1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Christo's dream come true

September 18, 2021

With the protective barriers removed from around the famous arch, people can get up close to the transformed war memorial.

Wrapped Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile
Wrapped Arc de Triomphe: a spectacular installationImage: Vincent Koebel/NurPhoto/picture alliance

The Arc de Triomphe, wrapped

A spectacular artwork wrapped around a monument was unveiled in Paris earlier this week — the 50-metre-high Arc de Triomphe wrapped in fabric, a long-held dream of late Bulgarian-born artist Christo, who died last year, and his late wife Jeanne-Claude.

Wrapped  Arc de Triomphe, people standing around the monument in den sun
Decades-old dream fulfilledImage: Samuel Boivin/NurPhoto/picture alliance
View of wrapped arch from below
25,000 square meters of materialImage: Thomas Samson/AFP

The couple had first imagined wrapping the monument 60 years ago, but neither lived to see their vision come to life. "We spare a thought for Christo and Jeanne-Claude," said French President Emmanuel Macron as he inaugurated the artwork from atop the monument. The artists were known for elaborate, temporary creations that involved covering public places with fabric.  

The imposing war memorial that looms over one end of the Champs-Elysees has been wrapped in 25,000 square meters (270,000 square feet) of silvery blue recyclable polypropylene. 

Vladimir Yavachev, man, arms crosed, smiles into camera, behind him the Arc de Triomphe
Vladimir Yavachev: Project financed by sale of Christo worksImage: Lisa Louis/DW

"L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped" was realized by Christo's nephew, Vladimir Yavachev in coordination with the Pompidou museum and French authorities. The installation cost about €14 million ($16.54 million).

Wrapped Arc de Triomphe, arch up close, street light in the back
Beauty of the formImage: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency/picture alliance

The monument, a Paris landmark, is also home to a tribute to the Unknown Soldier, in the form of a flame of remembrance that is rekindled every day. The installation will stay in place until October 3.

db/mg (AP, Reuters, AFP)