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Paris in Miniature: a Labor of Love

Gerard Brion, an artist who lives in Vaissac, in the south of France decided he wanted to do something unique and unusual with his garden. He also likes to recycle which may have led him to his project which is Paris in miniature in his garden with all the landmarks being made from rubbish such as baby food jars, soup cans, and concrete blocks. The project which took Brion more than fifteen years to create has now become a popular tourist attraction.

The recreated city of Paris includes bonsai trees and other greenery such as boxwoods and water features for the Seine to duplicate the layout of Paris. Some of the miniature buildings he has created include the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Sacre Coeur. The gardens are lighted for nighttime views of Paris for the public to enjoy. The artist states that he feels the undertaking was worth it even with all the hours, patience and concentration the project required. He chose Paris because he loves the city and the architecture allowed him to fully utilize his architectural and artistic abilities. The use of discarded items to create the city of lights added an additional challenge that shows what can be done with garbage if you want to.

The artist does admit that his miniature village of Paris has become somewhat of an obsession. He continues to work on the village, spending many hours in his studio creating new miniature items to add to the magical village. Though the public are enthralled by his creations, the artist says that the village was really created for his own enjoyment.

Over the years, some of the buildings from the village have graced the rooms of museums in Paris but now the public can enjoy the village by visiting Brion at his home in Vaissac. Visits are by appointment with Brion providing tours of his creation several times a week. Currently the miniature village contains more than forty Paris buildings and monuments and more than 400 bonsais. The scale of the miniature village is 1:130.

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