It's not often that one of the world's most iconic landmarks gets a makeover, but this fall, Paris's Arc de Triomphe is getting a temporary new look after more than a year of delays due to the pandemic.
Last year, internationally known artist Christo had plans to wrap the arch in 270,000 square feet of silvery blue fabric and 23,000 feet of red rope – both recyclable. Unfortunately, the pandemic and France's strict lockdown measures delayed the project, and Christo passed away in May 2020.
The idea of enveloping the Arc de Triomphe in fabric first came to Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, in 1962 when they lived in a small rented room near the Parisian monument. Although neither of them will be there to see their vision come to life, the piece, titled "L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped," will move forward after Bastille Day on July 14, 2021.
Construction on the 14-million-euro project is expected to last 12 weeks, with the grand unveiling of the new look scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. The piece will then be on display for 16 days through Oct. 3. Deconstruction will then begin right away to prepare for Armistice Day in November.
"We can do this project without him today because [Christo and Jeanne-Claude] already drew up every visual and artistic aspect of it. This project is 100% Christo and Jeanne-Claude's project. It was his wish that this should happen even after he was gone. We are just realizing his vision," Christo's nephew, Vladimir Javacheff, told The Guardian.
Christo is also known for his work wrapping other landmarks like Berlin's Reichstag and Paris's Pont Neuf. In June 2018, he created another large-scale public art display with more than 7,000 oil barrels floating around Hyde Park in London.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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