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Bubbles, vegetables and biodiversity in Paris

December 3, 2010

Paris has been sprouting various little green events in recent days…..

First there were the bubbles (les BULLES in french), little igloos of serenity filled with plants and designed to be a haven away from the crazy life outside. Four carefully selected busy spots (Montparnasse station, the Comedie Francaise Theatre, Bercy Village and on Boulevard St Germain)

We queued up in the freezing cold for the “bulle” outside the Comedie Francaise; there wasn’t exactly much to do in the interior, but I rather got the feeling this was the idea. Time to stop, reflect and take a break with the overriding idea that nature is good for us and has a very positive effect on the human psyche. Plus it was surprisingly warm and cosy. This “bulle” was decorated with orchids that were very beautiful and we felt transported to a South American jungle. We struck up a conversation with a lady who was off to Bolivia the next day to go back to her real native jungle. It did feel a bit like being in the Tardis (for you Dr Who fans)…

Next stop Montparnasse station where the little “bulle” was being regarded rather suspiciously by those scurrying people passing by, more concerned by rushing off on their weekends away. No queue at all here so we marched straight in and had a chat with the man watering the plants here, mostly ferns and lianas this time. Indeed we had the confirmation about the whole “time out” effect. Even though the idea was sponsored by the Dutch plant and flower association, and designed by floral designer Amaury Gallon there was no direct commercial objective, but rather a sustainable approach to urban life encouraging people to appreciate their own little part of nature and re-energise a little.

In Bercy Village we didn’t go into the bubble (more queuing here for what was called the psychedelic show), but the Christmas lights were very pretty and instead we looked at the photo exhibition scattered around the walls.

Fruity Rubix cube

These were the remnants of an international photo competition with a culinary theme and it was a bit off beat. The theme chosen for this years edition was vegetal (fruits, vegetables, cereals, herbs & spices, grasses, flowers, spices, …)

Full list of prizewinning photos can be found at

Last, but most definitely not least, the Luxembourg station (RER line B) has opened a giant photo exhibition on Biodiversity that will run until 11 July 2011. There are only 6 photos, but they are BIG! (16m long x 6m high) Photos of ants, plankton, molluscs and bacteria all in high resolution, something for all the family, if you are not squeamish about bugs!

It illustrates the work of researchers at the “National Centre for scientific research” as a result of the “2010 Year of Biodiversity”.

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