Tuesday 24 August 2010

The Jardin Serge Gainsbourg

"J'suis l'poinçonneur des Lilas, le gars qu'on croise et qu'on n' regarde pas" sang Serge Gainsbourg, so it seems particularly appropriate that a new park at the Porte des Lilas should take his name. In several ways this park represents the new spirit of Paris city planning. During the opening of this eco-friendly park, Gainsbourg's ex-companion, Jane Birkin, pointed out that visitors would be able to picnic on the grass like in England, but it is more for its position that it is of interest.

The park has been built on top of land reclaimed from the périphérique motorway, and stretches from Paris across to the neighbouring town of Les Lilas. It is an example of Paris urbanisation that at last breaks through the physical and psychological barriers of the Thiers fortifications.

Is the park itself of any interest though? It covers a small area, but through intelligent landscaping it creates the illusion of being much larger. The features presently are not of the natural variety, with just a small pond and a few sapling trees currently in place, and it is more the winding concrete passageways and games of mirrors that catch the eye.

Where do the passageways lead? Climb up to the pinnacle of the park to find the answer - a viewing platform over the périphérique motorway. It's a post-modern joke that Serge Gainsbourg himself would have probably appreciated!


Tim said...

Judging by the first photo, the grass is still a touch patchy for picnic-styled ventures!...

Given how close it is to the Périphérique, what are the ambient noise levels like? I usually find that what makes or breaks an urban park/garden is how quiet it is.

Cergie said...

Quel joli petit garçon !

Adam said...

Tim: There isn't a lot of grass around to be honest, and it isn't in the best of condition. I guess it's a bit like the football pitch at the Stade Louis II in Monaco - grass doesn't grow very well when planted on concrete.

The park certainly isn't a quiet one, but that's more to do with the neighbourhood than the périphérique. Still, it is the Jardin Serge Gaisnbourg and not the Jardin John Cage!

Tim said...

Jardin John Cage - great concept... visitors would have to be silent for 4'33" before breaking into random snippets of noise.

I must say I've spent more time than is perhaps deemed healthy looking at the first photo... I just can't quite suss out the mirror system or what's being reflected. What you can see in the mirror doesn't appear to be a reflection of what should be there. All very enigmatic - could you shed any light on it all? Reminds me a bit of the cover of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" compilation album.

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