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New Paris Art Exhibits & Musical Highlights 2019/2020

New Paris Art Exhibits & Musical Highlights 2019/2020

Now that La Rentrée is complete, it is time to start trip planning in the winter and into 2020.  Here are a few highlights that begin with visual arts and exhibits.

Théâtre du Châtelet

The Théâtre du Châtelet will reopen in September after a 30-month renovation.  A sumptuous theater, but at the same time with an intimate audience space.  One tremendous idea of the co-directors is to introduce an idea that people who purchase tickets for a show buy extra tickets for those who cannot afford them.  What a refreshing idea!  Along with avant-garde theater, the Théâtre du Châtelet will perform An American in Paris from November 28, 2019 until January 1, 2020.

Léonard da Vinci Exhibit

That is correct.  The French do not call him Leonardo, rather Léonard.  Buy your tickets now for the sensational celebration of Léonard da Vinci at the Louvre.  From October 24, 2019 until February 24, 2020.  You can get priority access by becoming a Friend of the Louvre.  Add this to your trip planning as the main event.  Then, schedule other things around this once in many, many lifetimes opportunity.  I am trying to make it to see this!

Leonardo, Virgin of the Rocks.

Skip Mona – this is on the wall with no one looking at it!!!!  Next to other masterpieces by him – bonus – and people walk by with no clue.

A change at the Louvre you definitely need to know.  If you have a museum pass, you must now reserve a time to enter the Louvre.  Best advice on visiting – go when it opens or go on a Wednesday or Friday late afternoon or evening.  The Louvre is open until 9:45pm on those two days.  (You don’t want me to gush about how enchanting it is to visit the Louvre in the nighttime.)  Remember, Tuesdays, the Louvre is closed.  You can always buy timed entry tickets online as well.

Grand Palais Exhibits

Three extraordinary events are coming to the Grand Palais!

El Greco

First, we know him as El Greco, but the name of the exhibit is GRECO from October 16, 2019 – February 10, 2020. This is the FIRST retrospective in France dedicated to El Greco!!! What a bonus for Paris! From the Grand Palais’ site: “Attracted by the incredible promise of the El Escorial site, the artist brought Titian’s color, Tintoretto’s audacity, and Michelangelo’s heroic style. This eloquent combination, original yet consistent with his own way, gave El Greco (who died four years after Caravaggio) a unique place in the history of painting, as the last grandmaster of the Renaissance and the first great painter of the Golden Age.”

El Greco

Toulouse-Lautrec

Second, on October 9, 2019, the exhibition TOULOUSE-LAUTREC, Resolutely Modern opens. It is another retrospective, and the last one was in 1992. It runs until January 27, 2020. Rather than focusing on what is called, the “Montmartre Culture,” this exhibition explores his art, on its own. And, in the Grand Palais’ site, it states, “By giving too much weight to the context and folklore of the Moulin-Rouge, we have lost sight of the aesthetic, poetic ambition which Lautrec invested in what he learned, in turn, from Princeteau, Bonnat, and Cormon.” It should be fascinating.

Toulouse-Lautrec

Paris Photo

Third, and not the least by far, is Paris Photo. From November 7-10, 2019, you can see amazing art under the glass ceiling of the Grand Palais. “Paris Photo is the largest international art fair dedicated to the photographic medium and is held each November at the historic Grand Palais in Paris. Since 1997, the Fair’s mission is to promote and nurture photographic creation and the galleries, publishers, and artists at its source. Paris Photo brings together up to 200 exhibitors from across the world, offering collectors and enthusiasts the most diverse and qualitative presentation of photography-driven projects today. Leading galleries showcase historical and contemporary artworks from modern masters to young talents.” From https://www.parisphoto.com/en/fair/About/.

That is three events in one space to consider in your trip planning.

Jeu de Paume

Photographs by Peter Hujar are coming soon to the Jeu de Paume in an exhibition, Peter Hujar Speed of Life. In keeping with its goal of promoting mechanical and electronic imagery of the 20th and 21st centuries, it stays on the cutting edge. From October 15, 2019, until January 19, 2020, Hujar’s work will entice visitors into the beautiful building where court games were once played. The press for this exhibit describes the artist as, “In his loft studio in the East Village, Hujar focused on those who followed their creative instincts and shunned mainstream success. He made, in his words, “uncomplicated, direct photographs of complicated and difficult subjects,” immortalizing moments, individuals, and subcultures passing at the speed of life.” From the Jeu de Paume’s website. Also on view late 2019 and early 2020 are exhibits of work by Daisuke Kosugi and Zineb Sedira.

Palais de Tokyo

October 14 – RÜFÜS DU SOL.  In the Yoyo at Palais de Tokyo.  An amazing venue for this Australian group to perform!!!

Also, from October 16, 2019, until January 5, 2010, Futur, ancien, fugitif is an exhibition of contemporary works from artists of varying ages, living throughout France and other countries. None of the artist’s work is in the same medium or in the same method. All of the invited artists will answer and explore similar existential questions through their works. Like many of the other exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo, this one sounds like it will be interesting and mind-expanding.

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

Sorry, but this gem will be closed until the fall or winter of 2020 for renovation and enlargement.  Obviously, the word has gotten out that this place is a must see – the number of visitors doubled between 2016 and 2018.  Put it in your trip planning at some point.

Musée de Luxembourg

You can see more than just the garden over at Luxembourg Palace. Just next door to the French Senate complex, the small Musée du Luxembourg museum often hosts fascinating exhibitions. And, it is true for The Golden Age of the English Painting, from Reynolds to Turner.

From September 11, 2019 to February 16, 2020, if you happen to be in Paris and want to see a dose of English painting in Paris. This is the ticket for you.

Musée Jacquemart-André

Not into English painting? What about paintings from the Italian Renaissance? If so, make trip planning a priority to see, The Alana CollectionMasterpieces of Italian Painting. In this unprecedented loan, seventy-five masterpieces from Italian masters will hang in the sumptuous rooms of the Musée Jacquemart-André. From September 13, 2019, until January 20, 2020, admire works by Lorenzo Monaco, Fra Angelico, Uccello, Lippi, Bellini, Carpaccio, Tintoretto, Veronese, Bronzino, and Gentileschi.

Musée Maillol

One hundred works from ‘Naïve’ artists (“Called ‘modern primitives’ by one of their ardent supporters”) soon will grace the Musee Maillol in the exhibition entitled, From the Douanier Rousseau to Séraphine, The Great Naïve Masters. From September 11, 2019, to January 19, 2020, you can be mesmerized by the seemingly simplistic art by André Bauchant, Camille Bombois, Ferdinand Desnos, Jean Ève, René Rimbert, Dominique Peyronnet, and Louis Vivin. From the museum’s site: “By combining a historical, analytical, and perceptive approach to the works and their presentation in the exhibition, the Musée Maillol will unveil the subversive dimension of Naïve art and will present these Naïve, primitive, modern, or anti-modern artists as great artists who ran counter to the avant-garde artists.”

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Charlotte Perriand: Inventing a New World will be on view from October 2, 2019, to February 24, 2020. The website for the Fondation describes the exhibit, “To mark the twentieth anniversary of the passing of Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), the Fondation pays tribute to her as an architect and visionary creator through an exhibition of her work exploring the links between art, architecture and design.” Charlotte Perriand worked with both Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in her youth. She designed interiors for the art of living, “L’Art de Vivre,” with the idea that everything working in conjunction, beautifully, creates a better place for all of us.

charlotte perriand

Furniture and interior by Charlotte Perriand on exhibit. Jacques.delacroix, Meubles Charlotte Perriand, CC BY-SA 3.0

And, for an abbreviated round up of highlights from the performing arts….  There is just soooo much happening in Paris…..

Opéra National de Paris

Over at the Opéra National de Paris, at both venues – Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille – of course, there are some of the most in-demand events in the world. Well-known operas from Madam Butterfly to Don Carlo, but also with lesser-knowns, like Les Indes Galantes and Boris Godunov. Plus newer works like Lear. And, the opera is performing a few works from Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

On the ballet and dance front, the troupe is performing a Balanchine tribute from February through April 2020, Giselle in January and February of that year. But, from January 18-29, the ballet will perform Debussy and Ravel together for a cosmic performance. Described on the website as, “Guided by her perpetual fascination for the relationship between pure movement and music, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker takes up Prélude à l’après‑midi d’un faune with the dancers of the Rosas Company. The performance continues with L’Enfant et les sortilèges, a tale written by Colette and finely orchestrated by Ravel. In Richard Jones and Antony McDonald’s production, the singers of the Academy suffuse this work with the freshness of youth.”

As well as many concerts and events. And lots of “Young Audience” events that are great for all ages. Each seems like it is a can’t miss engagement.

Philharmonie de Paris

Okay, the Philharmonie de Paris has about 500 concerts each year – of every kind of music. Plus, it has a museum and mounts exhibitions. A LOT is happening. Some interesting and fun events are the movies where the orchestra plays the music. Yes, live music at a movie. Take a look at the calendar once you have your dates and make a plan to visit this incredible venue. The building alone is worth a visit, but add in talented musicians and singers and performers and you have a guaranteed exciting time.

philharmonie de paris

Inside the Philharmonie de Paris. Photo by BastienM, Paris-Philharmonie1, CC BY-SA 4.0

Even if you lived in Paris, I don’t know how you could see all of these incredible opportunities to learn and experience more!

La Rentrée – 10 Ways to Embrace and Celebrate

La Rentrée – 10 Ways to Embrace and Celebrate

La Rentrée is upon us.  The end of summer is here and it is time for re-entry to the world of work and school – La Rentrée.  Such an apt word to describe getting back into the routine.  Yes, it is foreign to us (no joke).  The French take the month of August off work, so it is really a total mindset adjustment when work and school begin again.  Imagine the hardship!!!!

And, because this summer is over after having been particularly hectic, are a few ideas that may help for La Rentrée.

10 Ways to Embrace La Rentrée

Embracing re-entry after leaving the shores of the Mediterranean sounds impossible. And, I agree. How can anyone be happy to leave the “sud-life” to go back to the grind?

But, to get back down to the Riviera, work must be done to earn the euros required to enjoy the holiday. So, it may not be easy to embrace La Rentrée, but here are a few ideas. It doesn’t have to be a grind! Make La Rentrée a new part of a fun fall.

1. Head to the nearest brasserie and indulge with a plateau de fruits de mer.

What could be more reminiscent of time near the water than huge platters iced seafood? Lobsters, clams, oysters, shrimp, mussels and mignonette sauce. Refreshing and briny to bring you back to the “sud-life.”

2. A pique-nique in a garden.

The weather will be cooler and the leaves will begin to change soon. Spread your blanket under a giant tree and bust out the bread, cheese and foie gras! Bring some red wine, real plates, real cutlery, and real glasses. Make it special. Enjoy life at home just like you did on vacation.

3. Buy some new sheets or new towels. Go shopping.

Think about the little luxury you wanted before vacation and put it in your shopping cart. Fresh, crisp sheets and thick, absorbent towels will put you right as rain.

4. Put exercise back in your routine.

Re-entry can be less stressful if you carve out some time to exercise. Whether it is walking, running, going to the gym, swimming. Make some time to get your body back into physical well being. It will help with the routine of school and work. Plus, you will be keeping that body in shape for next summer’s fun!

5. Get your children a new, fun and useful school bag, lunch box, or outfit.

Just a little something will help the children ease into re-entry as well. Remember, it is just as hard for them to start a new “work” year. A little something special, something they choose, not picked by you, will help everyone’s feelings.

6. At least for a few weeks, try to plan dinner ahead so you can shop effectively at the grocery store.

Looking at recipes for quickly prepared meals and making lists is such a time saver. See what sides, salads, and mains you can make without much time, or all in one sheet pan in the oven, and make them work to your advantage. Lists help so much!!!! One for what to have for dinner and one for the ingredients to make them happen.

7. Speaking of food…. try to recreate a great recipe or meal that you had during the summer.

You may not be surprised to find a recipe or many recipes for that memorable meal online. Many times, restaurants list nearly all of the ingredients in the menu. Other times, if it is really good, others have thought the same thing and posted their own recipes recreating special foods. Or, if you are really creative and have a great food sense and memory, start trying it out on your own. Who knows, you may create something you like even better.

8. Didn’t see all of your friends over the summer? Now is the perfect time to catch up.

Pull out your calendars and compare schedules for the upcoming weeks. Plan a coffee or cocktail date and put it on the calendar in pen. Then, you can discuss your summers and also commiserate over La Rentrée.

9. Do not over-schedule!

The surest way to bomb at re-entry is to over schedule. Before accepting invitations for play dates and dinners, take a deep breath, take your time and look at your calendar. You need some time at home. Downtime with just the family. Or, so the children can study, you can get ready for the next workday, and everyone can have a few minutes without being overwhelmed with things to do.

10. Eat dinner together as a family.

After making your lists for dinner and ingredients, and making sure you aren’t overbooked, have dinner with the family. Find out about the new school schedule, re-hash (quickly) the bad parts of work, and move on to talk about plans for the future. Find out what is happening now that re-entry is in full swing.

What is your best advice to ease the re-entry?

…ease into La Rentrée…

Inrap and “Tromelin, the Island of Forgotten Slaves”

Inrap and “Tromelin, the Island of Forgotten Slaves”

After the destruction of multiple historically important medieval buildings, Victor Hugo wrote an article in 1825, “Guerre aux démolisseurs!” (“War on the demolishers!”). Hugo’s article and widespread support for his idea led to the start of protecting historic monuments.  But historic monuments are only part of the history that can be found at a specific location. Up until fairly recently, developers and contractors have been able to build on apparently empty spaces without any investigation into the ground below or preservation/conservation of what was found in the ground.

In other words, if contractors dug up the ground and found historic artifacts, they could disregard the ruins below and immediately continue with their constructions.  All without any preservation or study of the site, or the objects.

Even if they found Gallo-Roman or Medieval ruins, burial grounds, roads, temples, etc…., nothing would have to be conserved. Ignore that history and keep on building!  This article is a bit dense.  But, stick with me and hopefully you will appreciate Inrap and its work with Tromelin.

Inrap

Obviously, tearing up and throwing away ancient ruins was not good.  After multiple scandals involving the destruction of large and significant finds around the turn of the 21st century, France enacted laws that require an archeological study of building sites.  Inrap is the department tasked with preventing the loss of archeological heritage on land, and in water, and providing the results of those studies to the public. Inrap is short for, “Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives.” Or, in English, “French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research.”

This is a tremendous task given that the land of France is dotted with scattered sites from pre-written history, to Roman times, to sites as recent as WWI and WWII.  The published results from Inrap’s work are fascinating and widely diverse.  It seems that the archeologists are finding more and more mesmerizing works every day!

Graffiti from soldiers in caves during WWI; thousand-year-old footprints in Normandy; a ritual Jewish bath from Medieval France; Gallic warriors from 3 and 4 centuries BC; hunter-gathers in Paleolithic times – they find it all in France.  And with more construction, more astonishing archeological ruins are found and investigated.

The Utile

Through its research, and its obligation to provide information to the public, Inrap helps with various public exhibitions.  These exhibitions generally display the work of this important organizations.  One of these exhibitions in which it played a significant role is, “Tromelin, the Island of Forgotten Slaves.”  The final stop of this traveling exhibition is at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris from February 13, 2019 until June 3, 2019.

The exhibition explores the French East India Company’s, Utile, and what happened to its passengers.  The Utile was shipwrecked in 1761 on a desert island in the Indian Ocean.  Along with its French crew, the ship was carrying an illegal cargo of 160 enslaved Malagasy people.  (Malagasy are natives of Madagascar; Malagasy in French is Malgache.)

On the desert island, French and Malagasy survivors made a raft to try to return to Madagascar.  Leaving 80 surviving Malagasy people on the island with a 3 month supply of food, the French crew sailed away promising to return to rescue them as soon as they reached Madagascar.

The ones who left the island never returned for the survivors.

Tromelin

Fifteen years later, a Frenchman named, Bernard Boudin de Tromelin, captained his ship to the island and rescued the only remaining survivors: 7 Malagasy women and an eight-month-old Malagasy child.  The remote island remains a French territory and is now named, Tromelin Island, in honor of the rescuer.

Inrap Research Expeditions

Since the 2000s, Inrap has played a decisive role in thoroughly researching all historical details of enslaved peoples during France’s colonial period.  Because the location included a shipwreck, Inrap formed a collaboration with the Naval Archeology Research Group (le Groupe de recherche en archéologie navale, or GRAN).

Both groups wanted to collect as much information, using the latest technology, and as comprehensively as possible. In multiple expeditions between 2006 and 2013, the organizations conducted historic, archeological and environmental work on the island and in its waters.

The Exhibition

The culmination of this research and the efforts of other participating organizations is the public exhibition, “Tromelin, the Island of Forgotten Slaves.” It is divided into three sections:  examining the slave trade in the Indian Ocean; the archeological information collected about the enslaved people, their culture while on the island, their food, life and death; and finally, memorial.

Since 2015, it has been traveling to various cities of France with great success.  Now, it makes its last stop in Paris at one of the great museums in France.

Information

“Tromelin, The Island of Forgotten Slaves”
(“Tromelin, l’Île des Esclaves Oubliés”)
Musée de l’Homme
Address: 17 place du Trocadéro, 75016
Nearest Métro: Trocadéro; exit at “Avenue Paul Doumer – Musée de l’Homme”
Official website of Musée de l’Homme: http://www.museedelhomme.fr/en
Musée de l’Homme (Museum of Man) is part of the National Natural History Museums in France and it presents the evolution of humans and human societies.  It occupies one side of the gargantuan Palais de Chaillot (across from the Eiffel Tower).

Palais Chaillot; Museum of Man; Inrap Exhibition

Interested in Inrap?  Read more here. The site even has an extract of a film about the enslaved Malagasy who were abandoned on the island.

Cultural Highlights – Visual and Performing Arts Coming to Paris Spring 2019

Cultural Highlights – Visual and Performing Arts Coming to Paris Spring 2019

Spring 2019 Cultural Highlights

Visual and performing arts again take center stage when planning a trip to Paris.  Along with organ concerts and musical performance at many churches, take a look at this super short list of exciting events.  They may be enough reason to start planning now.

UPDATE: See New Paris Art Exhibits & Musical Highlights for Fall 2019 and into 2020.

Visual Arts

Love Oceania?

Musee du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac hosts a comprehensive exhibition on Oceania from March 12, 2019 until July 7, 2019. On the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific region, encompassing the 25,000 islands of Oceania, he introduced the Western world to Oceanic peoples and their art. From the museum’s website, “Across this vast, scattered territory in which each archipelago island and land has managed to preserve its own unique characteristics, artists nonetheless share universal questions, issues, and reflections. Featuring painstakingly sculpted canoes, jade ornaments, ritual figures, and contemporary videos and installations, Oceania reveals how tradition and ancestral memory coexist with the visionary and sometimes critical perspective that these artists have of their society and the rest of the world.”

Palais de Tokyo

Palais de Tokyo

Various exhibitions and site-specific installations fill the huge spaces here. From Julien Creuzet, Theaster Gates, Julius von Bismark, to Louis-Cyprien Rials and more. These young artists are exploring world societies norms and histories and putting it right in front through cutting edge art.  Open from noon to midnight every day except Tuesdays. Buckle up and take a look at the exhibits filling the Palais de Tokyo.

Calder-Picasso

Calder-Picasso

“Calder-Picasso” is on view from February 19, 2019, until August 25, 2019, at the National Picasso Museum Paris (Musée National Picasso-Paris).  This exhibition will be a rare chance to see together approximately 150 works by these two 20th century masters. Negative space or the void is the focus of the show. Should be an interesting mash-up.

The Orient of the Painters, from Dream to Light

Orient of the Painters

From March 7, 2019, until July 21, 2019, the Musée Marmottan Monet mounts “The Orient of the Painters, from Dream to Light.” This show presents Orientalist paintings along with the theory that abstraction had its birth in these Orientalism paintings. (During the 19th century, the “Orient” to the painters in Europe was generally the Middle East and North African countries. The distant exotic lands had only been revealed through Napoleon’s conquests and the return of stories and trophies.) The paintings are alive with vivid color and fantastical scenes. May have to make a return trip to see this show or at least hope for a catalog.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Closed for rehanging and installation.  Reopens March 15, 2019.

Performing Arts

Opéra National de Paris – Bastille

Opera Bastille

Over at the Opéra Bastille, enjoy timeless favorites by recognized masters of opera. Or, see the experimental, Tree of Codes. What about the not too often performed, Prince Igor by Borodine? Or, Rameau’s opera-ballet, Les Indes galantes?

Palais Garnier

Opera Garnier Interior

Celebrate the 350th anniversary of Opera in Paris at the Palais Garnier on 08 May 2019. The incredible diva, Anna Netrebko, will perform along with Yusif Eyvazov. Throughout the remainder of the spring season, Mozart, Verdi, and Donizetti are on the stage, as well as many ballet performances. All are in the sumptuous red velvet and gilded surrounds of the famous opera house.

Philharmonie de Paris

Philharmonie de Paris

photo © William Beaucardet

Find a variety of concerts, chamber music, choral works and solo singing performances in the spring.  Berlioz’s Requiem, Rachmaninoff’s Vespers and even Benjamin Brittan’s War Requiem.  Where else can you hear these?

Modern Dance

Theatre National de Chaillot

Theatre National de Chaillot

Théâtre National de Chaillot offers a selection of interesting and arresting dance performances.  Just reading the titles of the works is enticing:  Some Hope for the Bastards by Canadian, Frédérick Gravel; Nederlands Dans Theater’s, Subtle Dust; Catherine Diverrès’, Blow The Bloody Doors Off!

 

15 Lesser-Known Museums in Paris

15 Lesser-Known Museums in Paris

Everyone knows the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, but in Paris, there are plenty of opportunities to find lesser known museums.  Most of these are kind of double-headers as museums go.  The house or building is an outstanding work of art along with the art that is inside.  Make sure to put a few of the two-for-ones on your Paris List.

1.  Musée Picasso Paris

Musee Picasso Paris

Photo by Yann Caradec from Paris, France, Musée Picasso, Paris 1 November 2014, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Musée Picasso Paris is located in the newly renovated Hôtel Salé.  Originally restored between 1974 – 1979 as an historical monument, it was transformed into a museum between 1979 and the 1985 opening.

During that time, the house from the 1600s was carefully converted into a magnificent art space.  It is truly an outstanding example of a Hotel Particulier – or private mansion.

In 1985, Bruno Foucart described the Hôtel Salé as, “the grandest, most extraordinary, if not the most extravagant, of the grand Parisian houses of the 17th century”.

And, what is inside?  Works from the prolific master, Pablo Picasso.  More than 5,000 paintings, etchings, engravings, sketches and sculputures.

Make sure to notice the incredible stucco and stone work in the mansion – you really can’t help but see it.

2.  Musée Marmottan Monet

Monet: Impression, soleil levant

Claude Monet, “Impression, soleil levant.” The painting that gave its name to Impressionism.

More than 300 works by Claude Monet occupy the Musée Marmottan Monet.  The elegant home in the 16th arrondissement is where you can see the painting that gave its name to Impressionism.  Claude Monet’s “Impression, soleil levant” (“Impression, sunrise” in English), may not be as big of a stunner as other works by Monet.  But, without a doubt, you will instantly recognize it as an impressionist painting.

In 1966, Michel Monet, the son of Claude Monet, gave his inherited collection of his father’s paintings to the Musée Marmottan Monet.  Along with the largest collection of Monets, you can see works by Manet, Monet, Pissaro, Sisley, Morisot and many more.  The house itself is worthy of a visit on its own.  It is a creaky-floored example of a well-off family’s townhouse.

As with several other famous paintings, “Impression, soleil levant” was at the center of an art heist in 1985.  Armed bandits stole that painting and several others.  Eventually, all were recovered in Corsica in 1990.

Late opening until 9pm on Thursdays.

3.  Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin

Another incredible house with sumptuous grounds and gardens to match!  After a recent renovation inside the Musée Rodin, it is even more marvelous than before.  This mansion is like a country estate in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.  And, it includes loads of Rodins!  About 300 – both inside and out.

Originally built in the early 1700s on the outer limits of Paris, the Hôtel Biron was commissioned by a wealthy financier.  He did not live to see the project completed, but a host of other luminaries lived in the house from a duchess, to a cardinal, to Jean Cocteau and eventually Rodin.  Rodin made a deal with the French government – let me stay in the house and I will give you all of my remaining art when I die.  Sounds like a good deal.

The house is extraordinary.  High ceilings, wood floors, beautiful staircase, windows everywhere.  And, the sculptures fit as if they were meant to be there – basking in natural light.  On the grounds, you will see old roses with nearly forearm-sized canes and manicured lawns.  Then, under the trees and along the sides, admire monumental sculptures by the master, including the Gates of Hell, the Thinker and the Burghers of Calais.  If you need it, take a rest at the café under the trees.

4.  Maison de Victor Hugo

Maison de Victor Hugo

Maison de Victor Hugo

Want to see what one of the townhouses on the Place des Vosges looks like?  And, visit the home of one of the most famous writers ever?  Find your way to the 4th arrondissement and visit the Maison de Victor Hugo.

Victor Hugo lived in this apartment from 1832 – 1848.  The museum is arranged in chronological order of Hugo’s life.  Decorations and furniture from his other residences have been donated by his family and are shown in various rooms.  As well as seeing the bed where he died in 1885, you can view the desk where he stood to write his famous literature.

Look out the windows for glorious views onto the Place des Vosges and the statue of Louis XIII.  If you are interested in French fiction, history and the life of one of France’s greatest writers, you should consider visiting Maison de Victor Hugo.  Or, go take a look if you just really love the apartments around the Place des Vosges.

5.  Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art)

This relatively new endeavor in the 14th arrondissement is dedicated to promoting contemporary art from around the world.  Not only contemporary visual art, but also any contemporary art media.

Its website states, “As a reflection of our times, the Fondation Cartier embraces all creative fields and genres of contemporary art, ranging from design to photography, from painting to video art and from fashion to performance art. This testifies to the Fondation Cartier’s commitment and skill, to its blend of rigor and eclecticism which opens up contemporary art and renders it more accessible.”  Read, You will not see any stuffy old portraits here!

Jean Nouvel, the Pritzker Prize winning architect, designed the glass and steel building specifically for the Cartier Foundation.  On the garden side, it is kind of like a layer cake with a terrace on top.  And from the street side it is reflective panels of glass.  You can even take an architectural tour to learn more about the space, see the specially designed furniture and even see some of the offices.

And, get outside to survey the Theatrum Botanicum, the foundation’s garden designed by Lothar Baumgarten.  It is described as a work in progress.  Even though it may seem wild, it is a natural oasis that is a counter point to the rigor of the architecture.

6.  Fondation Louis Vuitton (Louis Vuitton Foundation)

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Photo by Ninara from Helsinki, Finland, Paris 4Y1A3706 (19695496530), CC BY 2.0

Another new and important arts space, the Fondation Louis Vuitton (FVL), is dedicated to promoting art and culture of the 20th and 21st centuries.  Only a little west of Paris proper, the overwhelmingly popular destination is in the Bois de Boulogne.  Frank Gehry designed the architecturally significant structure and it is an artwork itself.

When it opened in 2014, FVL was an immediate hit with the public.  FVL is a private collection that, “comprises a constantly evolving body of work that naturally falls into four categories:  Contemplative, Pop, Expressionist, Music & Sound.”

Be ready to have your senses overloaded while visiting FVL.  If you want to get ready, all of the pieces in the collection can be seen on the website.  And, you can see the multiple exhibitions displayed at any one time from artists from all corners of the globe.

7.  Musée Carnavalet

Paris Map from 1576 by Dalbera

Paris Map from 1576 by Dalbera

In the Marais, two architectural gems of townhouses are joined together creating a museum that tells the history of Paris.  One townhouse was built in the 1550s; the second in 1688.  Together they make up the extraordinary Musée Carnavalet showcasing the history of Paris.

One hundred rooms are chock-a-block with art, objects, furniture and displays.  Plus, the gardens outside are charming and beautiful examples of the French know-how with plants.  From the ancient history of the Parisii, all the way to the 20th century, see the history of the City of Light unfold in this elegant museum.

It is closed for renovation until the end of 2019.

8.  Musée de Cluny, Musée National du Moyen Âge (Cluny Museum, National Museum of the Middle Ages)

Lady and the unicorn tapestries, Cluny Museum

Roman baths in the middle of Paris?  You bet.  What about medieval treasures including the most enigmatic tapestries in the world?  The Cluny Museum is the place for you.

The ancient Roman baths of Lutetia (the Roman name of Paris) date from the 1st or 2nd century AD.  They include a giant cold room (frigidarium), hot rooms (caldarium) and a gym or wrestling room (palestra).  It is amazing to be walking along boulevard St. Germain or boulevard St. Michel and gaze across a lawn and see interesting brick and stone work walls with massive Roman arches.  And, they are conjoined with a 15th century Gothic mansion that was home to the abbots of Cluny.

Inside this turreted medieval showplace you can find medieval and Renaissance works of art.  Amazing objects including statuary, furniture, architectural elements, religious icons, mosaics and tapestries.  A group of maybe the most famous tapestries are displayed here.

The Lady and the Unicorn (La Dame à la Licorne) tapestries are in a room by themselves and it is breathtaking to see these marvelous art works at one time.  First, they are huge.  Second, they are intricately detailed, full of symbolism and gorgeous.  Third, they were woven around 1500 to represent the five senses.  The sixth tapestry shows the lady in front of a tent with a banner containing the words, “à mon seul désir”.  It is this tapestry that is the subject of much discussion as to what that phrase means.  Literally, the words translate as, “to my only desire.”  And, what do those words with those images mean?  Take a look for yourself and make your own determination.

Such intrigue in the Middle Ages!  Like many of the other lesser known museums in this article, the Cluny is a manageable size and great for an hour or two visit.

9.  Musée Jacquemart-André

musee jacquemart-andre

Paolo Uccello (1397 – 1475), Saint Georges and the Dragon

This house museum was designed with the intention of showcasing the owners’ art collection.  Edouard André began passionately collecting art in the 1860s.  And, soon, he needed a place to display it.  So what else does one wealthy art collector do?  He commissioned a mansion on Boulevard Hausmann in the 8th arrondissement.

Little did he know that he would one day meet his collecting match in Nélie Jacquemart.  They married and spent 13 years together in a collecting frenzy.  Even after Edouard died in 1893, she spent the rest of her life collecting art.  And, eventually turning the house into the museum we see today, the Musée Jacquemart-André.

Along with notable sculptures, paintings, decorative objects, carpets and a plethora of art treasures, it includes medieval masterpieces by Botticelli, Donatello, Bellini and Mantegna.  Also, it has a café under a Tiepolo fresco.

10.  Musée Nissim de Camondo

Nissim de Camondo kitchen

Nissim de Camondo kitchen

Count Moïse de Camondo’s express intention was “to recreate an eighteenth-century artistic residence.”  And, that is what he did.  Fully preserved as it was originally built between 1911 and 1914.  It is mansion in the style of the Petit Trianon of Versailles.  But, with all the modern conveniences of the most advanced houses of the time.  (Check out the kitchen.)  And, the Musée Nissim de Camondo is maintained as if it were still a private home.

Can you imagine living in this place?

It is an elegant way to spend an hour or two.  Perusing the objects, imagining life at that time – or in the 18th century, looking out to the Parc Monceau.  Nearly all of the objects are from the second half of the 18th century (1750-1799) from the periods of Louis XV and Louis XVI.  Masterpieces by the most superb craftsmen of the time.  Incredibly beautiful, refined to the last detail.  Carpets, paintings, furniture and all kinds of objects tastefully fill the rooms.

Now, the museum has a restaurant in the former parking area.  So, take your time to explore this mansion.

Along with Beauty Comes a Sad History

However, it is a sad history that provides this beauty.  Nissim de Camondo, the son of Count Moïse de Camondo and his wife Countess Irene, joined the French Army when World War I began.  He became a pilot and died in air combat in 1917.  At the Count’s death in 1935, he left the mansion and its contents to in honor of his son to create a museum.  Later, Nissim’s sister, Béatrice, along with her two children and ex-husband died in Auschwitz.

11. Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet (Guimet Museum)

Guimet Museum

Just down the hill from where visitors gasp at the Eiffel Tower, the Guimet Museum houses France’s national Asian art museum.  Like most of the capitol’s museums, the building is impressive and imposing.

But, the more than 45,000 objects within are even more spectacular.  Masterpieces from the Asian world fill the space.  Musée Guimet holds the largest collection of Asian objects outside of Asia.  Originally, the collection was in Lyon, from where Émile Guilmet hailed.  But, later, moved to Paris.

Tibet, Nepal, Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, India, Thailand, Indonesia and even more near Eastern cultures are represented.  Monsieur Guimet traveled extensively and collected voraciously.  That is what you can do as an industrialist.

12.  Musée Cernuschi; Musée des Arts de l’Asie de la Ville de Paris (Cernuschi Museum)

Cernuschi Museum

Photo by Guillaume Jacquet, Cernuschi Museum 20060812 138, CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1871, Henri Cernuschi began a 28 month tour of Asia.  On that voyage to the East, he collected around 5,000 pieces of art and artifacts from great Asian civilizations.  All of these were shipped back to Paris and they form the core of this extensive collection.  Imagine that trip!

Han and Wei funerary statutes, Sung porcelain, bronze Buddhas, terracotta works. When visiting Kyoto and Nara, he had to have special permission and was only allowed to enter by sedan chair.  When he returned to Paris after the tour, he built a mansion to house his collection.

Also, Cernuschi acquired some incredible vintage photos of Asia in the 19th century that are fascinating to see.  Before he died, Cernuschi left his home and collection to the City of Paris.  The Cernuschi Museum opened in 1898.

Practically around the corner from the Musée Nissim de Camondo.  Also on the Parc Monceau.

13.  Palais de Tokyo – Two Museums in One

Two museums in one. Photo by Guilhem Vellut from Paris, France, Palais de Tokyo @ Paris (31361278606), CC BY 2.0.

Originally built for the International Exhibition of Arts and Technology of 1937, the name came from the street it was on – the Quai de Tokio.  Currently, the street is named, Avenue de New York.  This grand building is now home to a modern art museum and to Europe’s largest center of contemporary art.

One Museum

On one side, you will find the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris).  Furniture, painting, art objects, carpets, furniture and statuary from the beginning of the 20th century laze around the building.  Nothing is too cramped or squished in this museum.  The rooms are expansive with soaring ceilings.

Along with works by Picasso, Modigliani, Derain, Chagall and other major artists from the period, two exceptional works are here.  One is Raoul Dufy’s, “La Fée électricité,” illustrating man’s harnessing and using electricity.  The mural is in a room by itself, deservedly.  The other is  Henri Matisse’s, “La Danse.”  This installation on an entire wall of an exhibition space of the palais can be breathtaking.

Two Museum

And, on the other side, the Palais de Tokyo.  The contemporary art space only shows temporary exhibitions of emerging art from all over the world.  Read – it can be challenging to comprehend the depth of the artist’s work at a glance.  On the other hand, it is open until Midnight every day except Tuesday.  So, go after dinner if you need a walk.

A little of the description from its website, “A rebellious wasteland with the air of a Palace, an anti-museum in permanent transformation, Palais de Tokyo has kept Paris full of life and on its toes since 2002. At once convivial and challenging, generous and cutting edge, inviting and radical, poetic and transgressive, it is a space to learn, to experience, to feel, and to live – a space from which the unexpected springs forth.”  Go see what can inspire such a description.

Check out the gift shop at the Palais de Tokyo for cool journals as souvenirs for students back home.  And, take a picture in the photo booth, called, “Foto Automat.”  Look for it and pose for the camera.

14.  Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

Musee du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly

In 2006, the Musée du quai Branly opened to great fanfare.  Finally, France had its wish of a museum dedicated to non-European societies and to presenting the objects formerly seen as ethnographic in an artistic setting.

Jean Nouvel designed the building that sits in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower along the Seine.  One whole side is covered in a living wall of greenery.  As you enter, a clear cylinder of storage is packed with treasures that beckon visitors to crane their necks to see more of what is inside.

And, storage they must have by the boxcar.  The museum is home to more than 300,000 works from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.  ” Located on the banks of the River Seine, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac aims to promote the Arts and Civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, at the crossroads of multiple cultural, religious and historical influences. As a space for scientific and artistic dialog, the museum offers a cultural program of exhibits, performances, lectures, workshops and screenings.”

Although the lighting could be a little brighter so you are not in fear of tripping, the experience is a must.

15.  Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

From my friend, Lynn – One of the great finds on this past Paris trip was the small museum, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature.  It is in two buildings.  The 17th c. Hôtel de Guénégaud and the next door 18th c. Hôtel de Mongelas.  It is unlike any museum I have ever been in.  It is set up like  an “imaginary residence of a hunter and collector.”  You wander through rooms dedicated to individual animals, such as the wild boar room.

There you learn how important the boar was for its flesh and how dangerous the animal is.  There are examples of boar teeth, prints, paintings and even drawers with scat.  The way it’s presented is novel and intense and not just a stuffed boar hanging on the wall.  It is as much about art as it is about hunting.  This is true for every room.

Lynn’s description made me put this on my list of must-see places!  Taxidermy included, but, from what it seems, much more as well.

For more on art in Paris, check out New Paris Art Exhibits & Musical Highlights 2019/2020.

And, in case you didn’t know, the Lourve offers free admission on the first Saturday night of every month.

Paris 2019 – Free Admission to the Louvre on the First Saturday Night of Every Month

Paris 2019 – Free Admission to the Louvre on the First Saturday Night of Every Month

As of January, 2019, the Musée du Louvre opens its doors for free to all visitors on the first Saturday night of each month!  That’s right – for free – from 6:00pm to 8:45pm.

Louvre to Open First Saturday Night Each Month with Free Admission

Attempting to attract more first-time locals to visit, the Louvre adds the first Saturday of each month to its free admission line up.  As the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre has no problem attracting visitors.  But, it wants more locals to visit as well.

With this exciting news out of Paris, the Louvre adds more time for locals and visitors from all over the world to visit the Louvre without paying the price of admission.  Right now, a full-price admission ticket is 17 euros.  For a family of 4, that price could keep away many families working full time jobs and trying to make ends meet.  So, to try to get more locals in the doors, it has opened on an additional night.  That is good fortune for visitors, too!

Past Efforts

In the past, the Louvre opened on the first Sunday of each month with free admission, trying to draw in the locals.  But, after reviewing data on visitors coming at that increasingly popular free day, the museum lacked an increase in locals.  It appears that more and more international visitors are taking advantage of the 12 free Sundays each year.  Who doesn’t want a free entry?

One goal of the Louvre is to engage locals.  Saturday night seems like an obvious gateway to reach suburban locals wanting a night out.  Louvre officials hope that this additional free time does the job and entices young adults and families from outside Paris proper to take advantage of the world’s most-visited museum.  In addition to being free, the museum is hosting a board game area and a reading corner – all trying to lure young families in the door!

Bonus for You!

Of course, for non-local visitors, it is a boon as well.  Night visits are an extraordinary way to see the massive royal palace and its dumbfounding treasures.  Along with looking out of the windows into the night sky of the city, fewer people visit at night.  You may wind up in a gallery with entire rooms to yourself.  Admire the art with only your family and friends.  Climb the worn marble stairs alone.  Wander through the vast space and imagine the kings and queens that were there before you.

Musée du Louvre

Hours:  Open Wednesday – Sunday from 9am to 6pm
Night opening until 9:45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays
Night opening until 8:45pm on FIRST Saturday of the month beginning January 2019
CLOSED TUESDAYS
CLOSED: on the following holidays: January 1, May 1, May 8 and December 25.
Arrondissement:  1st
Nearest Métro:  Two stops serve the Louvre.  Exiting at Louvre-Rivoli, you will be at the eastern-most end of the Louvre.  Exiting at Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre, you will be closer to the pyramid entrance and very close to the entrance at the Passage de Richelieu (if they will let you in) and the entrance through the Carousel de Louvre – kind of underground shopping area that leads you to the main entrance under the pyramid.
Nourishment:  Food and drink options available inside the Louvre in various locations – enjoy a baguette sandwich overlooking the entrance while watching the people come down the stairs under the pyramid!
Official websitehttps://www.louvre.fr/en/
Suggested time to visit:  In the evenings on the days it is open late

 

You may also be interested in one of the lesser known museums in Paris, such as Musée Picasso Paris, Musée Marmottan Monet or Musée Rodin. See the article on “15 Lesser-Known Museums in Paris” for more details here.