Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Parc André Citroën

This park occupies 35 acres of land bordering the Seine (left bank), southwest of the Eiffel Tower. From 1915 to the 1980, a Citroën automobile manufacturing plant operated at this site. When the plant relocated, the city of Paris wisely determined that so much river front property should not be thrown open to developers, so it was decided to make half of this large expanse a public park; the Parc André Citroën opened in 1992.
However, it is one of the most unwelcoming and austere parks I have ever visited. It is decidedly geometric and modernist in design, with an overabundance of steel, glass and concrete. It boasts a canal and fountains, but about the best I can say for it is that visitors are allowed to sit on the grass, unlike other parks in Paris. There are two enormous greenhouses, and some of the gardens are sorted by color (all white flowers, all blue flowers).
All that said, this park is home to an attraction that will put a smile on your face and provide an unforgettable experience – the Ballon Air de Paris (Eutelsat), the world’s largest tethered balloon. Up to 30 people at a time can stand in the circular basket under a 100-ft. tall helium balloon and be gently lifted 450 feet into the air. Wonderful! Balloon ticket: 10€ per adult M-F, 12€ weekends; operates daily 9 am until dusk.
Métro: Javel or Balard; RER C Javel or Blvd Victor

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