CULTURE

Paris crowds flock to see Arc de Triomphe, dressed to impress

Christo's Arc de Triomphe, wrapped, was an impressive sight at dusk on Sunday, 26 September.
Christo's Arc de Triomphe, wrapped, was an impressive sight at dusk on Sunday, 26 September. © Amanda Morrow / RFI

Thousands of people have been sprawling around the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, to get up close and personal with the famous war memorial that has been wrapped in silvery blue fabric – a posthumous gift to the city by renowned artist Christo.

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Usually a busy traffic hub, the Place Charles de Gaule Etoile was cordoned off for pedestrians – who were required to produce health passes – and who were able to touch the €14m installation.

Some 25,000 square metres of recyclable polypropylene fabric have been bound together by 3,000 metres of rope to make the artwork a reality.

Known for his massive, ephemeral public art displays, the Bulgarian-born Christo was working on the Paris project when he passed away in New York in May 2020, aged 84. 

It was a dream 60 years in the making, with Christo and his French wife Jeanne-Claude – who have already wrapped Paris's Pont Neuf bridge – first conceiving the idea back in 1962.

Entirely self-financed, the artwork will be on display until 3 October.

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