When you talk about “Paris Rive Gauche” you may more immediately rather think about the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain-des-Prés… The name is however also linked to a project which was started during the 1990’s concerning an area in the south eastern parts of Paris which used to be mainly industrial. The starting point was the creation of the new National Library (Bibliothèque François Mitterrand) with its four “towers”… and a lot of activity underground. The area concerned is situated between the rail tracks to the Gare d’Austerlitz (see previous post) and the Seine. The rail tracks will obviously one day be more or less covered. Along the rail tracks, there is an old storage space, “Halle de Freysinnet” (named after the inventor of “prestressed concrete”), which was condemned to demolition, but now finally will be preserved as an historical landmark. It’s already today used for expositions, fashion shows… (see previous post).
Since the 1990’s, the renovation of the area is thus ongoing. Architects have had a lot of freedom to create. Today there is a mixture of residence, office and institutional buildings.
Some of the old industrial buildings have survived and have been transformed as e.g. a former flour-mill and store, “Grands Moulins de Paris”, now occupied by different university activities, …
… “Distribution d’Air Comprimé” which manufactured compressed air and now is occupied by a school of architecture.
A more particular old cold storage is also still there, but is today used in a different way. I will revert on that place in a special post.
The construction work is not finished.
It was a fresh, windy and rainy
November April day when I walked around. The café
terraces were desperately empty.