Modernity and exoticism on the Chaillot hill

Cultural events | Exhibitions | Museums | A day in Paris
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The neighborhood of Chaillot 

1918 marked the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the death of three major Viennese artists, Gustav Klimt, Otto Wagner and Egon Schiele who brilliantly participated in the Secession modern art movement. Although Klimt and Schiele’s paintings are internationally reputed, Otto Wagner's architecture is obviously far less known, as the originality of his work can only be seen in the Austrian capital. So make the most of this exhibition which retraces his career from his very beginnings in the stiff Vienna of the 1860s. The emperor François–Joseph I, who had just married the lady later known as Sissi empress of Austria and queen of Hungary, had decided to expand the capital by opening a large avenue, the Ring, on which all sorts of neoclassical buildings were built. But facing the heavy weight of artistic traditions, a movement emerged in 1897, the Secession, demanding more freedom for architects and artists. Otto Wagner, who had started in the eclectic style of the time, then freed himself, along with his students from the School of Fine Arts, from historical styles and gave birth to a new plastic language. Neat forms, modern materials such as aluminum appear in buildings where sunlight is granted much importance. The Post Office Savings Bank, to which an entire room is dedicated in the exhibition, is the best example of his approach: it shows a great concern with the inner space of the building but also with all its details, such as seats, lighting and storage, the beauty of which is based on functionality. A precursor of modernity to rediscover! 

thumbnail_le-shirvan_2103170570-1-parespritdefrance.jpgAt the end of the exhibition, going down to the Alma bridge or to your Esprit de France hotel, why not stop by Shirvan Café Metisse for an exotic experience? Shirvan is an ancient province in Azerbaijan on the Silk Road and thus inspired Chef Akrame Benallal and Indian Chef Manoj Sharma when devising their shared cuisine. The results are clever and joyful combinations of middle-eastern flavours from Lebanon, North Africa, India and Iran served in a suave oriental décor. Give in to avocado hummus or a citrus fruit slice and don’t forget to try their cocktails –all made from the restaurant’s hand-made syrups, fresh fruit and infused spirits tweaked with surprising flavours such as cumin, praline, or orange blossom !