An exciting project that we were lucky enough to be at the launch of was the lighting up of the Tour Perret. This is an iconic tower build for the International Exhibition of Hydropower and Tourism in 1925. This exhibition was organised in 1925 to launch Grenoble as the “Capital of White Coal” or clean energy. It came a real surprise to learn that Grenoble was a key player in the development of the hydropower industry and has been at the heart of this form of renewable energy for almost a hundred years. The tower is in the heart of the Parc Paul Mistral Grenoble – the site of the exhibition – in the heart of the city. It was built as a view point for the Exhibition so that people could see the spectacular alpine surroundings of Grenoble. It’s 84m high and truly impressive.
As the first reinforced concrete tower to be built in Europe it is now a national heritage site. It closed in 1960 but in recent years people have started to work to save this impressive monument.
A collaboration between the University of Grenoble and the City Council was celebrated with a light display from within and a gathering of young and old. The light show was created by students from the university who also worked with local schools to allow them to programme their own individual light shows to be performed at the tower.
We were there as the guests of Marie-Christine, President of the Alliance Grenoble-Oxford and even got to meet the mayor. It was wonderful to see many young children having a go at programming the computer and seeing the results for themselves as their programmes were used to run the light show on a mini Tour Perret that evening.
After the light show, which was a spectacle of lights and music, there was food and drink. Delicious canapes, cake, local wine.
Photo credit: Jeudi 09 juillet 2009 Illumination tour perret © JM Francillon / Ville de Grenoble 2009