Feargus O'Sullivan is a contributing writer to CityLab, covering Europe. His writing focuses on housing, gentrification and social change, infrastructure, urban policy, and national cultures. He has previously contributed to The Guardian, The Times, The Financial Times, and Next City, among other publications.
Alas, city transport bosses do not seem to have enjoyed this stunt as much as their riders.
A French artists’ collective gave the people of a Paris an unexpected Christmas present late last week: a giftwrapped metro train. Armed with rolls of wrapping paper and tape, a group from production company Sisaprod descended on the Paris Metro’s Line 8 on Friday morning. Smothering every surface in fuchsia-colored paper, within minutes the group had transformed a car into a festive photo opportunity. The purpose of the action? Simply “to enjoy ourselves and to give other people pleasure,” according to Sisaprod lynchpin Clea Polar.
Sisaprod have ambitions to take things further next time. “If RATP [Paris’ metro authority] want to do a project with us, then we could decorate an entire train” Polar told French site Itélé. Alas, it seems Paris transport bosses don’t share their enthusiasm. As soon as staff realized what had happened, the train was taken out of service and stripped back to its normal un-festive state.