All wrapped up: Arc de Triomphe in Paris covered in fabric

PARIS — Paris is known for its fashion, and one of the City of Light’s iconic landmarks made a fashion statement of its own Saturday.

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After three months of construction work, the Arc de Triomphe was completely covered with 270,000 square feet of silver-blue polypropylene fabric bound with red ropes, CBS News reported.

The 160-foot tall war monument was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 and completed nearly 30 years later. Its 12 radiating avenues are like spokes of a wheel at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.

Napoleon never envisioned this.

Covering the Arc de Triomphe in cloth was the passion of the late artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, CNN reported. Approximately 400 tons of steel beams served as a metal jacket around the monument, and the wrapping was completed by a team of climbers over a few days, the news network reported.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who wrapped the Reichstag building in Berlin and 11 islands off Miami, conceived the idea for the Arc de Triomphe in 1962, CBS News reported.

Jeanne-Claude died in 2009; Christo died last year, the network reported.

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Christo’s nephew, Vladimir Javacheff, oversaw the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe. He said he understood that traditionalists might be offended by the redressed monument.

“It’s very human, not of all of us to agree, but everybody is entitled to their own opinion,” Javacheff told CBS News. “And everybody’s opinion and interpretation is legitimate. They can, it’s a work of art. You can take it in so many ways.”

“L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped,” was unveiled for public view on Saturday and will remain covered until Oct. 3.

“No tickets are needed to see, approach, and touch the work of art,” the project website states, adding that “Place de l’Étoile will be closed to vehicular traffic on the weekend for pedestrians to enjoy the work of art.”

However, selfie sticks are prohibited in the pedestrian area and the monument, NPR reported. COVID-19 precautions are also in effect.


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