Tag Archives: Rue en Faces

Paris Wanderlust: Fences & Benches

Fences & Benches

Paris outdoes even herself in transforming mundane street and park furniture into vehicles of elevated consciousness. In Jardin Joan-Miró, ordinary park benches metamorphose into enigmatic sculptures that are also familiar and useful.

Jardin Joan-Miró (13e)

Ditto the undulating layers of this sidewalk bench:

Benches in the form of open books invite a meta-reading experience:

Square Gabriel-Pierné, 5 Rue de Seine (5e)

Fences also have captured the imagination of artists, as in the spectacular Birds of Passage gracing a vocational high school. It was created by teachers and their students, and inspired by the lyrics of a song by Georges Brassens.

Les Oiseaux de Passage, Lycée Professionnel Chennevière Malézieux, 33 Avenue Ledru-Rollin (12e)

Bas-reliefs of celebrated persons who lived in the Grands-Moulins neighbourhood, such as Louise Bourgeois and Olivier Messiaen, enlighten an otherwise nondescript fence at Diderot University:

Rue en-Faces (13e)
Signed bas-relief of French composer Olivier Messiaen

Below, the angles of the fence echo the geometrical theme of the Tour Triangle complex beyond (under construction):

1 Place de la Porte de Versailles (15e)

Tour Triangle is a pyramid-shaped skyscraper to be built at the southern border of the City of Paris. The triangular structure in the distance (above) isn’t that tower (as I first thought), but rather a monumental canopy at the entrance to a pavilion. The Tour Triangle itself hadn’t yet risen as of 2019. More about the enormous and controversial undertaking of Tour Triangle in a later post.

While we’re at Tour Triangle, here’s some edgy seating on the grounds:

Eye-catching bridge railing at Jardin Joan-Miró:

40 Rue Gandon (13e)

Below, I’m reposting two wavy-line fences of Jardin Atlantique, the park above Gare Montparnasse. They seem to epitomize Paris’ talent for creating public spaces that are stylistically contemporary but that also memorialize the past. The waves and pine trees evoke the scenery of Brittany, which was historically connected to Paris by a railway leading to Gare Montparnasse.

Jardin Atlantique, Place des Cinq Martyrs du Lycée Buffon (13e)

“Scribbled grass” fence at Les Halles:


Below, a lovely low fence at Jardin de la Place Souham. Like a shadow lantern, the fence’s perforations create meditative patterns on the stone walkway, as do the tall backlit grasses.


Mock log railings add counterfeit rusticity to Parc Montsouris:

2 Rue Gazan (14e)

I’ll end this post with an unassuming apartment complex that has been transformed by park benches and greenery into an inviting place to call home.

Next: Hillside Parks

Camille Martin