Flying over Paris in the biggest balloon in the world (12.12.2011)

Flying over Paris in the biggest balloon in the world

JPEG The “Air de Paris” balloon takes off from Parc André Citroën in the very heart of the 15th arrondissement in Paris. At an altitude of 150 metres, the view over the French capital and its monuments is breathtaking. Elegant and environmentally friendly, the balloon is also a genuine indicator of the city’s air quality, as it changes colour regularly depending on the quality of the ambient air.

It is now possible to fly above Paris and see this extraordinary city from the biggest tethered balloon in the world at an altitude of 150 metres. The balloon is filled with 6,000 m3 of helium and is attached to the ground by a cable. Every 15 minutes all year round, it takes up to 30 adults per flight on a completely safe trip with no noise or turbulence, with the day’s weather conditions carefully taken into account.

The impressively sized Aéro30NG (34 metres high and 22 metres in diameter) is perfectly visible for a radius of up to 4 km. It was originally set up in the Parc André Citroën in 1999, as part of the celebrations to mark the transition to the new century in 2000. In the end, it became a permanent feature as a result of its immense success. Since its creation it has carried over 600,000 passengers.

But the spring of 2008 marked a world first: the “Air de Paris” balloon took on a new role as a spectacular indicator of air quality in the French capital. This technical achievement was instigated by three partners working with the balloon’s manufacturer, Aérophile: Airparif (the official organisation responsible for monitoring air quality in Paris), the City of Paris and the Banque Populaire group. Thanks to the balloon, the city’s air quality is now illustrated in colour and light. The Aéro30NG changes colour according to the level of the three most harmful pollutants present in the atmosphere: nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulate matter. Depending on the quality of the ambient air, the light system changes from green (good quality) to orange (mediocre quality) to red (poor quality) and provides an immediate insight into air quality. A complementary system based on a separate set of lights uses the same colour code to indicate air quality close to the city’s major roads.

To complete the experience, educational material is available to the public at the visitor centre in Parc André Citroën. This entertaining and educational exhibition uses a range of visual aids to familiarise visitors young and old with the pleasures of ballooning.

With around 60 balloons sold in 27 different countries by the manufacturer Aérophile, the world leader in the sector, the Aéro30NG also offers the pleasure of flying above other major cities, including Singapore, Berlin and Dubai, as well as the famous Angkor archaeological site in Cambodia. It also gives visitors a chance to enjoy a thrilling view of some of the world’s greatest theme parks, including Disney World in Florida and Ocean Park in Hong Kong.

Annik Bianchini


- www.airparif.asso.f

publie le 12/12/2011

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