PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and ski resort operator Compagnie des Alpes kick off a nine-month, 60-million euro revamp of a Parisian leisure park next week.
The start of the infrastructure overhaul of the 157-year-old Jardin d’Acclimatation marks the culmination of a two-year process for the luxury goods giant, which has operated the park under a series of agreements with the city of Paris since 1984.
“We wanted to modernize and transform the park,” said Marc-Antoine Jamet, secretary general of LVMH.
“It has been a pretty long process,” he added, noting that as many as 100 people were mobilized from the two companies, including specialists in landscape design, construction and amusement park rides to draw up the proposal for the city’s approval.
Located on the western edge of the French capital, the park is to remain open during the revitalization.
LVMH brought on Compagnie des Alpes as its partner last winter. The leisure company is best known for operating France’s answer to Disneyland: a theme park based around the Gallic comic hero Asterix.
The Compagnie des Alpes brings experience operating park attractions, drawing up new ticketing systems and drumming up visitor numbers via tour operators. The team has set the ambitious goal of increasing the number of visitors by a million to reach three million per year in 2025.
LVMH has already worked on increasing visitor numbers, which have grown from just over a million in 1995, by investing an average of two million euros each year in the park over the past decade. The Fondation Louis Vuitton, an art museum that opened in 2014 and is nestled up against the southern edge of the park, has also brought new visitors to the park. Housed in a cloudlike structure by architect Frank Gehry, the Fondation has already played a significant role in generating the park’s largest crowds over past two years, according to LVMH.
“For the past 15 years, we’ve tried to make sure that the park is not the same every day, but that each time one finds something different here,” said Jamet, citing street performances including fire eating and other activities. The 44-acre park offers activities like gardening, cooking and hip-hop workshops for children.
With teams of architects, landscape planners and builders of amusement rides, the partners will tear down buildings constructed over the years without permits, renovate historic buildings, bulk up indoor activities and restore pathways to their original form. The park was traditionally a place where foreign species became acclimated to the local climate. Now, rather than featuring wild animals in cages, the emphasis will be on domestic animals that people can get close to, Jamet explained.
Around 27 million euros will be invested in amusement rides, including three roller coasters and a flying boats ride.
Biodiversity is another theme of the new park, which is to host science fairs and other activities to promote sustainable development, as well as rehabilitate a river cutting through the park.
Under the terms of their 25-year concession agreement, the companies will pay at least two million euros to the city of Paris a year, three times the current amount.
The infrastructure project is scheduled to end in May 2018.