At 7 Rue George-Balanchine in the 13th arrondissement, on the Left Bank near the 2006 Josephine Baker Swimming Pool, is the Jardin James Joyce—the James Joyce Garden—in James Joyce Square. Constructed from 1996 to 1999, it was opened to the public in 1998.
Joyce never lived in the 13th arrondissement, and the garden has no statue or signifying feature that connects the place to the author. Nevertheless, this tribute bears his name and two signs on the perimeter fence.
Cobbled walkways lead to a large central lawn of 826 square metres (8,891 square feet), of which 664 square metres (7,147 square feet) are accessible to the public. A children’s playground and a fenced play area for ball games are close to the square. It has beds of perennial shrubs and a vegetal frame extending beyond the garden into the public space. In spring, daffodils bloom.
Local landscape designers Michel Desvigne and Christine Dalnoky constructed the garden.
Michel Desvigne graduated from the Lumière-Lyon-II Université—the University of Light Lyon 2—in botany and geology in 1979 and the National Higher School of Landscape in Versailles in 1984. Christine Dalnoky graduated from the National Graduate School of Fine Arts in Paris and the National Higher School of Landscape, where she met Michel Desvigne.
In 1986, Desvigne and Dalnoky won the architecture section of the Academy of France competition in Rome, making them the first landscapers to gain residency at the Villa Medici from 1986 to 1988. Returning to Paris in 1988, they established the landscape agency, Desvigne and Dalnoky, working mainly with public authorities in Paris and with European architectural agencies. From 1989-2002, the two landscapers collaborated on projects, including the design and construction of the James Joyce Garden from 1996 to 1999, opening it to the public in 1998.
After disbanding the Desvigne and Dalnoky agency in 2002, Desvigne established his own company, Michel Desvigne Paysagiste—Michel Desvigne Landscaper—in the 4th arrondissement. Among many awards, he received the medal of the Academy of Architecture in 2000, the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2003, the Grand Prize for Urban Planning in 2011, the European Prize for urban space development for the re-qualification project of the Old Port of Marseille in 2014, and the City and Brand Landscape Award in the iconic landscape category, Milan Triennial, Italy, in 2017.
In 2002, Christine Dalnoky founded the Landscape Workshop with Patrick Solvet in Gordes in Vaucluse. She received the ADF Prize in Spain for the water park in Zaragoza, in addition to other awards and achievements.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls