Environment: Building a New Paris

Standing atop the Arc de Triomphe, the American gazed in silence over the panorama of Paris, traditional city of light, of elegance and romance. Finally he spoke. "This isn't quite what I expected," said Bill Estes, 22, of Atlanta. "But I guess you can't stop progress."

All over the city, from St. Cloud to Montparnasse, from Place d'ltalie to Belleville, there are signs of building, burrowing and bulldozing. Some 60 new skyscrapers puncture a skyline once graced mainly by domes and spires; one cluster of tall buildings even crowds the Eiffel Tower. A superhighway...