Our favorites in the 1st arrondissement

published on August 28, 2015
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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.

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Maillol sculptures

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.

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The Buren Pedestals

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.

Remember to stop at the bar of the Hotel Brighton or at the tea room of the Hôtel La Tamise while you are in the area.

The Cartier foundation and the Louis Vuitton foudation

published on August 25, 2015
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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.

Some of the artists featured in the exhibition were hosted at the Esprit de France hotel, Hotel Aiglon, also located Boulevard Raspail, during the opening ceremony.

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The Cartier Foundation

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…)

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The Louis Vuitton Fondation

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.

The 7th Arrondissement and its chic addresses

published on August 21, 2015
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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.

India Madhavi
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.

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India Madhavi

Maison M
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.

Sarah Lavoine
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.

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Sarah Lavoine

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.

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Inès de La Fressange

Deyrolle    
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.

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Deyrolle @Parisian Days_XS

Centenary of the Nissim Camondo museum and Monceau Park

published on August 18, 2015
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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.

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The Monceau Park

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.

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The Monceau Park by Gustave Caillebotte

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 €

Parc Monceau
Everyday. 07.00 am to 10.00 pm during summer.

Cultural walks in the shadows of the bridges of Paris

published on August 12, 2015
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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.

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Pont Alexandre III

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”.

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Pont Neuf

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.

National day festivities on the 14th of July 2015 in Paris

published on July 10, 2015
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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.

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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.

 

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Festivities of the 14th of July in Paris


Military Parade
 Champs Elysées

From 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Concert
from 9.30 p.m.
Metro station: Ecole militaire or Dupleix

Fireworks display

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

More information on the Paris website

A day in Paris with your children

published on June 20, 2015
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Planning a trip to Paris with your children? Here’s a tip to make your trip a success: choose perfect family’s places. Here are four unmissable places in Paris that will please all the family.

Jardin des Plantes (Paris 5)from 3 years old

Enjoy its legendary greenhouses and the beauty of its flower beds. Delight your children in the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution and its museum of natural history or the Ménagerie (the second oldest zoo in the world, created in 1793). After the visit, pop into the Grand Mosque of Paris nearby for a cup of mint tea.

Luxembourg Garden (Paris 6)from 2 years old

At the heart of the trendy Saint-Germain district of Paris, this beautiful garden, fondly known as “Luco” by the Parisians, has a number of attractions to keep the children occupied: small wooden boats for rent to sail in the pond by the palace, pony rides, traditional puppet shows and a huge play area… It is also of noteworthy historical importance; the Florentine-inspired Luxembourg Palace (current site of the Senate) was commissioned by Mary de Medici in 1612.

Museum of Arts and Crafts (Paris 3)from 7 years old

Located within the abbey of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, a stone’s throw from the area known as the Marais, this museum boasts an impressive collection of exhibits that are sure to please all budding scientists. Children can relive famous experiments and learn about the advancement of technology through a number of workshops and guided tours.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation and Jardin d’Acclimatation. Porte Maillotfrom 2/3 years old

Are you longing to visit the magnificent building designed by Franck Gehry with its rich collections of contemporary art? Remember that the museum organises a series of workshops and discovery trails (from 3 to 10 years old). Even more importantly, however, it adjoins THE place that little Parisians love the most: the Jardin d’Acclimatation. The latter offers a number of activities, including: play areas, fun fairs, animals, boats…

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The Museum of Natural History

What to do in Paris with Children - the Louis Vuitton fondation

The Louis Vuitton fondation

What to do in Paris with Children - Museum of Arts and Crafts

The Museum of Arts and Crafts

The Luxembourg Garden

The Luxembourg Garden

You may be interested in this article: What to do in Paris with children?

The Velàzquez event at Grand Palais

published on June 10, 2015
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Unless you are planning a stay in Madrid in the next few months, you must pay a visit to the Grand Palais for the exhibition of Diego Velàzquez, a major event of the Parisian cultural scene 2015.

Why is it so important? To begin with, it is the first solo exhibition in France of the most famous painter of the Spanish golden age, a true genius of art history (1599- 1660). Further, the breadth of the exhibition is exceptional. The exhibition’s curator, Guillaume Kientz, has achieved the feat of bringing together half of all the painter’s works (around a hundred for 43 years of career), including, notably, works from the Prado in Madrid.

So you will discover several masterpieces at the Grand Palais. Our favorites: the impressive Portrait of Pope Innocent X, with his piercing eyes or The Toilet of Venus, a rare nude echoing the Roman sculpture and judiciously exposed next to the Sleeping Hermaphrodite. Only one masterpiece is missing: Las Meninas, or The Family of Felipe IV, a monument that is never moved. However a copy is on display to avoid too much frustration.

Despite the crowds, it is certainly a great joy to admire the full panoply of the works of the artist that Edouard Manet described as “the painter’s painter”.  Starting from his apprenticeship in Seville, to his early career at the Madrid Court and a glimpse of his voyages to Italy, you are shown every facet of this ambitious painter and precursor to modern painting. His portraits of course but also “scenes de genre” or religious painting.

We take account of his significant influences, in particular, his discovery of caravaggism which transcends his painting. We marvel at his creativity and his fundamental contribution to modern art.  With The Portrait of Pablo de Valladolid, Velàzquez began a new art of portrait. The set disappears: no wall, no floor. Only the shadows produce perspective.

A great moment in history and pictorial pleasure not to be missed for any reason. As Francis Bacon said, “Velazquez found the perfect balance between the ideal illustration, which he was required to produce, and the overwhelming emotion he aroused in the spectator”.

Plan your visit

This exhibition is of course very busy. Buy an online ticket (at least the day before) if you do not want to queue for long.

Plan a visit with a guide if you can. If you do not have enough time, you should experience “connected glasses” a new digital experience (be careful: you must not wear glasses)

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais     
3 avenue du Général Eisenhower – Paris 8
Until the 13th of  July 2015

Wednesday – Saturday, 10.00 a.m. -10.00 p.m.
Sunday – Monday, 10.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m.
Closed Thuesday

 

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Diego Velazquez, Portrait of the pope Innocent X, 1650, 140 x 200, Oil on canvas, Rome, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, © Amministrazione Doria Pamphiljry

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Diego Velazquez, The Toilet of Venus, 1647-1651, 123 x 177 cm, Oil on canvas, The National Gallery, © The National Gallery

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From the 30s to the 70s: fashion tour in the 16th arrondissement of Paris

published on June 4, 2015
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Close by the Museum of Modern Art and Palais de Tokyo and not far away from Place du Trocadero lie two must-see artistic venues of the fashion world: the Palais Galleria and the Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent Foundation. The following itinerary will help guide you through these two beautiful exhibitions.

Start with a flashback to the 30s. Palais Galliera is a magnificent, neo-Renaissance hotel offering the first Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946) retrospective. The hotel showcases about a hundred timeless, romantic exemplars of robes de style, evening and robes bijoux style dresses, all within the beautiful setting created by Alber Elbaz, current Creative Director of the House (the oldest fashion house still in business today).

Spare a few moments to admire the views from the gardens of the Palais before making your way to the Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent Foundation located just a brief walk away. The Yves Saint Laurent 1971, Scandal Collection plunges you into the history of the sultry collection that caused such an uproar amongst the press and public alike during the German occupation. This intimate place will reveal the secret of the creative process of the designer, through a variety of forms (original sketches, workshop notes, collections, etc…).

Palais Galliera
Jeanne Lanvin, 8 March – 23 August 2015  
10 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, Paris 16
Tuesday – Sunday, 10.00 a.m. –6.00 p.m.
Late opening : 9.00 p.m. on Thursday

Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent 1971, Scandal Collection, 19 March – 19 August 2015
3 rue Léonce Reynaud, Paris 16
Tuesday – Sunday, 11.00 a.m. –6.00 p.m.

Plan your vist

- Enjoy the partnership between the Foundation and the Palais Galliera (reduced prices). Duration of the visit for the 2 exhibitions: 2 hours.
- Need a coffee break with astonishing views? Enjoy the terraces of Palais de Tokyo and Museum of Modern Art.
- Shopping temptation?  Extend your fashion experience on the « Avenue Montaigne », the great names in the world of luxury, a brief walk away.

 

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The Galliera Museum

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At the Jeanne Lanvin exhibition

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At the Jeanne Lanvin exhibition

La Toilette and the Invention of Privacy

published on March 10, 2015
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La Toilette and the Invention of Privacy
Musée Marmottan Monet
From the12th of February, 2015 to the 5th of July, 2015

The Musée Marmottan Monet presents until July 5th, 2015 the first exhibition ever dedicated to the theme of ‘La Toilette and the Invention of Privacy.’

The exhibition brings together works by major artists of the fifteenth century to the present, explores the rituals of cleanliness, their spaces and their gestures. This is the first time such a subject, unique and indispensable, is presented in the form of an exhibition. In these works that reflect everyday practices that might seem mundane, the public will discover the pleasures and surprises with a depth that few expected. Prestigious museums and international collections joined enthusiastically in this project giving major loans, including some paintings that have never been shown since their creation. One hundred paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs and motion pictures («time-lapse») allow to offer an exceptional exhibition.

The exhibition opens with an outstanding collection of engravings by Dürer, de Primatice, paintings from the l’Ecole de Fontainebleau, including a Clouet, the outstanding Femme à la puce by Georges de La Tour, a unique and amazing collection of François Boucher, showing the invention of gestures and the special places one washed in the Old Regime Europe.

In the second part of the exhibition, visitors will discover that with the nineteenth century there was a profound renewal of tools and modes of cleanliness. The appearance of the bathroom, that of a more diverse and abundant use of water inspired Manet, Berthe Morisot, Degas, Toulouse Lautrec and other artists, not least, unpublished scenes of women washing in tubs or in makeshift tanks. The gestures are disrupted, the space becomes definitively closed and made to conceal privacy, from which emerges a deep impression of intimacy and modernity.

The last part of the exhibition presents to the vistor the both familiar and disconcerting modern bathrooms and there «functional» uses, with artworks from Pierre Bonnard which show bathroom spaces where one is allowed, away from the eyes of others and the noise of the city, to dream.

La Toilette and the Invention of Privacy
From the12th of February, 2015 to the 5th of July, 2015
Musée Marmottan Monet
2, rue Louis-Boilly
75016 Paris – France

Tél : +33 (0)1 44 96 50 33
Site web : www.marmottan.fr

Jeune femme ‡ sa toilette

Eugène Lomont, Jeune femme à sa toilette, 1898
Huile sur toile, 54 x 65 cm, Beauvais, Musée départemental de l’Oise
© RMN Grand Palais / Thierry Ollivier

Jeune femme ‡ sa toilette

François Eisen, Jeune femme à sa toilette, 1742
Huile sur toile, 36,5 x 27,3 cm, Abbeville, Musée d’Abbeville
© RMN-Grand Palais /Thierry Ollivier

La Femme ‡ la puce

Georges de La Tour, La Femme à la puce, 1638
Huile sur toile, 121 x 89 cm, Nancy, Musée Lorrain
© RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Bernard

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