Located on the Left Bank, Parc André Citroën is a 35-acre public park built on the site of a former Citroën automobile manufacturing plant, and named after the company founder. The factory operated between 1915 and the 1970s. After that, the site was freed up and included in the capital’s urbanisation policy, and eventually gave rise to the park.
Since 1999, the park has been home to a moored gas balloon. It allows visitors to rise above the Parisian skyline, and is currently operated by the Banque Populaire. The balloon is filled with 6,000 cubic metres of helium. It is 32 metres high and has a diameter of 22 metres. It is moored to the ground with a hydroelectrically-activated cable. It can rise to an altitude of 150 metres and has a carrying capacity of 30 adults, or 60 children. The balloon provides a view of the Champ de Mars, the River Seine, Basilica of the Sacré Cœur and the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral.
It was created at the beginning of the 1990s and was officially opened in 1992. Responsible for its design are French landscape designers Gilles Clément and Alain Provost, and architects Patrick Berger, Jean-François Jodry and Jean-Paul Viguier.
The park is built around a central, rectangular lawn of roughly 273 by 85 metres of size. At the eastern, urban end, it is embellished with two greenhouse pavilions, hosting exotic plants and Mediterranean vegetation, which are separated by a paved area featuring dancing fountains.
The southern edge of the lawn is bounded by a monumental canal — the ‘Jardin des Métamorphoses’ — composed of an elevated reflecting pool that reaches through granite guard houses, lined by a suspended walkway.
On the northern side are two sets of small gardens: the six ‘Serial Gardens’, each with a distinct landscape and architectural design, and a ‘Garden in Movement’ that presents wild grasses selected to respond to wind velocity at different rates. A 630-metre diagonal path cuts through the park, which constantly changes its nature.