The history

Some key dates

  • 1879 : Hangar Y is built from elements of the machine gallery of the World's Fair
  • 1884 : the building hosts the world's first closed circuit airship flight
  • 1914-1918 : during the First World WarèFirst World War, the building is used to build tethered balloons
  • 1921 Following the Allied victory, the building houses the first Air and Space Museum to highlight France's military triumph
  • 1936-1973 the hangar becomes a place of conservation and presentation of the reserves of the Air and Space Museum
  • 1973 : the Air and Space Museum moves its collections to the site of Le Bourget airport, where it is still located today
  • 1981 : the Hangar Y closes its doors to the public and will be unused for forty years
  • 1990 : Hangar Y becomes the property of the Ministry of Culture
  • 2000 : the Hangar Y is classified as a historical monument
  • 2018 : The French government signs its first BEAV with the Culture and Heritage Group to restore the site as a destination at the crossroads of history, culture and science
  • 2020 : The entrepreneur and great patron of culture, Frédéric Jousset, joins the project and allows the conversion of this historic monument into a cultural and event venue, versatile and ambitious, which will host a rich multidisciplinary, participatory and inclusive program
  • 2022 : during a pre-opening organized in October during the Paris+ fair, the Hangar Y unveils part of its new spaces and presents a first artistic program that gathers 10,000 visitors in 3 days
  • Spring 2023 The Hangar Y building and grounds reopen after forty years of closure and more than two years of renovation work


Spread over three major areas - the hangar, the park and the undergrowth - the Hangar Y site bears a centuries-old heritage rooted in the history of our country. Since the 16th century, the area located in the south of Meudon and on the edge of its national forest has been the site of major architectural, aeronautical and artistic innovations, which the reopening to the public in the spring of 2023 aims to enhance.

With its iron structure and exposed bricks, its glass roof that bathes its interior with light and its curved and symmetrical lines, the Hangar Y is an emblem of the industrial architecture of the late 19th century centuryècle. In 1878, when Paris had just closed its 3rd Universal Exhibition on the Champ-de-Mars and dismantled its ephemeral buildings, the Hangar Y was a symbol of industrial architecture.ères, a section of the Great Gallery of Machines was reused to build an airship hangar a few meters from the Meudon forest. At a time when France was considerably developing its war arsenalthe search for vast spaces to adapt to the latest advances in the army was becoming increasingly important.

This is how Hangar Y came into being in 1879. Designed by the architect Henri De Dion, Gustave Eiffel's teacher, to whom we owe the famous tower of the same name, the structure used to build the building offers multiple advantages. Its layout, with a central nave and a mezzanine on each side, makes it easy to cross the building in its entire length - 70 meters! - and to apprehend it from different points of view. Thanks to its large glass roof and its 23 meters high ceiling, the place benefits from a great luminosity while being protected from the strong heat by its northern exposure and the many trees which surround it.

A laboratory for aeronautical innovation

The first airship hangar in the world, the Hangar Y (name defined after the military parcel "Y" where the building was rebuilt) was one of the cradles of French aeronautics from the late nineteenth century to the Great War. It was in this "aerostatic establishment of Chalais Meudon", as it was originally called, that the world's first successful flight of a closed circuit airship, designed by Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs, took place in August 1884. Made from carbon-free energy, this aerostat led to a real revolution in the field of transport:Following these decades of research, the first airships could then from the early twentieth century leave the closed circuits to finally take to the air.

Until the end of the First World War, the Meudon building was used to test and manufacture airships, captive balloons and observation balloons. Following the Allied victory in 1918, it became three years later the host of the first Air and Space Museum, allowing the public to discover the treasures of aeronautics and their role in the defense strategy of France during the conflict. In 1936, part of the museum was moved to the 15th arrondissement of Paris before it was closed by the Germans. Its collections were then repatriated to Hangar Y to be kept there until 1973, when they were moved again to the Le Bourget site where the museum finally settled and reopened its doors.

An exceptional garden designed by the landscape architect of Versailles

Located on a part of the vast domain of the royal castle of Meudon, which was destroyed by several fires before being partially rebuilt, the site of the Hangar Y contains a fragment of the historical garden imagined by André Le Nôtre, official landscape gardener of King Louis XIV, on the latter's order. During the year 1680, the master builder of the famous gardens of the Palace of Versailles built a 3 kilometer long perspective that linked the castle to the forest of Meudon.

In the heart of the Chalais-Meudon park, the area occupied by the Hangar Y now covers 9 hectares, a part of the 17th century French garden has been preserved. Open to the horizon thanks to the pruning of the trees into straight lines, its Grand Perspective offers an unobstructed view of the greenery and allows one to appreciate the symmetry of the geometric forms that delimit the vegetation and the paths, or the very ordered lawn of the Tapis Vert - all emblematic elements of the classical style. 

A few decades before Le Nôtre's intervention, a large hexagonal basin had been laid out in the park. Restored since then, the Chalais pond, crossed by the Tapis Vert, now offers a peaceful setting in the heart of the site, bordered by its historic reed bed, its pontoons that were once used by fishermen, and surrounded by several benches for relaxing moments.

At the initiative of the project

Didier Gouband

Fascinated by the history and heritage of France, but also by its democratization, Didier Gouband cut his teeth in the largest event agency on the market and then created the first gastronomic staging company in 2001, which he managed for six years. After a return to event communication where he held general management positions, the businessman gradually decided to combine his skills in event management and adaptation to all types of audiences with his love for artistic and historical places. Thus, after partnering with director Luc Besson in the management of the Cité du Cinéma through his subsidiary BLUE Event, he created in 2016 the Culture et Patrimoine group, aiming to offer a unique tourist offer by bringing back to life some of the most important French heritage sites. It is through this activity that he undertook in 2016 to revive the Hangar Y in Meudon. With the agreement of the French government, his group signed a 35-year lease in 2018 to rehabilitate the site and turn it into a multi-purpose, event and cultural destination, where art and culture, science and innovation, and of course nature and leisure meet. In 2020, during a meeting with Frédéric Jousset, the two men shared their values and ambitions for the Hangar Y project and decided to join forces. Frédéric Jousset became the majority investor, while Didier Gouband was able to devote himself fully to the operation of the site.

Frédéric Jousset

Entrepreneur, adventurer and philanthropist, Frédéric Jousset began his career in marketing in the cosmetics industry before co-founding Webhelp in 2000, a leading company in customer experience management outsourcing. Owner of the Beaux-arts Magazine media group, this great lover of art and thrills is creating in 2019 the international foundation Art Explora, whose major objective is to democratize access to culture for as many people as possible through several actions: the ArtExplorer museum boat that will sail the Mediterranean from the end of 2023, artist residencies in Paris and soon abroad, a European prize in partnership with the Academy of Fine Arts for initiatives to democratize art or the development of educational and fun digital platforms. In 2020, the businessman and patron of the arts is launching the ArtNova impact investment fund, dedicated to cultural and creative industries and heritage. This is how he became associated with the Hangar Y project and enabled the conversion of this historic monument into a multi-purpose and ambitious cultural and event venue, which will host a rich multidisciplinary, participatory and inclusive program.

A place rehabilitated in the respect of its history and its environment

For forty years, the Hangar Y remained disused and closed to the public, opening its doors only on rare occasions. However, the French government was interested in the historic building: in 1990, the Ministry of Culture, then headed by Jack Lang, acquired the property, before the building was classified as a historic monument ten years later, like the national domain of Meudon. If a restoration project of the nave was started in the late 2000s and the roof was restored in 2008-2009, it was not until 2012 that Didier Gouband, president of the Culture and Heritage group, made the discovery. Seduced by this exceptional place although damaged by the years, he sees a great potential to exploit.

Having crossed the centuries, the heritage estate delimited by the Hangar Y is the first in France to be the subject of a BEAV (long administrative lease of valorization) acted by an agreement between the French State and private structures, signed in 2018 for a period of 35 years. In 2020, the entrepreneur and great patron of culture, Frédéric Jousset, joined the project and allowed the conversion of this historic monument into a cultural and event venue, versatile and ambitious, which will host a rich multidisciplinary, participatory and inclusive programming. The renovation of the site by the VINCI Immobilier Group was carried out with the support and expertise of the DRAC and Ateliers de France, which oversees the restoration of historic monuments.

The entire renovation of the site was designed to preserve the natural environment, respect the history of the place and be as energy efficient as possible. In order to maintain the hangar at a suitable temperature, for example, the air is recycled with cold air, allowing a pleasant and airy space to circulate in all circumstances.

The redevelopment of the park and the pond is part of a more global approach initiated by the Ministry of Culture and the City of Meudon for the entire national domain of the city. The aim is to give new life to the famous 3 kilometer long perspective traced more than 300 years ago by André Le Nôtre, part of which crosses the Hangar Y site.