint-Antoine, both connecting the Place de la République with the Place de la Nation. The suburb Saint-Antoine is a district with strong artisan traditions, being a centre of industrial and crafty activities over a long period, but it also was a very populated district agitated by numerous rebellions in the French Revolution era. Today this district is notable by its commercial development, and although there still are crafty cabinet-makers these are largely replaced by furniture stores along this axis of the capital. This suburb could well substitute the Rue Lecourbe, too expensive now as far as the price of houses is concerned. In the North, for the same reason as with the Rue Lecourbe, instead of the Rue de Courcelles, the Boulevard de la Chapelle can be taken, situated close to the Gare du Nord and not far away from the Gare de l'Est.
For the intermediate streets of the game board, we ought to keep to the streets situated in the 17th, 12th or 13th district to get a better distribution of the selected axes. The Rue de Bercy or the Quai de Bercy of the 12th could be suitable. This district is the seat of the Ministery of Finance today, close to the National Library of France and the Palace of Sports (POPB) of the same name. Because this district is important for financial affairs as well as for culture and sports this choise would very well illustrate recent progress of East Paris and so it could replace the Rue de Paradis on the game board.
New streets.The Avenue de Neuilly, very expensive and very dignified for its place on the board, could be replaced by the Avenue du Général Leclerc of the14th district that was totally forgotten on the original board. Doing so, a hero from the Second World War, an event that happened only after the birth of the game,  could be honored. The Avenue Mozart in the 16th district is also too distinguised for this group of streets. It could disappear in favor of the Avenue de Choisy, the central axis of Paris' "Chinatown" situated between the high rise buildings built during the renovation of the13th district,a territory also forgotten. 
One could consider to honor Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who has considerably changed Paris putting on the board the boulevard bearing his name (in the Opéra district) instead of the Boulevard Malesherbes. Today this boulevard is the one of the "big department stores" on the right bank, like the Printemps (nr.64) and the Galeries Lafayette (nr.40). These more than well-known buildings are a must on the programme of millions of tourists and potential buyers. They are almost looked at as historical monuments.
It seems almost impossible to erase the Champs-Élysées and the Rue de la Paix from the board, and one could leave them on the board as «blue» streets and, in the «green» streets, instead of the Avenue de Breteuil, the Avenue Foch and the Boulevard des Capucines add the Avenue Montaigne, the Avenue George V and the Rue François I, the most important axes of the "Triangle d'or" (the gold triangle), important business centres, luxury and studios of great fashion designers.

The objective of this modest proposal is only to let the Monopoly game board be a more true image of nowadays Paris and it not at all intends to change the game, although it is intense and shamelessly  capitalistic. But the one who never enjoyed the sadistic pleasure ruining an opponent who was brought by the dice to "his"  Rue de la Paix (with hotel) throw the first stone ...  


 Color of the  
  Fleury and 
  Théry's proposal
"And if Monopoly 
  was invented   
  (Hasbro, 2005)
 lilac   Boul. de Belleville
  Rue Lecourbe
 R. de Faubourg
  Quais de Seine
 station   Gare Montparnasse  Gare du Nord   Gare du Nord
 light blue   Rue de Vaugirard
  Rue de Courcelles
  Ave.de la République
 Boul. de la Chapelle
  Filles du Calvaire
  Porte des Lilas
  Notre-Dame des
 purple   Boul. de la Villette
  Avenue de Neuilly
  Rue de Paradis
Ave.du Général Leclerc 
 Rue de Bercy
  Pont Alexandre III
  Pont Neuf
  Passerelle des Arts
 station   Gare de Lyon  <unchanged   Gare Saint-Lazare
 orange brown   Avenue Mozart
  Boul. Saint-Michel
  Place Pigalle
 Avenue de Choisy 
  Musée d'Orsay
  Cité des Sciences
 red   Avenue Matignon
  Boulevard Malesherbes
  Avenue Henri-Martin
Boul. Haussmann
  Stade de France
  Palais Omnisports de
                  Paris Bercy
 station   Gare du Nord  Gare Montparnasse   Gare Montparnasse
 yellow   Faub. Saint-Honoré
  Place de la Bourse
  Rue Lafayette
  Lycée Henri IV
  École des Arts et
  La Sorbonne
 green   Avenue de Breteuil
  Avenue Foch
  Boul. des Capucines
 Avenue Montaigne
 Avenue George V
 Rue François I
  La Défense
  La Bourse
  Ministère des 
 station   Gare Saint-Lazare  <unchanged   Gare de Lyon
dark blue Ave.des Champs-Élysées
  Rue de la Paix
Ave.des Champs-Élysées
  Rue de la Paix
  Notre-Dame de Paris
  Tour Eiffel


June 2005:

Edition: Et si Monopoly était inventé aujoud'hui?, Réf.00114/00402101
Et si Monopoly était inventé aujoud'hui? -2005.Publisher: Parker/Hasbro - 2005
Dimensions of the box: 27.0 x 40.2 x 6.5 cm
The game:
 (Have you seen Mr. Monopoly's car is showing licence plate: MR. M70, meaning "Mr.Monopoly's car on the 70th birthday of Monopoly".)

Most likely Hasbro hasn't read the article on top as they started to develop this game, an edition in honor of the 70th anniversary of Monopoly, because the only equal space is that of Gare du Nord. 
For this opportunity, like in the games of all other European countries, the streets have been substituted by very well-known (large) objects like buildings, stadiums and monuments. Besides the games got a theme name. So the names of the corresponding editions of England, Germany and the Netherlands for example, are resp. Here and Now, Heute and Van Dam tot Dom. The amounts have been made "contemporary" as well. So you will not collect € 200 over Départ , but € 2 million instead so a factor 10,000 more. However everything is of course correspondingly more expensive: The buying price for a station became f.e. € 2 million.

For all corresponding editions applies in addition:

The blue green houses are ellipse shaped and 6 mm in height, have no pointed roof and are stackable.
The red hotels have the same shape but are 31 mm in length. Since they are hollow they are very light and because of that not very practical. Neighter it is clear what the purpose of the stackability of these hotels can be.
The 6 metal tokens are: a scateboard - skeeler - racing car - a mobile - money bag - and airplane.
Besides each country has an additional token characteristic for the country: so for France  .... the Eiffeltower.
The new model banknotes, where Mr.Monopoly seems to bear a circle with the note's denomination on his hand all show the same 10 character number. The denominations are resp.: 10k - 50k - 100k - 200k - 500k - 1M and 5M. (The whole bundle bears the codenr. 100 00402 0000.)
The banker's tray, a dark blue plastic insert in the innerbox has 7 holes for the attributes.
The mortgage side of the property deeds is grey. On the grey background of the Chance and Caisse de Communauté cards is resp. a red question mark and a modern black chest, filled up with (yellow) gold rods. 

Oct.2005: On October 8 the French daily Libération published 2 articles,
                                      written by Michaël Hajdenberg:

                                     "Buy the Eiffel Tower ... in Monopoly"
                                     The game has been reconsidered, monuments make their entry.
The Rue de la Paix is no more what is was in the past. At least as far as Monopoly is concerned, that had importantly contributed to its reputation. For its 70th anniversary Hasbro, who manufactures this game, performed a total revalue. "And if Monopoly was invented today?" the game's box says. That will become a nice marketing operation the makers will have answered at the start and they will not be mistaken, but they have not made a link to the actual market prices of the real estates. In 70 years the game grew old. It is to say that the "old school" version remains available but it has no strong ties anymore with the actual market.
The Place Pigalle is much more expensive than the Boulevard Saint-Michel (both orange). The Avenue de Neuilly, in dark purple, is amply undervalued whereas the Boulevard des Capucines (in dark green, much more expensive than the Avenue Foch) benefits by the prestige of the partly outdated grand boulevards. Not to mention the modest investment to grant for the water distribution - less expensive than a station. The Railway company should feel oppressed. Shortly, all this is no longer consistent with reality. 

Hasbro therefore consulted a few thousands of persons to learn what occurred to them for a new Monopoly. 
And strangely enough it are monuments and not streets comming up in their minds. That is why everything has been changed on the new game board except for the stations and taxes. On a different way from cheap to expensive now appear the promenades (like the Quais de Seine), the subway stations (like Filles-du- Calvaire), the big bridges (the Passerelle des Arts), galleries (Orsay), theatres (the Olympia), schools (Henri-IV), finance residences (la Défense) and finally the monuments, like the Eiffel Tower, replacing the Rue de la Paix. "To muse" (sic), the distribution of electricity also made room for télécoms.
At the end, Hasbro concludes "a swing to the east". The prices in euro are, mind you, multiplied by 10,000 so that today for example the Stade de France (that replaced the Avenue Matignon) is worth 2,200,000 euro.
Without knowing so well if you're going to buy a district, only the monument (not easy to build near the Notre-Dame) or something else "But you're not in the simulation of reality" Hasbro people assure. "We never tried to find out if the Rue de la Paix is worth 20 times the Rue Lecourbe. You are playing a game." 
It is true that in reality nobody will ever enjoy to make a trip to prison.

                                     "A game sieved by geographers
                                     Comments on the preceding game, they've suggested their own version.

Geographers didn't miss the geographical and social upset balance of Monopoly (first version). And in particular it were Marie-Françoise Fleury, teacher at Gagny and Hervé Théry, researcher at CNRS, who, a few months ago denounced it in simple words. Outrageous: the left bank, the bank of "culture and institutions", has only  four streets (Lecourbe, Avenue de Breteuil, Vaugirard and Boulevard Saint-Michel) and a station (Montparnasse) on the game board. More generally spoken "the districts of business, luxury and trade" are overrepresented.

Districts North (like the XVIIIth and XIXth), East (like the XXth) and South of the capital (like the XIIIth and XIVth) are not in the game. Even more surprising: "no streets has been choosen of the isles Saint-Louis and la Cité, historical centre of the capital". Without the intention to upset the game board (why make the Bastille fall? She isn't even represented), Marie-Françoise Fleury and Hervé Théry enjoyed proposing changes to take the toppling down of the real estate prices into account, but also to assure a better representation of the various districts. In their design the Boulevard de la Chapelle would in this way substitute Rue de Courcelles; the Quai de Bercy would chase Rue de Paradis away; the Avenue du Général-Leclerc would bury Avenue de Neuilly and the Avenue de Choisy would expel Avenue Mozart.

By the way: Like in all designs of big projects certain choices are disputable. Replacing the Boulevard Malesherbes by the Boulevard Haussmann doesn't seem valid. The same for the Rue Saint-Antoine being a little too expensive to slip into the skin of Rue Lecourbe. As many disputes that can even go on much longer than one game.


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albert c. veldhuis
Zoetermeer - The Netherlands
e-mail: worldofmonopoly@gmail.com