What will be the fate of airport art? Kelsey Corriveau visits the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport’s Rodin exhibition. 

Le Penseur

Le Penseur

Trapped in Paris? Doesn’t exactly sound like anyone’s idea of a nightmare. Yet if you are confined within the walls of the aéroport Charles de Gaulle after a flight cancellation the experience may not be a delightful extension of a French holiday.

I found myself in this position over our lengthy January break.  Bored and lonely, I wandered the halls of de Gaulle, wishing I had a fancy airport lounge to relax in or enough euros to treat myself to a tray of colorful macaroons. I was delighted, therefore, to come across a free slice of culture in hall M of terminal 2B.

After having the pleasure of visiting the Rodin gardens on rue de Varenne and at California’s Stanford, I was a bit shocked to come across some of modernity’s seminal sculptures in the middle of an airport. Yet Le Penseur stared down at me while the figures from Le Baiser embraced. On January 15th, the Charles de Gaulle airport inaugurated a mini museum to showcase rotating exhibitions of Parisian art. Rodin, as one of France’s most reputable artists, was chosen for the first exhibition in order to promote the idea.

Though the indoor airport location may not do Rodin justice, I found it to be a wonderful way to promote the artist’s work. The exhibition, which will last six months, is slated to receive double the visitors of the rue de Varenne Rodin museum in central Paris. I therefore urge you, next time you have the misfortune of missing a flight or an extended Paris layover, to make your way to terminal 2B for some culture (an perhaps an espresso to perk you up after a red eye flight).

If this airport-art experiment goes well, the Orly airport will begin to showcase contemporary art. If we are lucky, the phenomenon will spread internationally, making exhausting journeys all the bit more pleasant.


Kelsey Corriveau

Photo by Hansjorn