The important news of the day comes from where it was not expected as Paris beloved Jardin d’Acclimatation will receive a 60 million euros investment to become one of France’s top three amusement parks. The 19 acres park placemaking starts NOW and will run until May 2018 with nothing less than 17 new attractions, Jules Verne “steampunk” themed! More about this important news below and at the end D&M take telling you why it’s a bigger deal than it look.

Work to restore the historic sections of the park and to build 17 new attractions will begin on September 4 and is expected to last until May 2018.

Jardin d’Acclimatation is France oldest leisure park, opened in 1860 by Napoléon III as a zoo before becoming a children’s leisure park, complete with rides, in the 1930s. The 19-acre complex has been managed by LVMH – which has an 80% share in the park, in partnership with theme park and ski resort developer Compagnie des Alpes – since 1984. Last year officials renewed the company’s concession contract for another 25 years, until 2041, paving the way for renovations to the beloved site.

President of the park, Marc-Antoine Jamet, said: “Thanks to the renewal of our concession decided in September 2016 by the Paris Council, we have managed the park for 25 new years. This allows us to make considerable investments worth 60 million euros.” The Jardin d’Acclimatation is owned at 80% by LVMH group and 20% by the Compagnie des Alpes company.

Around 17 new Jules Verne-inspired steampunk rides and attractions will be built between September 4 and May 1 2018 as part of the €60m upgrades. Napoleon III-era structures, including the stables and aviary, will also be restored, while some 1960s structures will be demolished but long beloved attraction as the little train, the Enchanted River and the mirrors house will be saved.

Jamet explains: “The idea is to re-level everything without losing the traditional elements of the park.” For the LVMH group, the goal is to be the third best of the French theme parks (after Disneyland and Parc Astérix), achieving from 2 million visitors a year to more than 3 million. The aviaries will be renovated, with 5 themed areas to the continents and new occupants. New attractions will be steampunk themed. “We chose a unique aesthetic around the park to allow for exuberance, invention and fantasy. The challenge now is to have this special universe stick together at first glance with that of the more traditional park.”

The picture above seems to be a concept-art showing a vehicle of one of the future Steampunk rides.

LVMH is also working on another Paris attraction, located adjacent to the Jardin d‘Acclimatation, having unveiled plans in March to renovate the disused Musee National des Arts et Traditions Populaires. For the project, the aim is to turn the vacant museum into an arts and crafts centre in a €158m (US$187.7m, £144.8m) revamp by renowned architect Frank Gehry who did the gorgeous architecture of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, also close to the Jardin d‘Acclimatation.

Here is the Jardin d’Acclimatation release: “On September 4, 2017, as part of the renewal of its concession obtained last fall by LVMH, allied to the Compagnie des Alpes, the Jardin d’Acclimatation will undertake a major program of modernization and renovation of its 18 hectares. He will do so with a strong ambition: to be on the podium of the first three French leisure parks. It will do so with an essential promise shared with the City of Paris: to remain faithful to its origins while projecting itself towards the future.

The oldest leisure park in France will remain open to the public for the duration of the works which will end in May 2018. These transformations and improvements mark a new and decisive stage in the process of beautification and modernization that the Jardin d’Acclimatation has undergone over the last fifteen years. This dynamic has doubled the attendance of the Park and accommodate, under better conditions, two million visitors annually, Parisian, Parisians, tourists from all over France or abroad.

Defined in partnership with the City of Paris, but also in consultation with the Architects of the Buildings of France, the investment program decided by LVMH will mobilize nearly 60 million euros.It is part of the new concession of public service awarded by the Paris Council of 26 September 2016 to a group constituted at 80% by LVMH (which had been managing the fleet since 1984 on behalf of the City), against a minimum annual fee of two million euros to 20% by the Compagnie des Alpes, a major player in leisure parks in France. The two partners will finance their participation in the work to the extent of their financial commitment.

This project will restore the architectural heritage of the park, recompose its landscapes, offer its visitors a renewed, attractive and secure leisure offer, enable them to have redesigned services, whether catering or of shops. More than 30 million euros will be devoted to the rehabilitation of infrastructures and the enhancement of the architectural heritage, with architects Jean-François Bodin, Jim Cowey (Studios) and Didier Balland (workshop 24) landscape to make, under the direction of Philippe Deliau of the firm Alep, a space of walk unique and ecological, recovering the plans of the landscaper Barillet-Deschamps. 23 million euros will be allocated to the renewal of the emblematic attractions of the Garden and the installation of 17 new rides that will reconnect, in a SteamPunk style, with the history of the Garden. Particular attention will be paid to the development of the Small Farm and the welfare of the animals. A lesser weather dependency will be sought by covering some equipment. The digital ecosystem of Jardin d’Acclimatation will also be totally redesigned with a new website as a cornerstone.

True to its public service mission, the Jardin d’Acclimatation will remain open throughout the construction period, even if during some weeks or months, certain areas of the park will not be accessible at the moment (Village des Manèges, Petite Ferme and Grande Volière) . Ephemeral and seasonal animations will be developed. A village of fleeting rides will be installed in the central part of the park from 24 September.

Finally, to celebrate the future Jardin d’Acclimatation, the last day before the start of the thirty yards that will occupy the park for six months, on Sunday, September 3, 2017, will be completely free (entrance, rides and animations) and will end with a fire fireworks. “We keep everything you love. We invent whatever you like, “is the promise that the Jardin d’Acclimatation makes to the Parisians.”

And now, here is why it’s a bigger deal than it may look:

1) The Jardin d’Acclimatation is located at the heart of Paris, is a truly lovely place beloved by Parisians since one century, and has already 2 Million visitors per year. His location also makes it the closest competitor to Disneyland Paris in France, closer to DLP than the Futuroscope and even than the Parc Astérix. Access is much more easier too for Parisians.

2) Although the Jardin d’Acclimatation has visitors from all kind of social classes, most of them are living nearby and are coming either from Paris or Neuilly rich districts, the same high income families who are going to Disneyland Paris and may be tempted to less visit DLP where nothing really new is expected for 2018.

3) The opening ( or renovating ) of 17 attractions – even if it won’t be rides as sophisticated as at DLP is quite a big deal and will appeal visitors.

4) Chosing a “steampunk” theming is a genius idea for this place and will keep the beloved 19th century atmosphere and its “time capsule” feeling.

5) LVMH is the famous luxury brand ruled by Bernard Arnault, a man with extremely good taste and the Compagnie des Alpes partner is well experienced in theme parks as it rule several theme parks in France and Belgium, including the Parc Astérix.

As for me, who know the place since a looong time, and many years before most of you were even born, i can’t wait to see the final result!

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