A day in La Villette in Paris by Esprit de France

Outings | Creative spirit
place-de-la-villette par Esprit de France
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La Villette: a cultural park to be discovered

Combining nature and architecture, leisure and culture, this vast complex has replaced, in the 19th arrondissement between Porte de la Villette and Porte de Pantin, the slaughterhouses of La Villette closed down in 1974.The area comprised a 55-hectare park of industrial wastelands including an architectural treasure, the Grande Halle all made of glass and metal, built in 1867 by Jules de Merindol. Bernard Tschumi, an architect of the Deconstructivist movement, was entrusted with developing the site and he made it the largest urban cultural park in the capital, combining recreational areas for children and adults, cultural venues and theaters. In this large area crossed by the Ourcq canal, two large meadows have been created, the Triangle meadow and the Cercle Prairie, punctually animated by architectural « folies ». These folies, 26 of them -like those eccentric constructions of the same name that dotted the royal parks and gardens of the eighteenth century-, are architectural structures all different from each other that liven up the park with their bright red color. Also, various outdoor activities as well as many institutions have been set up in the park which make it today, not only the largest green space in Paris, but also a center for culture, art, science and music. To be discovered:

- The Grande Halle, which has become a multipurpose space for shows, with the magnificent Fontaine-aux-Lions-de-Nubie just outside.

- The City of Science and Industry, one of the largest European Science museums, which hosts many exhibitions and conferences and a thousand activities popularizing science and technology in a fun way.

La villete.

- The Geode, a shimmering sphere of stainless steel 36 meters in diameter, housing an exceptional cinema.

-The Cité de la Musique -built by the architect Christian de Portzamparc- and the Philharmonie de Paris -built by the architect Jean Nouvel- featuring 450 concerts and 3 major exhibitions a year. The roof of the Philharmonie offers, moreover, a superb panoramic view on the whole park but also on Paris beyond.

A little further in the park, the mythical Zenith is one of the most important concert halls in Paris, where the biggest international groups have played. Other places such as Trabendo or Le Cabaret Sauvage complete this broad musical program and participate in the rich offer of festivals and events in the Park and Halle de la Villette.