Sunday, November 18, 2012

Exploding sidewalk in Paris

One of the fascinating things about Paris, and probably one of the coolest things that set the city apart from most others, is the imaginative use of space. some years back, we were strolling up Rue Bonaparte, and just where it meets Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue de Rennes, at the very corner was this incredible sculpture: an exploding sidewalk.

Now if you've ever strolled on the let bank of the Seine, from Gare Austerlitz to Pont Sainte-Genevieve you've noticed the fantastic sculpture along the river in what the city calls its Musee de Plein Air (a play on the Impressionists who first truly advanced the notion of painting out in the open, rather than in the studio).

Skip forward to the present day. So I've been following a particularly peculiar and wonderfully insightful blog written by Adam Roberts called Invisible Paris. While the posts are often about an obscure aspect of Paris, the subjects are always fascinating, the writing is lucid, the style engaging and certainly informative. A great way to explore the city in greater depth, for those seeking to grasp those nuggest, however "invisible," that make Paris such a wonderful place to just "be."

So, on a whim, I asked Adam what, exactly, was up with this bit of rock stuck at one of the busiest corners in Paris (photo above). Here's his answer:

"The sculpture is called 'Embâcle' and was created by the Quebec artist Charles Daudelin. It was put in place sometime in the mid-80s and is actually a fountain I believe. Apparently it celebrates the friendship of France and Quebec, and the moment when running water breaks through the ice after the winter. Given its position in Saint Germain, there must also be some kind of reference to the May uprising (sous les pavés la plage etc...)."

"Embacle" apparently means the piling up of ice in a stream after a refreeze.

And thanks to Adam for turning me on to some other fantastic blogs -- which I've linked right over there to the right. Go ahead, spend some time cruising the hidden sides of Paris. 

No comments: