After looters, the graffiti artists were next to visit the abandoned holiday village in Pirou. For fifteen years they have created vibrant images on these crumbling walls, the local police asking only that they leave no rubbish. It was a colourful secret until early this year a drone film of the site zoomed around the internet. Now some of the artists deplore lowering standards, but not for long.
This outdoor art gallery will soon be torn down. Built just yards behind dunes that edge the Atlantic coast, Aquatour was to be a high-end tourist village of 75 houses, a hotel, a restaurant, tennis courts… Then after problems with finance and with permits, work stopped in 1992. The town of Pirou is seeking to claim the site and clear it. For safety, and for a development that will benefit the town.
Many of the larger paintings are already falling, attacked by winter storms. The artists are philosophical, as Syre said “from the beginning we were told that it will soon be destroyed” but we will miss this ever changing canvas.
Here is how it looked in September 2016.
The graffiti artist Romi grew up in Coutances, about fifteen kilometers from Pirou, and came by bike to create his first works: “Most graffiti artists begin in the city. I started in the countryside, in an abandoned place that gave unstructured shapes. It was a huge source of inspiration that helped me find my style. It was a hyper-exciting place with a special configuration: a prohibited playground but one could still enjoy. The porosity and fragility of the walls made the surface naturally renew from one year to the next.”
Brigitte, a teacher, discovered the site a decade ago walking on the beach after a very windy weekend. She remembers having had a strange impression when she discovered the first buildings: “From a distance I thought the houses had lost their roofs in the night. Approaching, I had the impression of arriving in Sarajevo, as if the city was at war. Then I discovered another world.”
The drone film from earlier this year, already some of the larger walls have fallen down since it was made.
The village fantôme is no more – November 2016 news item