Longchamp Racecourse: Parisian 'green bubble' almost complete

    DPA longchamp_PV 03 PISTE HD V2
    DPA longchamp_PV 03 PISTE HD V2

      JUST WATCHED

      Longchamp's 'green' renovations well under way

    MUST WATCH

    Longchamp's 'green' renovations well under way 02:56

    Story highlights

    • Longchamp Racecourse is undergoing redevelopment
    • The Paris venue hosts the world's richest race on turf

    (CNN)The $145 million redevelopment of the iconic Longchamp Racecourse is entering its final phase, with building work set to be completed this December.

    The Paris venue has hosted the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe -- known as the world's richest race on turf -- since the days of Napoleon III over 150 years ago.
      And now, having closed to the public following Golden Horn's breathtaking victory in 2015, it is on track for a grand reopening on April 8, 2018.
      Pony racing on the Irish coast
      Pony racing on the Irish coast

        JUST WATCHED

        Pony racing on the Irish coast

      MUST WATCH

      Pony racing on the Irish coast 01:22
      "There are millions of tourists every year in Paris and we must take them to the racecourse," says Olivier Delloye, director general of governing body France Galop.
      "It can be seen as a rather bold move when the industry is facing many challenges -- like the new competition from sports betting -- but still any company has to invest in their future.
      "It was clear that our flagship course could be redeveloped to maintain its standard and compare well to all the major racecourses in the world."
      While Longchamp previously featured two stands capable of holding 7,000 people each, the new design centers on a single 10,000-seater grandstand.
      Though overall it can still accommodate as many as 60,000 on big race days, comfort and sustainability have been prioritized over sheer size.
      "The former Longchamp was very big and dominated by concrete," says Delloye. "This racecourse will be much greener than the old one. We have multiplied the green surfaces by three compared to before and we have also increased the number of trees by 20 percent.
      "It will really be a green bubble for Parisians, just 10 minutes from L'Arc De Triomphe."
      Of all the familiar features of Longchamps -- from the weighing room to the parade ring -- the only thing that has remained is the track itself.
      "I'm sure it will look great," Delloye enthuses, looking ahead to next year's L'Arc De Triomphe. "We have so many people really waiting to be back at Longchamp for the Arc.
      "That doesn't mean it doesn't work at Chantilly -- the last two years have been great -- but still, Longchamp is Longchamp."