Paris is slowly encircling itself in tramways. The latest tramway to open, connecting the disparate ends of several metro lines is the T3, which skirts inner Paris’ southern border. As part of the project, the RATP commissioned a series of art installations on or in the vicinity of the route. So it was with travel card in hand that I went, albeit a little too late, one Saturday afternoon, to see what I could see, so to speak.
The trip became somewhat of an art-hunt for all I had to help me was a cutting from a newspaper giving some approximate locations, and a metro map. Unfortunately, I was not able to experience the murmuring benches as the park they were in had shut. And I simply couldn’t find the installation called “Mirage” (even though Mary swears blind that she did). One of the best installations, in my opinion, was realised using just light. Where the tramway passes under the TGV lines coming out of Montparnasse, the bridge’s beams and columns are lit up in orange and blue at night time reclaiming an otherwise threatening space (and showing off the beautiful metalwork on the columns which must have been lost in darkness even during the day).
The tour finished with a sculpture on the middle of the bridge. This installation is by Sophie Calle and Frank Gehry (with RFR as engineers) and consists of a twisted metal alcove or shelter with a telephone inside. According to a sign inside, only Sophie Calle has the number and she occasionally calls the number and to talk with whoever maybe passing by. The sculpture is a a shelter from the wind, a womb high up over the river, isolated, yet connected. If you have a few hours to spare in the south of Paris, I recommend taking the time to take the tram.