I had read that the Place de la Republique had been renovated ; I saw it from a taxi and was underwhelmed, as it seemed just a renovation of the ground surface. The reason for that first impression is that I had never gone there before. A square that was in fact a giant roundabout has had its traffic concentrated on its southwest part, giving continuity to the pedestrian traffics towards the northeast, changing many things.
The square is 280×120 m, one of the largest in Paris. The project is launched in 2008, and Trevelo & Viger-Kohler (TVK) win the architectural competition. Cars are moved and the square becomes a single platform including also a first section of the rue du Faubourg du temple. The statue of the Republic has been integrated on the pedestrian platform, which has been paved with large stone slabs. Some have complained about the removal of some urban art elements from the XIXth century, but overall the square seems to be work well as a public space (some kind of meadow could have been an idea…)
The project, completed in 2013, is available at http://www.placedelarepublique.paris.fr/