Last Saturday morning I read about a new outdoor exhibition L’Air des Geants with 12 oversized inflatable sculptures inside the Parc de Villette. Looking for something to write for today, it seemed like a perfect story.
Parc de Villette is about a 25-minute metro ride from me. I decided to go mid-morning so the park wouldn’t be too crowded, as it was a clear, sunny day right before everybody was going back to work and school on Monday for the Rentree.
I got off at Porte de Pantin station across from the entrance and main plaza of the park, which had a map of where the sculptures were located. I found the first sculpture easily, a giant paintbrush on a building with a strip of paint dripping, Paint the Town Red by Filthy Liker and Pedro Estrellas.
I followed the map faithfully but couldn’t find most of the other sculptures. I would walk up and down several times for each spot of the map, thinking I was losing my mind or I was too stupid to follow the simple map. Upon closer research there was a number of fenced in areas, which had signs for the sculptures, but they hadn’t been inflated yet, there was just a pile of black plastic on each. Interestingly enough the signs and website, which had photos of the sculptures already inflated, said the exhibit started August 27. Apparently someone didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to be inflated by then.
Frustrated and disappointed I schlepped all the way here with only three sculptures mounted, I couldn’t figure out what to do. So I decided to make lemonade from lemons and explored the park, which I had not done before.
Parc de Villette is the third largest park in Paris, spanning 88 acres, built from 1984 to 1987 by architect Bernard Tschumi. The park also houses a number of cultural venues including Cité des Sciences et de ‘Industrie (Science museum), Le Geode, an enormous mirrored geodesic dome measuring 118 feet in diameter housing a Imax theater, Cité de la Musique, Le Zenith music hall, an equestrian center, Grand Hall de Villette, a large exhibition space for fairs and festivals, and the recently opened symphony hall, Philharmonie de Paris. The park is also divided by the Canal l’Ourcq, a 67.2-mile canal, which also joins the Canal St. Martin.
Since it was such a beautiful day there were scores of people and children playing at many activities including running, bicycling, climbing, speed walking, Tai chi, and a yoga class on the lawn, which I was tempted to join. I enjoyed seeing the thirty-five follies, a series of red decorative only structures throughout the park.
Although disappointed I didn’t get to see L’Air des Geants in full, I was happy to have experienced Parc de Villette in all its end of summer glory.
Note: The reason maybe the sculptures were not inflated was there were heavy rains all day on Thursday.
Click here for more info about L’Air des Geants
Click here for more info about Parc de Villette
Paint the Town Red by Filthy Liker and Pedro Estrellas
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