Known for its romantic, old world charm, Paris is often defined by its well-known monuments like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
But the city of lights contains modern elements too, like theTour Triangle, a pyramid-shaped skyscraper, and Parc André Citroën, an outdoor space built to meld the city’s urban and rural elements into one architectural masterpiece.
Parc André Citroën opened for public use in 1992 and was built atop the old André Citroën car manufacturing plant, which functioned from 1915 to 1970.
A large lawn anchors the park, while smaller structures like gardens, greenhouses, and meditative spaces act as the park’s border.
Below, we share Parc André Citroën’s coolest features, which mix modern design and utility:
Parc André Citroën sits near the Seine river in Paris’s 15th arrondissement, one of the city’s more residential areas. Its design was the product of an architectural competition in 1985 with the goal to connect the city’s dense, urban areas and its more rural locations.
In its center, the space features a 895-foot long and 278-foot wide lawn as well as a paved area with glasshouses and fountains.
It was built atop the remains of the abandoned Citroën car manufacturing plant and named accordingly, after the automobile company’s founder, André-Gustave Citroën.
Computerized fountains, stationed in the park’s paved center section, shoot up and down in specific patterns. Although running through the fountains is considered illegal, park-goers can be seen playing in the water, especially on hot summer days.
50-foot tall glass greenhouses stand on each side of the fountain display and contain Mediterranean and other exotic plants.
Visitors can take a ride on the Banque Populaire balloon, the world’s largest hot air balloon, and view Parisian landmarks from 500 feet above the ground. The attraction is powered by an eco-friendly hydroelectric mechanism and helium and can carry up to 30 people at once.
In 2008, Banque Populaire partnered with a French air-quality-measurement company to give the balloon air-quality measurement capabilities. Now, the attraction changes colors to reflect air pollution levels in Paris: green for good; orange for fair; red for poor.
Jardins seriels, or serial gardens, border the main lawn and are separated from the open area with a wall of tall plants. Each thematic garden was designed with different metals and plants to create unique atmospheres in each. The jardins seriels also coordinate with the human senses of taste, touch, smell, and sight.
For example, the blue garden symbolizes the mineral mercury and one’s sense of smell through its fragrant blue and purple flowers, like sage and lavender.
And the orange garden uses iron and leafy, textured plants to illustrate one’s sense of touch. A walkway and ramp paved with uneven stones add to the theme.
The red, green, silver, and gold gardens complete the park’s serial theme. Visitors can use an elevated walkway to view all of the gardens from above and in a linear sequence, as they were designed.
By blending natural elements, like trees and water, with industrial elements like concrete and glass, Parc André Citroën’s architects and engineers conceptualized a park that is both modern and classic.