Paris of the Future
Paris is known for its historic buildings, traditional European architecture, and all-round romantic character. Rightfully so, since the modern metropolis’history dates back to over 2000 years ago. Nonetheless, the city is still developing and constantly updating into a snazzier version of its former self. I recently visited Paris and discovered a few new spots worth sharing. I’m posting an overview of what’s brand spanking new and what’s coming in the future.
What’s New: Les Halles
If you are looking to shop ’till you drop, seems like Les Halles is your new go-to destination. Les Halles and its surrounding area are currently transforming in a huge redevelopment project, but the massive shopping centre already reopened in April 2016. The multiple-level mall is covered by a canopy rooftop and the array of shops continue underground.
Interestingly, the exact location of Les Halles was already a market-place in ancient times. It was the place to go to get any type of fresh-produce. Now, the commercial heart of the city is receiving major makeover and is ready for another round. It’s a cool place to shop for the latest fashion, but also great for eating out. I had soufflé-tastic lunch at Champeaux, the new flagship restaurant of the shopping centre.
What’s Coming: New Garden (Jardin Nelson Mandela)
Another feature of the redevelopment project is the new garden opposite the Les Halles shopping centre. The Jardin Nelson Mandela is a public garden in the heart of the metropolis, next to the medieval Saint Eustache church (a real eye-catcher). This zone will be a much larger pedestrian district and better accessible to the mobility-impaired. The garden’s new design includes flower beds, 138 more trees than before, playgrounds, benches, petanque courts, and chess tables. The redevelopment of the garden is scheduled to be completed towards the end of 2016 or early 2017.
I’ve recently realised that accessibility is a much bigger problem in older cities than I had ever imagined, so this is really good news. It’s not something I’m ever forced to think about. There are lots of globetrotters in wheelchairs that have no choice but to consider such factors.
What’s New: Fondation Louis Vuitton
Even if you’ve been to Paris before, there is a big chance you’ve never visited this place. The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a new museum in Paris for contemporary art. It officially opened in 2014 and most of the exhibited pieces belong to the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) collection, which explains the name of the museum. The museum has already collaborated with many famous artists, like Ai Weiwei and Daniel Buren.
That being said, even the museum building by itself is already worth a trip to the 16th arrondissement. As you can see, the views of the city from the museum’s upper terrace are simply amazing. The hyper-modern building”s designer was architect Frank Gehry, best known for designing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The colourful stickers all over the dynamic exterior are a temporary feature.
What’s Coming: Monnaie de Paris
The Monnaie de Paris is the oldest institution in France and one of the oldest enterprises in the world. It started activities in 864 as the official atelier for the production of the royal coin. Nowadays, the Monnaie is still the only institution responsible for designing the French Euro coins. The professional engravers that work at the Monnaie de Paris first have to follow an education to become an engraver. Afterwards, they have to work as a full-fledged artist for at least 10 years before they can call themselves a master engraver.
The art of coin engraving, however, is under pressure by the increasing use of plastic bank cards and online payment methods. The Monnaie de Paris has decided to revive the old craft with the launch of a new museum: Monnaie de Paris. The museum is already open, but the renovation project’s full completion and museum’s grand opening are scheduled for the first half of 2017. The museum will then offer tours through renovated factories and artisan workshops, as well as innovative expositions about the value of craftsmanship for today’s society.
Paris: An Evolving City
Are you planning on visiting Paris anytime soon? Obviously, there is a lot to look forward too! Paris will always be one of my favourite European cities, so I can’t wait to see the redeveloped garden when it’s finished. I’ll definitely go back to take some photos. I hope this post gave you a bit of a glimpse of the Paris of the future. I personally love seeing cities evolve. Growing with the times and constantly changing, almost like an organism with a beating heart.