Saturday April the 9th will see the 2nd International Obscura Day organised by the team at the Atlas Obscura website. It will be the opportunity to attend a selection of fascinating events around the world, including one that I will be running in Paris.
After attending last year's Paris event at the Musée Fragonard, I was determined to organise one myself in 2011. After thinking for some time about possible venues, I decided that the best option would be an exploration of the Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale, in a remote corner of the Bois de Vincennes.
The Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale was primarily the site of an experimental plant nursery which attempted to find ways to produce and transport tropical food plants to the French colonies around the world. In 1907 though, it was also the site of a strange colonial exhibition where 'natives' of these colonies lived in camps under the curious eyes of the Parisian visitors.
After being allowed to decline and rot for decades as a secret, locked away location, it is today a public garden, but ghostly traces of the past remain in its decaying structures and wild shrubbery.
The gardens should be spectacular in these first days of Spring, and are wonderfully photogenic. However, I will also give full details on each of the zones, and will present documentary evidence of both the gardens and the colonial exhibition in their previous incarnations.
To sign up for the event, limited to 30 people, click here: http://obscuraday-jardin.eventbrite.com/
Note that the meet up time for the event will be 10.30am at the Nogent sur Marne railway station (RER A), roughly 20 minutes from the centre of Paris.