LOGAN SQUARE — A little bit of Paris is shining on Logan Square.
Thanks to the heavy snowstorm that hit Chicago over the weekend, a large-scale snow sculpture of the Eiffel Tower has popped up along Logan Boulevard near Fransisco Avenue, bringing a temporary slice of Paris to Chicago — complete with twinkling lights and a homemade French flag.
Logan Square couple Barbara Kaufman and Olivier Crenon, who is from Paris, created the snow sculpture Sunday to bring some of his home to the neighborhood.
The couple got married last year and had planned to visit Paris this year, but last week’s news of France closing its borders again as coronavirus cases rise was a big blow to them, especially for Crenon, who has not been back to his hometown in over a year, he said.
The couple, both designers who are in the process of starting their own graphic design company together, decided on a whim to liven up Logan Boulevard — also their front window view — with the snow sculpture that took about two hours to make, Kaufman said.
“If we can’t go to Paris, we will bring Paris to us,” said Kaufman, who has lived in Logan Square for more than four years.
They added battery-powered twinkling lights and a French flag atop the tower that was made in Adobe Illustrator. They printed it on paper and laminated it with tape for protection from the weather.
Crenon said he had been feeling isolated and lonely, missing his hometown and uncertain as to when he will be able to visit his family again due to the pandemic. But the snowy sculpture lifted his spirits, he said.
“[The sculpture] made me feel more connected to my home country [because] it’s been 16 months since I went back,” Crenon said.
The community is loving the snowy Eiffel Tower, which has made rounds on social media. Neighbors near and far called the work beautiful, impressive and random, in a good way. The US French Embassy even weighed in on social media, congratulating the artists on the work and calling it, “Love at frost sight!”
And the real Eiffel Tower joined in the fun, too: The official Twitter page for the iconic Parisian landmark shared the sculpture on its social media page and wrote it was honored to be replicated in Chicago.
The couple said they were pleasantly surprised at the attention their sculpture received, especially from overseas. Kaufman said it shows that people are yearning for connection and a simple piece of artwork like the snow sculpture can make the biggest difference in bringing the community joy.
“We did not know it could be so appreciated,” she said. “To see all these people loving this puny sculpture is so great. It’s feeling like a close community of Francophiles.”
Crenon, who moved to Chicago in October 2019, said the outpour of love for the snowy Tour Eiffel from friends and strangers online has made him feel more connected to the local community and his faraway home, which now doesn’t feel so out of reach.
He hinted that more snowy French sculptures are in the pipeline, given the plethora of snow and more that’s on the way.
“The next one will be the Arc de Triomphe and maybe the Pyramide du Louvre,” he said.
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