A couple of weeks ago I went to see a great exhibition at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine at Trocadéro. It’s on until Monday 9 March so I wanted to write about it while you still have a chance to go and see it. I’m not a fan of exhibition reviews that give too much away so I’ll keep it brief!
Designed by Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters, Revoir Paris presents a contemporary vision of the future of the city, paired with futuristic visions of Paris from the last two hundred years.
It is incredible to see what people of the past thought Paris would look like in our present. How different could the city have been if any of their ideas had come to be?
Of course the exhibition featured many references to Jules Verne and included plenty of illustrations from Alfred Robida’s 1883 book, Le Vingtieme Siecle (The 20th Century). These included flying cars, a hot air balloon station atop the Notre Dame cathedral and the people of Paris communicating by ‘telephonoscope’ (or Skype, as we have renamed it).
It also included this fascinating image by André Lurcat, an architect who believed that the Ile aux Cygnes should be redeveloped as a city-centre airport – not much different from plans for Boris Island in London I suppose.
All of these and many more, were placed alongside extracts from Revoir Paris, the 2014 graphic novel that depicts a futuristic Paris and tells the story of a 12th-Century utopian, Karinh, who explores Paris after a life aboard a faraway space colony.
The exhibition is light, easy-to-read and features a huge interactive display at the end that is not to be missed. It’s not a big exhibition – it took me about an hour to read every panel in the room.
It really got me thinking though – I wonder what Robida would make of our lives in 2015. Would he be impressed by our achievements in communication? His telephonoscope is now a reality through our smart phones, tablets and computers. But we don’t all have flying cars yet. Maybe in another 100 years…
The exhibition costs just 5euros and is well worth it. The closest metro station is Trocadéro. You can find more details on the official website here.
This video gives a taste of what to expect.