Loved up couples arm in arm strolling the streets, snuggling in warm cafés, kissing on steps…it’s enough to make a girl want to adopt a perfect stranger for the day. Handsome, debonaire, with a small dog and a large smile…oh that’s right they’re taken…sigh. Instead I create my imaginary composite and just as I’m having a gay old time window shopping with ‘Jacques’ I stumble upon ‘the wall’. The ‘I love you’ wall! Or more precisely the ‘Mur des Je t’aime‘.
Forgetting about Jacques I examine the wall, feel even more lonely, shed a tear then toughen up. I promised reports on the lesser known gems of Paris my friends and I will deliver! And this one’s particularly special.
Frédéric Baron created the concept and Claire Kito, an artist who practices oriental calligraphy, assembled the script. Their collaboration resulted in a wall composed of 612 squares of blue enameled lava on which the principle languages and dialects of the planet feature in the form of the words ‘I love you’ – 311 times and in 250 languages. The splashes of red on the fresco represent parts of a broken heart, symbolizing the human race which has been torn apart and which the wall is attempting to bring back together.
Just above is Rita Hayworth by artist Rue Meurt d’Art, and a loose translation is, “Loving is chaos… so, let’s love.” To the right of Rita you can see a ghost. That’s Ava Gardner who originally graced the wall. C’est une mystère… The monument, dedicated to love, stands in a Square at the Place des Abbesses in Montmartre. Jacques and I concur – it’s a must see for lovers, after all Paris is the city of love.