published on October 22, 2015
Opened in 1750, the Luxembourg museum was the first public museum in France. Its history is closely linked to the histories of the Palais du Luxembourg, where it was initially located, and to the Senate.
Now part of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux at the Grand Palais, it organises important exhibitions, such as the one dedicated to the most famous painter of the years just before the Revolution: Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806).
Landscapes, genre art, historic paintings and portraits, “Frago”, as he is fondly referred to, covered many genres during his forty-year-long career but according to his biographer, Alexandre Lenoir, “he devoted himself [mainly] to erotic art, in which he excelled.” Indeed, lovers are a central theme of his artwork and this is what is focused on in the exhibition entitled, Fragonard lovers, gallantry and libertinage.
Over 80 famous and private works of art have been borrowed from the most prestigious collections of Europe and the United States (including a painting lent by Jeff Koons, Young Girl Holding Two Puppies). Although the exhibition gives pride of place to Fragonard’s paintings and drawings, it also features works from his ambitious but less successful illustrations, including the drawings he did for La Fontaine’s Fables and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso.
Organised around different themes such as, “the love of gods” and “dangerous reading”, the exhibition delves into the theme of love from the last flames of gallant love to the triumph of libertinage and the flourishing of sincere, sensitive, “romantic” love. The numerous allusions to literary works and the moral and political context of the time help elucidate his works in a very interesting way.
After your visit, stop by for a sweet break at Angelina, its delightful tea room located at the museum exit.
Musée du Luxembourg
19 rue Vaugirad, Paris 6
Until 24th January 2016
Open everyday from 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Late opening on Monday and Friday until 9.30 p.m
From 7,50 to 12 euros. Please book in advance.
published on October 19, 2015
The Jacquemart-André museum in Paris is hosting the extraordinary collection of art works belonging to the portraitist, Nelie Jacquemart and banker, Edouard André. The couple accumulated an impressive collection of paintings, which are on display in various parts of their luxurious late 20th century mansion. In the library, you will find paintings from Flemish and Dutch artists; French artists in the study, Italian artworks in Nélie’s workshop and English artists in the smoking room. There is even a fresco by Giambattista Tiepolo taken from a Villa in Venice adorning the wall in the landing. This unique collection of artworks reflects the splendour of a bygone era and decorative art.
There is currently an exhibition entitled, Florence, Portraits at the Medici Court, which is dedicated to the great Florentine portraitists of the 16th century. Commissioning a portrait – be it simply to leave an image of oneself for posterity or to convey one’s internal thoughts to others – became increasingly popular amongst the elite in 16th century Florence. The exhibition covers the main themes and stylistic changes in Florentine portraiture art and explores the new approach adopted by artists to immortalise their contemporaries in a century particularly rich in cultural and religious changes in many areas. The exhibition is also fortunate to have teamed up with such exceptional partners as the museums of Florence and some great painters, including Rosso Fiorentino, Andrea del Sarto, Alessandro Allori, Francesco Salviati, Pontormo and Bronzino.
Your visit to the museum would be incomplete if you didn’t pop in to its lovely tea shop located in the couple’s former dining room. Its terrace with a stone balustrade overlooks the Honneur court and its exquisite pastries are second to none.
158, boulevard Haussmann, Paris 8.
Metro: Saint Augustin or Miromesnil.
Open everyday from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., late opening on Monday until 9.30 p.m.
From 10 to 12 euros.
Café: open everyday from 11.45 a.m to 5.30 p.m. (lunch from 11.45 a.m to 3 p.m and teatime from 3.00 p.m to 5.30 p.m).
The cafe is also open to non-visitors to the museum but does not take reservations.
published on September 23, 2015
Constructed in 1937 for the International Exhibition, Palais de Tokyo is today the biggest venue dedicated to contemporary European creation (it now covers 22000 square metres following renovation in 2012). Art installations, live performances, design, soundscapes … these are but a few of the attractions you can expect to discover in the relaxed setting of the space. Palais de Tokyo is a true showcase of 21st century art of all genres: visual art, design, music and fashion.
Not only is Palais de Tokyo a venue for experimental art, it is also a gastronomic sanctuary. Open to the public from midday to midnight, Parisians flock there as much for its restaurants as for its cultural fare and bookshop. Tip: plan your visit for late afternoon and stay on for dinner in one of its two restaurants.
This huge restaurant located in the west wing of Palais de Tokyo offers diners a magnificent view of the quays along the Seine from its terrace and a breath-taking view of the Eiffel Tower. Its lavish Art Deco, period archive rooms in green and gold shades were designed by the interior designer, Joseph Dirand. Add to this its menu of traditional fare and visitors can expect to be treated to the best of classy, international brasserie cuisine.
Looking for somewhere a little less formal? Then head for Tokyo Eat. Located at the entrance of Palais Royal, this trendy, canteen-style restaurant, with its industrial look serves excellent house cocktails with à la carte “fusion food” to match and its lively ambiance can’t fail to cheer you up.
Palais de Tokyo
13 avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16
Everyday, except Tuesday. From midday to midnight
From 8 to 10 euros.
13 avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16
Open everyday. From midday to midnight
01.47.20.00.29. Menu: around 30 euros
13 avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16
or 20 Avenue de New York, Paris 16.
Mandatory booking. 01.47.20.90.47
published on September 18, 2015
The forerunners of the shopping centre of today, Paris’s 25 indoor gallerias are a throwback to the 19th century. To help you discover them on foot, we have chosen four such gallerias in the vicinity of Paris’s Grands Boulevards and Palais Royal (in the second arrondissement). What do they have in common, you may ask? Spectacular glass structures and a unique atmosphere.
Passage des Panoramas
158 rue Montmartre. Paris 2. Metro : Grands Boulevards.
Opening on to Paris’s Grands Boulevards, Passage des Panoramas is one of the oldest gallerias of Paris. Inaugurated in 1800, it is a place for Parisians to promenade and shop, whatever the weather. It was also here that the first ever gas lamp, invented by the engineer, Philippe Lebon, was tested. Today, the galleria is also a temple of gastronomy, where you will find gourmet eateries such as the former shop of the engraver, Stern, which has now been transformed into a trendy Italian restaurant (Café Stern).
40 rue des Petits-Champs, Paris 2. Métro : Opéra ou Quatre-Septembre.
Just a few blocks away, you can also stroll around Passage Choiseul, which connects Rue des Petits-Champs with Rue Saint-Augustin. Spanning 190 metres, it is the longest covered galleria in Paris. The writer, Louis Ferdinand Céline, also resided here between 1899 and 1907.
6 rue des Petits-Champs, Paris 2. Métro : Pyramides ou Bourse.
Built in 1826 in direct competition to the adjoining Galerie Vivienne, today the galleria houses several institutions linked to the history of art and culture. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., during which the public can come and be awed by its spectacular central area with its glass dome.
Don’t forget to check out the famous brasserie Le Grand Colbert, located at the entrance of the galleria, with its Art Nouveau decor often featured in films.
4 rue des Petits-Champs Paris 2. Métro : Bourse.
Built in 1823, next to Palais Royal, this galleria had its heyday up to the end of the period known in France as the Second Empire. Its mosaic floors and glass structures still make it one of the most elegant gallerias of the capital and today it still boasts a host of luxury boutiques. For wine-lovers, a visit to the Legrand cellars is a must and it has been so since 1880.
published on August 28, 2015
Paris’s royal quarter and temple of shopping, the first arrondissement (borough) is bustling with attractions: monuments, gardens, museums and luxury boutiques. Here are Esprit de France’s four firm must-see cultural favorites to add to your diary.
Between the Louvre Carousel and the Jardin des Tuileries: Maillol sculptures
Admire the many sculptures tucked away within the hallowed, classical garden, started by Le Nôtre. From Giacometti lurking in the shadows of the over-towering chestnut trees to Henry Moore and Aristide Maillol (1861 – 1944), about twenty sculptures of the female form complement the beauty of the area.
The Jardin des Tuileries: the Orangerie museum
Famous the world over for its eight compositions of 22 panels of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, the Orangerie is truly an oasis of tranquillity. You cannot but be awed by the sheer size of the panels and their mesmerising colours.
Opposite Comédie Française: Othoniel kiosk
Comédie Française is the oldest and most prestigious French theatre. Its troupe, founded under Louis XIV in 1680 moved into the Richelieu building during the French Revolution. Opposite the theatre is Palais Royal subway station with its famous ornate Kiosque des noctambules (kiosk for night owls) of Jean-Michel Othoniel. This work of art, entirely in Murano glass, was created in 2000 for the one hundredth anniversary of the Paris subway.
Palais Royal: The Buren Pedestals
In the courtyard of the sumptuous 17th century Palais Royal, you will be confronted with the notorious Pedestals by the sculptor, Daniel Buren. Installation of the 206 black and white striped pedestals commenced in 1985, under much criticism and nearly never saw the light of day. Today, however, they are an integral part of the courtyard.
Ile de la Cité: Vert-Galant Square
Erected in tribute to Henri IV, nicknamed Vert-Galant because of his numerous mistresses, Vert-Galant Square is a mini paradise of fauna and flora, hidden away at the western end of Île de la cité.
published on August 25, 2015
As the first example of sponsorship in France, the Cartier Foundation for contemporary art has been championing contemporary artists for over 30 years. It is at once a space for artists to come and express themselves and an exhibition center, open to all disciplines: photography, painting video, fashion and the performing arts.
Housed in its magnificent glass and steel building designed by Jean Nouvel and inaugurated in 1984, not only does it blend seamlessly into its surroundings, it even transforms from day to day as the shadow of its Lebanese Cedar, planted by Chateaubriand in 1823, appears to metamorphose at the discretion of surrounding lights. The Foundation currently houses a lavish exhibition on Congolese artistic life: Beauty Congo showcasing approximately 350 works and 41 artists for a multi-disciplinary path: paintings, sculptures and photographs.
Inaugurated in October 2014, the Louis Vuitton Foundation also champions artistic creativity. However, it functions more as a traditional museum. Although it has commissioned many works from young artists, it also boasts a wealth of big names from the contemporary scene, in the likes of Ellsworth Kelly, Christian Boltanski and Olafur Eliasson. Its building designed by Frank Gehry and often nicknamed the “Guggenheim of Paris” is just amazing. It is a masterful creation depicting twelve glass sails made of 3600 glass panels, set within Bois de Boulogne. Its location next to the Jardin d’Acclimatation means that not only will it bring pleasure to adults; children will also be attracted to it as they discover this beautiful play area (rides, animals, games, etc…)
Plan your visit
Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain
261, boulevard Raspail, Paris 14.
Open every day, except Monday
From 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Open Tuesday evenings until 10 p.m.
Tuesday through Friday at 6:30 pm, visitors with an admission ticket can attend a free guided tour of the exhibition.
From 7 to 10.50 Euros.
Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris 16.
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: from 12.00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Open Friday evenings until 11.00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: from 11.00 a.m to 8.00 p.m.
From 5 to 14 euros (with Jardin d’Acclimatation entrance), free under 3 years old.
published on August 21, 2015
The 7th arrondissement of Paris is home to Ministries, Ambassadors and International Institutions, all hidden behind high walls. It is, however, also well known for its cultural treasures and heritage. Take your pick from the old train station converted into the popular Orsay museum; the military barrack that is now an imperial cemetery, Champ de Mars and its metal monument, which is one of the most visited places in Paris; the Rodin museum and its magnificent garden, all vey close to one of our 4 star hotels in Paris, the Hotel d’Orsay.
But don’t be fooled by this select, quiet area of Paris; the elegant, residential quarter is also dotted with stylish shops ranging from trend-setting boutiques to shops selling quaint, decorative objects and there are some very enigmatic places.
Your visit would be incomplete if you didn’t swing by, so here are five places to set you off.
3 rue Las Cases. Monday to Saturday. From 11.00 a.m. to 07.00 p.m.
Architect and decorator, India Madhavi is the inventor of the famous Bishop stool. Several Parisian venues have benefitted from her magical touch, including the hip Café Germain (25 rue de Buci, Paris 6). She has about fifty models of her stools and other objects and furniture items on display at her regularly-updated showroom located on rue Las Cases.
25 rue de Bourgogne. Tuesday to Saturday. From 10.30 a.m. to 07.00 p.m.
Visit Maison M for the finest in contemporary decoration. Sprawling over about one hundred square metres, the shop is organized like a decoration magazine, with its layout featuring a completely new theme each month.
28, rue du Bac. Monday to Saturday. From 11.00 a.m. to 07.00 p.m.
The trendy Parisian decorator’s second shop (after the one located in the 1st arrondissement) showcases the homonymous designers’ furniture creations, complemented by her impeccable juxtaposition of lampshades, house fabrics and table art.
Inès de la Fressange
24, rue de Grenelle. Monday to Saturday. From 11.00 a.m. to 07.00 p.m.
When you think of Parisians and their elegance, one name immediately comes to mind; Inès de la Fressange. In late May, Inès launched her concept store selling clothing, leather goods, accessories, stationery, etc… She creates collections in limited editions and sells whatever takes her fancy in a quaint old foundry.
46 rue du Bac. Monday to Saturday. From 11.00 a.m. to 07.00 p.m.
Founded in 1831 by Jean-Baptiste Deyrolle, this shop is unique in Europe. It is a vast curiosity shop of unparalleled charm. You will find butterflies, insects from all over the world, minerals, stuffed animals – you name it, it has it. It is all part of the amazing naturalist collection housed in a befitting magical, retro setting.
published on August 18, 2015
From 1911 to 1914, Moïse de Camondo, a rich banker, art fanatic and devotee of all things related to the 18th century, commissioned a mansion inspired by the Petit Trianon in Versailles to house his magnificent collection of furniture, paintings, carpets, jewellery and chinaware. He wanted to create the perfect hideaway with all the modern trappings of the day.
At his death in 1935, he bequeathed his mansion along with all its contents to the Central Union of Decorative Arts. It is now known as the Nissim de Camondo museum, in homage to his son, who died during the First World War. Located on the periphery of the magnificent Monceau Park, the charming building is home to a plethora of exquisite items. The kitchens, service areas and bathrooms have all been painstakingly preserved in their original state and now afford visitors an insight into the lifestyle of the élite one hundred years ago. During this centenary year, visitors will be able to discover more interesting secrets about the background and architecture of the mansion.
End your visit with a stroll through nearby Monceau Park, with its rich history. In 1769, the Duke of Chartres (the future Duke of Orleans) acquired some land to construct a “place of pleasure, suitable for festivities and events”. 17 monuments from different eras and countries were erected in the park, including an obelisk, a minaret, an Egyptian pyramid, a Roman temple and the list goes on… Following the revolution, the park was confiscated and declared a national treasure – a place for promenades for the local aristocracy.
Plan your visit
Nissim de Camando museum
63 rue de Monceau, Paris 17.
From Wenesday to Sunday. 10.00 a.m. to 05.30 p.m.
6,5 to 9 euros.
Joined tickets Arts décoratifs + Nissim de Camondo Museum : 10 to 13 €
Everyday. 07.00 am to 10.00 pm during summer.
published on August 12, 2015
Have you pencilled-in the wharves along the Seine as part of your next visit to Paris?
Well, do it now because there’s just so much to do and see: care for a ride on the famous bateaux-mouches? Fancy discovering the back streets of Paris by bike? Then rent one of the many Vélib bikes littered around the city. But there’s nothing like a romantic walk along the quays of the Rive Gauche; 2.3 km of walkways stretching from Pont De l’Alma to Musée d’Orsay. So here are just a few tips on some of the historical sites you’ll encounter along Paris’s famous bridges.
PONT D’IÉNA (JENA BRIDGE)
Built during the reign of Napoleon, it pays homage to his victory in Jena, Germany, in 1806. The four statues adorning both ends of the bridge represent warriors of different origins: Roman, Greek, Arab and Gallic.
PONT ALEXANDRE III (ALEXANDER III BRIDGE)
This is by far the most iconic bridge in the capital. It is so lavishly ornate because it was inaugurated at the 1900 World Exposition to mark the event. The bridge is adorned with many statues, including the four imposing figures atop the plinths on either end (representing the arts, science, war and battle). Four more statues depict France at different moments of its history.
PONT ROYAL (ROYAL BRIDGE)
This bridge was built during the reign of Louis XIV in 1632. It is the third oldest bridge in Paris, after Pont Neuf and Pont Marie.
PONT DES ARTS (BRIDGE OF ARTS)
It owes its name to the two prestigious places that it links: the Louvre and the Institut de France (home of the five Academies of arts). It is famous for the numerous padlocks chained to its railings each year by passing lovers. In the past year, these “love locks”, as they are fondly called, have been banned and completely removed.
PONT NEUF (NEW BRIDGE)
Inaugurated in 1607, ironically, it is the oldest bridge of Paris and the first made entirely of stone. It has withstood the many floods from the Seine.
It was called Pont Neuf (new bridge) because it was the first bridge not to have houses on it, thus affording Parisians an undisturbed view of their Seine and its sidewalks.
Up until 1756 it was still inhabited and bustling with shops, just like other Parisian bridges. It was famous for the numerous booksellers along the bridge or even its traveling “dentists”.
Practical information for the walks
Departure: Pont de l’Alma (subway: Alma-Marceau, line 9),
Arrival: Ile de la Cité (subway Cité, line 4).
Duration of walk: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Note: from Pont Royal, the itinerary is no longer a pedestrian-only zone.
published on July 10, 2015
The 14th of July is the national day in France. This day is a public holiday and many traditional events take place on this occasion. Here is a selection you should not miss…
In the morning, the military parade and review of troops by the French president will begin at 10 a.m. on the Champs Elysees. The air forces open the parade, what is always very impressive. Then come the army corps including the Republican guards cavalry. This year, the members of the resistance take the place of honor of the parade.
After a break in the afternoon, continue your day of festivities with a free classical concert on the Champ de Mars (by the foot of the Eiffel Tower) from 9.30 p.m organised by the National Orchestra of France and the Choeur de Radio France with the theme “Paris hosts the world”, theme shared with the fireworks that follows.
The traditional fireworks display will take place from 11 p.m. at the Trocarédo for half an hour. The day will end by the famous firemen’s balls in many districts of Paris until 4 a.m.
Festivities of the 14th of July in Paris
From 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
from 9.30 p.m.
Metro station: Ecole militaire or Dupleix
Trocadéro 11 p.m.
Recommended metro stations to attend the fireworks:
- line 8 : La Motte-Piquet
- line 6 : Dupleix, Cambronne
- line 10 : Emile Zola, La Motte-Piquet, Ségur
- line 13 : St-François-Xavier, Varenne
- RER : Javel, Invalides et Austerlitz
Firemen’s balls from 9 p.m to 4 a.m