Activists Target Louis Vuitton Building on the Champs-Élysées

PARIS — The future Louis Vuitton mega-complex on the Champs-Élysées was targeted by activists on Saturday.

A video circulating on X, formerly known as Twitter, in the late afternoon and attributed to freelance reporter Tiphaine Blot shows banners spelling the words “Tax the rich” and bearing the logo of activist organization Attac hanging from the trunk-shaped hoarding of the building.

According to a statement published by Attac on its website, a group of 50 militants used the building’s scaffolding to reach the roof to unfurl the message and disperse flyers for its “Super-profit, ultra-riches, méga-injustice” campaign, with one side mimicking an 80 billion-euro bill.

The activist organization is calling for reinforced taxation of ultra-rich individuals and corporations to finance social and climate emergencies.

French news agency AFP reported that a group of around 100 people, including Attac members and other organizations, congregated on the other side of the street. Videos on social media showed a small gathering cordoned off by police.

Police presence remained heavy in the early evening, with the banners still present on the building but demonstrators were no longer present.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The striking hoarding located at numbers 103 to 111 on the Champs-Elysées, next door to Vuitton’s historic flagship opened in 2005, was also the subject of a complaint by the Green environmentalist political group at the Council of Paris, a body responsible for governing the French capital.

The city’s Green councilors demanded its removal, questioning the legality of the hoarding, which it considered as advertising and an encouragement to over-consumption.

Under French law, hoarding on listed buildings can be put in place to finance renovations but the size of adverts must not exceed half of the space, according to the filing lodged by Green councillors.

The request was rejected at a Feb. 8 session of the Paris Council, with first deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire saying that the giant trunk was not considered advertising as the building belongs to the French luxury group and is considered temporary hoarding classified as brand signage.

Taxation on the hoarding, which is expected to remain in place until 2027, will amount to 1.7 million euros, and the installation and design were approved by the Architecte des Batiments de France, which oversees listed buildings.

The Art Nouveau-style building was originally a hotel, the Élysée Palace, built for the 1900 Paris Exposition. Mata Hari was arrested there in 1917 on accusations of spying, and it closed two years later, another casualty of the First World War.

The under-construction site is earmarked to be the luxury brand’s future mega-complex on the iconic Parisian throroughfare, with precise plans for the building still under wraps. A construction permit registered with the city of Paris mentions retail, hotel accommodation and the construction of a basement level and interior courtyard.

It hosted the spring 2024 show of Vuitton’s artistic director of women’s collections Nicolas Ghesquière, when guests discovered its interiors draped in orange tarpaulin generally used for hot air balloons.

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