For the record Paris balloon or Ballon de Paris invites you to fly over the French capital aboard the world’s biggest hot air balloon, 150-m above the ground. You will discover Paris as you’ve never done before! Set since 1999 in Parc André Citroën, Ballon de Paris welcomes aboard up to 30 passengers during each flight.
Absent since early January, this Wednesday March 21, it’s a brand-new balloon that takes the spot of the former one. This operation takes place all day long. It consists in spreading the envelop, put flight instruments inside and gear, fold it to make the deployment easy when swelling it, before setting up the nest.
About thirty volunteers pull the canvas that weighs over 800kg, carry the gear, instruments and handle the 400 15-kg sandbags enabling to ballast the balloon during the swelling.
The second step, the actual swelling, needs a large window of light and steady wind. It lasts about 5 to 6 hours; 6,200 cubic meters of helium are injected into the 23-m wide envelop held by the nest itself ballasted by the 400 15-kg sandbags. About thirty volunteers will also work around the balloon to lower the sandbags until the southern pole of the envelop, which is 23-m down.
“The first captive air balloon has been set exactly 140 years ago, in 1878 by Henri GIFFARD in the Tuileries, and the operations looked a lot like the ones conducted this Tuesday. Paris balloon set since 1999 in Parc André Citroën is at its 5th swelling and it’s always the same delicate but very spectacular operation, because, in a few hours, a huge white sphere will rise in the sky” explain the two inventors of the balloon Matthieu Ghobbi and Jérôme Giacomoni, 25 years ago (Aérophile).
After the swelling operations, trial flights are led as soon as the weather allows it. After all the control visits of the aircraft necessary to its aeronautic certification, the GENERALI balloon will reopen to the public at the end of the week if the meteorological conditions are good.
This year, the new Generali balloon gets a virtual reality gear within the basket. An equipment – at reduced fee – will allow you to discover the panorama even if the meteorological conditions don’t allow the take-off.
In addition to offer a breathtaking view over Paris and its monuments, Paris Balloon is a genuine indicator of the Parisian air quality. As a matter of fact, in partnership with Airparif (a certified air quality oversight body in France), it changes color following the data on air pollution (from green/very good to red/very bad via orange/mediocre). All you have to do is to look up to know the air quality near the traffic.
By the way, it’s even easier to see the air quality now because the whole balloon can change color and no longer the drawings of the monument. Thanks to more developed devices, measures are also more precise. The balloon can even temporarily take on board a special radar to map in 3D fine particles in Paris sky.
How about giving it a go, friends? just a few more trials and you can get on board. Once you’re comfortably settled in the basket, the balloon quickly sets off in the sky, without a noise and sometimes a slight movement. Arrived at the top, emptiness surrounds us, which offers us an unobstructed view of Paris and its monuments, especially over the Eiffel Tower. It’s the occasion to rediscover the French capital under a brand-new angle!
From 24 March 2018 to 31 December 2018
Parc André Citroën
Rue de la Montagne de la Fage
75015 Paris 15
petits parisiens: Free
enfants -12 ans: 6 €
adultes: 12 €