03 September 2019

Par Ici le Grand Paris

It’s a bit like a game, a treasure hunt in Greater Paris where the prize consists of the discovery of important places, often off the more traditional and established beaten track. There are 43 signs to help you on your way. It’s an amusing and innovative way of building continuity between urban and suburban areas and valorising their complementarity.

The project runs until Saturday 5th October, when Paris holds its 2019 Nuit Blanche. The city will be “invaded” by 43 signposts pointing the way to destinations outwith the city walls, that have not yet caught the collective imagination of Greater Paris, and are easily reached by bike and public transport, destinations that can be some way away (the mediaeval city of Provins is 88 km away) and can take some time to get to.

The reward lies in the discovery of gardens, monuments and places of recreation outside the city – and of their cultural and historic affinities with sites and buildings within the city itself. It is an invitation to Parisians and tourists alike to venture beyond the suburbs in search of unknown treasure. It is designed to amplify the synergies between people, districts, trades, and social, cultural, economic, business and environmental initiatives.

It is (also) a metropolitan signage project that sees the Saint-Denis Basilica, the Royal Necropolis of France, connected with the great French Gothic cathedral of Notre-Dame (they are 10 km from each other); the forest of Fontainebleau with its 500 km of paths with the Coulée Verte Renée Dumont elevated walkway among the trees in the 12th arrondissement; the town of Auvers-sur-Oise, the inspiration for many leading artists, including the Impressionists, with the Musée d’Orsay, one of the most important collections of en plein air masters; the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, where two models of Concorde are on show, with the Musée des Arts et Métiers, which is showcasing the Avion 3, one of the earliest flying machines; and the historic Luxembourg Gardens with the glorious Parc de Sceaux.

Winner of a competition run by the Faire Paris accelerator of urban projects initiated by the Pavillon de l’Arsenal and the Municipality of Paris, the Par Ici le Grand Paris project, designed to bridge the cultural gap between Paris and its outskirts, was curated by Enlarge Your Paris and the BETC Magasins Généraux creative centre at Pantin, with the support of the financial organisation Caisse des Dépôts and the automotive brand MINI. Enlarge Your Paris and the Magasins Généraux also collaborated on the guidebook Guide des Grands Parisiens, published in 2018.


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