I must say Claes Oldenburg gets around. This time it was Parc de la Villette way out on the northeast border of Paris. Arguably this is four sculptures, individually of a giant-sized bicycle wheel, pedal, seat, and handlebar, but if you stand in the right place you get a Planet of the Apes feeling, realizing that the rest of the bike is buried, and you’re seeing only what’s still exposed to the elements. Oldenburg remains one of my favorite artists. (A bit of research tells me the sculpture, Bicyclette Ensevelie (Buried Bicycle), was a joint effort with Coosje van Bruggen.)

Bicyclette Ensevelie (detail)

Next on the agenda was La Défense. Technically it’s outside the city limits of Paris, which is what allowed them to build skyscrapers. I had expected to like La Défense, but the more I explored it, the more frustrated I became — it was too spread out and huge to be pedestrian-convenient or -friendly, yet there were too many steps to be bicycle friendly. Simply finding a way to get to a street to get out of there was a major ordeal. (I may well have found my way in on emergency-only pedestrian paths.) That said, the architecture is interesting in a future-dystopian kind of a way, and they do have an extra large Alexander Calder sculpture on display.

La Défense