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Q&A - Christo project

Will there be a different visitor circuit inside the monument?

Oui, car la terrasse du monument, elle-même empaquetée, restera accessible. Le public pourra profiter de la vue sur Paris tout au long de l’empaquetage, tout en faisant l'expérience sensorielle de marcher sur la toile.

How did the project come about?

In 1961, Christo and Jeanne-Claude began creating contemporary artworks in public spaces. In 1962, Christo produced a photomontage of the Arc de Triomphe wrapped, followed by a collage in 1988.

In 2017, during discussions with a view to the exhibition ‘Christo and Jeanne-Claude - Paris!’ (1 July - 19 October 2020), Serge Lasvignes (then President of the Centre Georges Pompidou) and Bernard Blistène (director of the Musée national d’art moderne) asked Christo to work on a project in parallel. With the support of the two institutions (Centre Georges Pompidou and Centre des monuments nationaux), he received the necessary authorisations in January 2019.

The entire cost of the project is covered by the Estate of Christo V. Javacheff, who was able to finance the project thanks to the income from selling his original pieces (drawings, collages, montages, etc.). None of the costs will therefore fall to the taxpayer or the Centre des monuments nationaux, responsible for the Arc de Triomphe.

Can the work damage the monument?

No. The project is carried out under the close control of the state urban-planning architect, curator of the monument who ensures it stays intact. The fabric will be held away from the monument’s features through systems that will protect the ridges, cornices and, of course, the sculptural groups and tableaux.

Will the view be the same when the installation is on display?

Yes, the monument’s roof terrace will stay open. The public will be able to enjoy the view of Paris throughout the period when the monument is wrapped. So it will also be possible to see the work as closely as possible by walking on the fabric.

Can I get a piece of the fabric used for the work?

The artist has planned to give people who go to Place de l’Étoile a piece of the fabric used to wrap the monument. Cultural guides will be on site to hand them over free of charge while the wrapping is on display. However, no-one is authorised to sell these samples or take them straight from the work.

To find out more, read our historical articles: (in French) http://www.paris-arc-de-triomphe.fr/Explorer

Will there be toilets that are accessible?

Visitors with a ticket will be able to use the Arc de Triomphe toilets. Public toilets will remain accessible at the street corner between Avenue des Champs-Élysées and Avenue Marceau.

Why continue this project after the death of Christo and Jeanne Claude?

Christo worked on L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped right until the very end, before passing away on 31 May 2020. Supported by his team, he approved each step, each technique, and each material used. It was his and Jeanne Claude’s wish that their unfinished projects would be completed even after their deaths. 

Why will the installation be on display for only 16 days?

This duration is the one the artist specified. The work is temporary. It transforms its subject and environment only for a limited period. No material aspect of it can remain. The work will be nothing more than a poetic memory for those who got close to it, just like the wrapping of the Pont Neuf bridge in 1985.

The wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe will be on display from 18 September, so will be visible during the European Heritage Days. It will be on display until 3 October so that people can make the most of this temporary work. The disassembly phase has been planned for the Arc de Triomphe to get back its usual look by France’s national ceremony on 11 November 2021.

Où prendre les meilleures photos de l’œuvre ?

Christo and Jeanne-Claude work is meant to be accessible to anyone. Wherever you are, wether you are on the Champs-Elysées or nearby on the Place de l'Etoile, you can take a picture.
The Arc de Triomphe roof terrace will be open to the public for the whole duration of the project. Anyone with a ticket will be able to reach the roof terrace and take photographs, but not for professional use. To find out about the possibility to take professional photographs, please contact the monument’s communication department at the following address: contact.arcdetriomphe@monuments-nationaux.fr

Has the Arc de Triomphe ever been covered or wrapped in its history?

Yes, partially, when it was unveiled on 29 July 1836, especially to reveal the name lists displayed under the small vaults. For Victor Hugo’s funeral, the top of the monument was covered in a black crêpe veil. And finally, in 1989, the artist Catherine Feff completely covered it using scaffolding during works to restore and consolidate the monument. However, this time, the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe by Christo and Jeanne-Claude will hug the monument’s outline perfectly.

Does the work respect the environment?

Yes, Christo and Jeanne-Claude wanted their temporary monumental works to always respect the environment. The 25,000 square metres of fabric and 3,000 metres of rope will be recycled after the exhibition. It was also environmental reasons that pushed the wrapping, first planned in April 2020, back to September 2020 (then to September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The Centre des monuments nationaux decided on this postponement alongside the LPO (French association for protecting birds) to protect kestrels during their nesting period in the Arc de Triomphe.

How can the Arc de Triomphe be entered during the wrapping?

Entry to the monument will be modified somewhat to ensure the best possible safety conditions for everyone. Visitor-flow control measures might be introduced as an exception to ensure visitor safety, especially in the pedestrianised ground-floor area. 

How much will it cost to go up to the roof terrace of the Arc de Triomphe when the installation is on display?

€16. When the installation is on display, there will be a single fee for anyone to follow the visitor circuit in the monument, including the roof terrace. This fee will apply from 18 September to 3 October 2021. Entry will be free for children aged under 7 years. Visitor-flow control measures might be introduced as an exception to ensure visitor safety, especially in the pedestrianised ground-floor area.

Where can I buy spin-off products related to the work?

Spin-off products relating to the work by Christo and Jeanne-Claude will be available for sale in the Arc de Triomphe gift shop and in the gift shops of the Hôtel de la Marine and the Hôtel de Sully, two monuments overseen by the Centre des monuments nationaux. The latter two gift and book shops are free to enter.

Can I book for a group?

No, the monument cannot welcome groups while the wrapping installation is on display. Group bookings are being put on hold to help manage the flow of visitors. 

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