In the US we are pretty used to gardens and green lawns even in the city. Where I live in LA, the main streets may not have a lot of vegetation, but just one block over apartments and houses are surrounded by grass and trees. Only in the densest urban jungles are there no greenspaces.
It came as a surprise to me when I lived in Florence, how little public greenspace there is. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that the streets I was walking on had been paved for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. I became starved for greenery. Sometimes restaurants would have potted hedges around their outdoor tables and I would ask to be seated next to them. I started taking long rambling walks outside the city center just to get to some open space that was not paved.
When I saw this project by Gaëlle Villedary in the small town of Jaujac in France. I remembered how I had sought out the bits of green all those years ago.
This town looks to be situated in a valley and so is surrounded by trees on the hills. However, the center of town is still pretty grey.
This is the town square, it is pebbles, not grass. However, they do have some lovely trees. Including this one (by the little girl) that is hollow underneath!
Tapis Rouge! celebrated the 10th year of the arts and nature trail programs in Jaujac, and was intended to connect villagers with the surrounding valley. The instillation was comprised of 1,400 feet of green turf with a weight of 3.5 tons.
This works seems like it would have the indented consequence – had I seen something like it that fall in Florence I would have followed it like the Pied Piper wherever it might lead.
This cute video follows the whole length of the grass ribbon. You can see the occasional tree, but the ground is always either paved or covered with crushed rock.
All images from Gaëlle Villedary’s website
photos by David Monjou