One year… thirteen illustrations. When we first interviewed cartoonist David Cessac, he said, “for me, the characters, the Parisians, are the most important, and they are the ones who define the character of the whole city.” In this anniversary video marking David’s one year mark illustrating the column “A Few Parisians” for Untapped Cities, videographer Enzo Van Erven captured David at work on the streets of Paris on a staircase near the Palais de Tokyo and the Boulevard d’Iena. It was particularly special for us to witness the process of creation and the moment where David’s sharp wit meets his talented drawing hand. To another great year, David!
Today’s cinematic Google Doodle honors André-Jacques Garnerin, who was the inventor of the modern frameless parachute. Garnerin’s successful parachute jump occurred 216 years ago today, on October 22, 1797. On that day, Garnerin ascended in a Montgolfier hot air balloon until he was at an elevation of approximately 3,000 feet. Then he cut the rope connecting his balloon and parachute. While the balloon continued its ascent, Garnerin and his silk parachute descended into the middle of a large crowd of onlookers located in Paris’ Parc Monceau. Today, visitors to the park can find an illustrated plaque honoring Garnerin’s historic achievement.
If you only saw the sleek office of architect Alain Dominique Gallizia in Boulogne Billancourt just outside Paris, it wouldn’t reveal the street art fiend behind the man. But if you visited his atelier, it’s an entirely different story. The entire building is tagged and he invites visitors to make their mark on the building. Untapped Cities contributor, Anne Claire Pasquet, an artist in Paris, recently visited and shared these photographs. She even spray painted her own work inside the building.
Nicolas Géant tending to his bees on the rooftop of the Grand Palais in Paris.
As bees are becoming the latest species moving toward extinction, many beekeepers in Paris are finding urban rooftops to be a great place to harvest and house their honey. Urban beekeeping has been on the rise, doubling in numbers in New York and London between 1999 and 2012. In Paris, many famous tourist spots are only a few of the locations throughout the city with movable frame hives like the one pictured above located on its rooftops. Among the documented hives are those located at Opera Garnier, Notre Dame de Paris, Grand Palais, and the National Assembly in Paris. Certain hotels like the Mandarin-Oriental and the Eiffel Park Hotel also house bees on their roofs–and they sell their honey at a steep price too, around 15 euros for 150 grams (about 20 bucks for a third of a pound)!
At first when you watch this video of an empty Paris, you might think to yourself that this could just be Paris in the early morning. But then you see large boulevards like the Champs-Élysées completely barren, and the Périphérique highway which circles Paris devoid of cars. Then there’s the Eiffel Tower and Champs de Mars empty. La Defense looms like an overbuilt patch, post apocalypse.
Alex Chinneck’s installation in Cliftonville features a house with a sliding façade. Photo via Dezeen.
Here’s a roundup of what the Untapped staff is reading this week:
The Front of this House is Sliding Off (kind of)
Visit the seaside neighborhood of Cliftonville––a coastal area in the town of Margate, England––and you’ll quickly stumble on a surrealist surprise. Amid a row of ordinary private residences on Godwin Road, there’s one house whose façade literally droops to the street. The house, once a dilapidated, weed-ridden shell earmarked for social, is actually an installation by artist Alex Chinneck, despite his signature lack of signs, plaques, or other indications on the art itself. Despite a year of attempting to secure the rights to use the building, the installation itself only took six weeks––and it is remarkably convincing.