Late artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude had a life-long dream of wrapping the Arc de Triomphe in fabric, with the hope that visitors would be able to freely experience their work—in this case by feeling the fabric that covers the monument. Now, their dreams have posthumously come true. Introducing L’Arc de Triomphe Wrapped—an installation that temporarily wraps the iconic Arc de Triomphe monument with massive sheets of shimmering fabric tied together with red rope.
Though Christo had wrapped buildings for six decades, he only began developing the plan for this recent project in 2017. The COVID-19 pandemic and environmental concerns over nesting kestrel falcons delayed its opening until after his passing in May 2020. The installation team, including project director Vladimir Yavachev, carried on the beliefs of Christo and of his partner Jean-Claude for L’Arc de Triomphe Wrapped, including the idea of accessibility.
“Early on 18 September, once we have finished adding all the ropes and the final details, the fences will be removed to allow the public to come, see and touch the artwork for free,” describes Yavachev. “Making their art accessible to everyone was always essential to Christo and Jeanne-Claude.”
This temporary installation officially opened on September 18, and the monument will remain wrapped for 16 days. In order for pedestrians to interact with the fabric, the Place Charles de Gaulle intersection will temporarily be turned into a car-free area.
You can find more work by Christo and Jeanne-Claude on our tribute to Christo where we remember our favorite large-scale environmental installations including earlier wrapped projects, “the gates” of Central Park, and more.