On 8 June 2018, the new design of the Paris Métro station “Javel – André Citroën” was inaugurated. Our ACI Ambassador and grandson of the company founder, Henri-Jacques Citroën, was invited to reveal the history of his grandfather André Citroën and many historic facts and milestones about the famous “Quai de Javel” to the public.
The official press statement by Citroën Communications:
The new cultural development of the Javel – André Citroën station was unveiled this Friday 8 June in the presence of Anaïs Lançon, RATP Communication and Brand Director, Arnaud Belloni, Citroën Marketing and Communication Director, and Frédéric Lambert, RATP Services and Multimodal Spaces Director.
After a first successful partnership in the 1980s around an exhibition retracing Citroën’s history in the district, the two brands are joining forces again around a cultural project at the Javel – André Citroën station.
Citroën: a brand historically rooted in the Javel district
The district of Javel, originally known for its chemical plant founded in 1777 which produced a whitening agent known ever since under the name of javel (bleach in English), in 1915 accommodated a plant that André Citroën had built to support the war effort via the mass production of artillery shells.
Following the Great War, André Citroën used his motor vehicle experience, acquired in the management of the Mors plants, and converted his artillery shells plant to create his own motor vehicle brand. 99 years ago, on 4 June 1919, he thereby launched his first model: the Type A, the first Citroën but also the first mass-produced car in Europe; a real event. For several decades, the district of Javel would therefore see itself play a part in the history of French industry, being home to the production of many symbolic Citroëns: Type A, C4, C6, Rosalie, Traction, Type H but also SM and DS. A real hive of industrial activity extending over 22 hectares, the bastion of Citroën would total over 30,000 workers and set the tempo of daily life for this Parisian district until 1975, the year in which the Javel plant closed its doors with the end of production of the DS. Seven years later, the company permanently left the premises when relocating its headquarters.
Many homages are paid to the Citroën brand in the district, in particular with the addition of the name André Citroën to the Javel metro station, which on 8 June 1959 became the Javel – André Citroën station. In addition to this homage paid by the RATP, the whole district honours André Citroën. Thus, in 1992 the ‘parc André Citroën’ was unveiled in the same location as where the factories stood. The ‘quai de Javel’ (Javel quay) was itself renamed ‘quai André Citroën’ in 1958, and a public college located on rue Saint Charles also bears the name of the industrialist.
A new station development which honours Citroën’s history
As soon as you enter the station, information boards look back on the story of André Citroën and on that of the district of Javel. On the platforms, a large frieze retraces the history of Citroën with key dates and photos of the Brand’s flagship models. This original decoration skilfully combines the DNA of Citroën and that of the RATP by integrating, as a time line, the graphic design of a metro line that stretches the full length of the frieze. Another original component of this new cultural development: three touch screens allow passengers to access Citroën Origins (www.citroenorigins.com), Citroën’s virtual museum. How better to further immerse yourself in the Brand’s history, through 360º views of its models, but also photos and stories.
Cultural creation at the heart of the renovation of RATP spaces
From the Art Nouveau entrances of Hector Guimard to the monumental work of Tobias Rehberger (planned for the future Pont Cardinet station on line 14), via the Kiosk of the Nightwalkers (‘le Kiosque des noctambules’) on line 1, the Parisian metro and art tell the story of a relationship of over 100 years between the useful and the beautiful, which is displayed today in over 100 stations.
The Parisian transport spaces, used daily by 12 million people, are a unique place to enable and facilitate the coming together of art and history on one hand, and passengers on the other. Beyond its role as a transporter, the RATP, through all of its heritage and cultural actions, wants to ever further enrich the transport experience of its passengers by giving them moments of surprise, discovery and interaction. The new cultural development of the Javel – André Citroën station unveiled today fits in perfectly with this approach.
NB by ACI:
So far the official press release by Citroën Communications. For those who are into historical correctness of telling the Citroën history it should be noted that the vehicles shown on the pictures are representatives of the respective models but do not meet exactly the timeline/years printed next to it, e.g. the Citroën DS with “new front” (steering high beam lights behind glass) was launched autumn 1967 whereas the model itself was launched 1955 etc. The ACI has given back this comment to Citroën Communications at an early stage.