Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Not to be disparaging, but the 12th arrondissement's post-modern police headquarters building would fit in nicely on a Las Vegas strip. The Paris building, with its row of 12 imitations of Michelangelo's Dying Slave (also known as the Captive), is the work of Spanish postmodern architect of renown, Manolo Nuñez-Yanowski. Built in 1991 on the corner of avenue Daumesnil and rue de Rambouillet, the ironizing statues are best viewed from the suspended gardens across the street, the Promenade Plantée.

The Promenade Plantée, created from 1988 thru 1993, is a 4.7 km park high atop the red-brick viaduct  of a discontinued urban rail line that crossed the 12th arrondissement.  Landscape architects left clearings in the shrubbery and trees for observation of the more interesting architectural elements along the narrow but long promenade--like the building above.
View of a section of the old railway transformed into the Promenade Plantée. Some ten meters above street level, the suspended garden begins behind the Opéra Bastille and continues, elevated, to the Jardin Reuilly, after which it descends, ending at the old terminus near the boulevard périphérique. 

At street level on avenue Daumesnil, the arcades of the viaduct were transformed into a designers' area, the Viaduc des Arts.  Fifty or so storefronts are there in which mostly high-end artisanal activities are carried on--such as violin-making, lacemaking or restoration of antique parasols. 

une enfilade:  a series, a row
un immeuble:  a building
une voie de chemin de fer:  a railway
le boulevard périphérique:  beltway
un paysagiste:  a landscape architect; a landscape painter

©2012 P.B. Lecron


  1. Happen on the passageway by accident years ago and always loved taking visitors there! So unique for this area of Paris!