Musée Cernuschi

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Ask any Paris-dweller, and they’ll most likely tell you they have a favourite arrondissement in the French capital. It may be the sixth or seventh, for their artistic history, abundance of galleries and cafes, or parks and open spaces. It may the 10th or 11th, for their collection of quirky bars and restaurants or their proximity to the Buttes Chaumont and Père Lachaise. It may be the 3rd or 4th, for their Medieval streets, quaint terraces and wonderful coffee shops. IMG_0805

Every arrondissement has a personality all its own, and I’d like to think that after all these years, you could plop me down in any random spot in Paris and I could tell you which district I was in. Some arrondissements are cooler than others, some are more historic, and some are certainly more popular. But one arrondissement in particular has been neglected, dismissed as less interesting or attractive than its neighbours: the 17th. It’s true you could easily spend a full and varied holiday in Paris without setting foot in the 17th arrondissement. When I started working as a tutor in Levallois Perret, the outer suburb which shares a border with the 17th, the metro line (3) passed through a series of stops I’d never had reason to look at; Villiers, Wagram, Pereire. Parts of the 17th are fancy, near the border with the 16th. Others are grungy, closer to the 18th. Still others are pretty, but sleepy, around the edge of the 8th.

The Great Hall at the Cernuschi.

The Great Hall at the Cernuschi.

But the 17th arrondissement is an under-appreciated gem. It is home to the picturesque Parc Monceau, with its ornamental lake, lush grass and meandering paths. It features many lovely cafes and brasseries, with a more relaxed feel than in the busier districts (my favourite is the Grand Café de la Poste on Boulevard Malesherbes, smack bang between two museums). These are the Musée Nissim de Camondo, with its stunning c17th decorative arts collection. And, a hop skip and a jump from that better-known museum, lies another: the Musée Cernuschi, a haven of Asian art.

Amida Buddha, 18th century, Tokyo.

Amida Buddha, 18th century, Tokyo.

The Cernuschi is tranquil and elegant. Situated close to Monceau, it is hemmed by verdant plane trees and quiet streets, and housed in a beautiful stone building in one of the prettiest corners of the 17th. Inside, you’ll find a collection of artworks, sculptures and artefacts from across the Ages and the Asian continent. Each room has its unique beauties, but the highlight is the mammoth Japanese Amida Buddha sculpture in the Great Hall, perched high above the rest and looking out of floor-to-ceiling windows into the leafy neighbourhood. Maybe we should start adding the 17th arrondissement to our Paris itineraries.

P.S. Love Asian art? Head to the Guimet in the 16th as well.

Xx la muséophile

Musée Cernuschi

7 avenue Vélasquez, 75017 (métro Monceau)

Museum homepage

Free entry to permanent collection

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10am to 6pm

Closed Monday

Invalides

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No matter what you think of old Napoleon Bonaparte the First, you have to admit the man had a flair for the extravagant. He decked out his living quarters in velvet and gold, supplanted priceless Egyptian statues from their rightful home to the heart of Paris and built himself all manner of over-the-top monuments, not least the iconic Arc de Triomphe, which he commissioned after his victory at Austerlitz.lesmuseesdeparis invalides 5

Though the legends about France’s first Emperor and his less-than-impressive stature are unfounded (in fact, he was 5’6”, average for a man of the period) Napoleon did seem to care very much about how others saw him. Which may explain his tomb.

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In the sophisticated surrounds of the 7th arrondissement, not far from the banks of the Seine, lies the monumental, radiant gold dome of Invalides. One of the brightest spots on the Paris skyline, this stunning dome stands out in almost any view of the city, from Sacré Coeur to the Eiffel Tower. Personally, I love the way it looms over the high garden walls of the neighbouring Musée Rodin, its surface glittering on a sunny day.

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While the dome could well be expected to top a palace or a gigantic exhibition space, Invalides has one function and one function only: to house Napoleon’s remains. The building’s interior is predictably lavish, with soaring ceilings and marble everything. The sarcophagus itself, in cream and red marble, is surrounded by multitudes of statues, with the inside of the dome looming directly above.

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On the same site, as a dedication to Napoleon’s military prowess, museum enthusiasts can visit the Musée de l’Armée, a small but thorough museum about France’s military history.

Some love Napoleon for carrying a struggling new republic far from the disastrous monarchy of Louis XVI, and the equally disastrous Terreur of Robespierre, into a new age. Others despise him (ahem, me) for his brutal colonising practices.

Whichever side you’re on, it’s undeniable that Napoleon lived large. It seems he wanted to continue the tradition into his death, too.

Xx La muséophile

Hôtel des Invalides

Esplanade des Invalides, 129 rue de Grenelle, 75007 (métro Invalides, La Tour Maubourg)

Museum homepage

Full price: 9.5 euros

Reduced price: 7.5 euros

Opening hours:
Every day, April 1 to October 31: 10am to 6pm

Every day, November 1 to 31 March: 10am to 5pm

Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris

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What’s your idea of a perfect day ?

It’s a question that comes up in a lot of cheesy contexts, like celebrity interviews or dating website questionnaires (not that I know anything about that!) Often, it’s obvious people’s answers are constructed to create a certain image (dear movie star, we know your perfect day doesn’t involve wheat grass shots, meditation and hot yoga, stop making us feel bad).

Le musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris

Le musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris

It seems like such a casual question, yet people set so much stock in someone’s description of their perfect day. We seem to see it less as an opportunity to daydream and more of a chance to prove something about ourselves; to show how cultured/motivated/admirable/unique/selfless/just generally ”together” we are. In the Age of Instagram, we care more and more about what our interests say about us.

In actual fact, I don’t think I could decide on a single idea of the “perfect” day. I love the chill of winter, but I also crave sunshine (just not sweltering heat). I feel rejuvenated if I eat well, but I’d be lying if I said my favourite food wasn’t fries. I love to be busy, to be challenged, to pursue ideas, but sometimes I like to wake up just to eat pancakes then go straight back to bed. I love sharing a bottle of wine (or two) with a friend into the wee hours, and I love falling asleep at 9.30pm watching Game of Thrones on my laptop in bed. I adore living in Paris, but I also cherish waking up to the kookaburras in Australia. And let’s be honest: on one day my ‘perfect’ date might be a fancy dinner and a French film, while on another I’d much rather order takeaway and watch Parks and Recreation in my pajamas on the couch with l’Américain.

Andre Lhote, La Partie de Plaisir, 1910.

Andre Lhote, La Partie de Plaisir, 1910.

But if I absolutely had to pick a perfect day, or at least a perfect afternoon, I’d have to go with a visit to the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris. It would start off all impressive and movie star-interview-worthy. I emerge from the Alma-Marceau metro into the crisp winter air. I cast my gaze around at the glittering terraces and Haussmannien architecture, the rustling plane trees and the iconic Eiffel Tower, across the river. I pull up the collar of my trench coat against the breeze and stride along the Avenue de New York. I step into the elegant surrounds of the museum and revel in the wild, vibrant, astounding art of the twentieth century. I soak up the Matisses, the Picassos, the Kleins, the Rothkos and reflect on the intriguing beauty of modern art. Etc.

Yves Klein, Portrait relief de Martial Raysse, 1965

Yves Klein, Portrait relief de Martial Raysse, 1965

Then I meet up with my best friend to drink a 3-euro bottle of wine, eat fried potatoes and watch silly YouTube videos in our 10m2 apartments. We eat too much cheese and Nutella and when I go home I play Dots on my phone until I fall asleep.

Culture is open to one and all, and you can follow up your visit to a glorious modern art museum like the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris with champagne or Fanta, opera or video games. It doesn’t matter.

Let’s let whims be whims and daydreams be daydreams. Let’s own our guilty pleasures, our junk food cravings and our cultural nerdiness alike. Let’s explore when we feel like exploring, create when we feel like creating, and nap when we feel like napping.

This is la muséophile, signing off on this post about a fancy art museum from the comfort of her own bed.

Xx la muséophile

Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris

11 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 (métro Alma-Marceau)

Museum homepage

Free entry to permanent collection

Temporary exhibitions: 5-11 euros

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday: 10am to 6pm

Open until 10pm on Thursday

Closed Monday

Musée Clemenceau

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Where I come from, more often than not, museums are located in specially-built spaces; dedicated public buildings, often in the ‘white cube’ style. But in Paris, many museums are housed in places not originally intended for exhibition purposes.

For example, the Musée du Jeu de Paume, the city’s finest photography museum, sits in a 19th-century ‘royal tennis’ hall (it’s not your average tennis court; look it up). The Musée Zadkine, dedicated to the remarkable Belarusian sculptor of the same name, counts among its rooms the very space in which Zadkine crafted many of his works. And of course, the monolithic Louvre, inarguably one of the finest buildings in the world, was once the French Royal Palace.

But perhaps more thrilling than any of these are the select few museums set in adapted homes. One of the greatest is the Musée Clemenceau, which is located in the former Prime Minister’s original chambers, and is barely ‘adapted’ at all.

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There are signs leading to the museum, set off the chic 16th-arrondissement village of Passy, but once inside the pretty building, you’d barely know you were in a public place. Ascending in a rickety iron lift, surrounded by a plush spiral staircase, you could very well be on your way to visit Clemenceau in his own home. Which you sort of are.

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Pushing open the heavy wooden door to the apartment, you are met by one or two unassuming staff members, whose knowledge and admiration of the man known as Le Tigre, a man who led the French nation through WWI, is immediately clear. There are no ticket booths or gift shops here; you are directed straight into a wood-panelled salon where a wide range of photographs, medals, newspaper articles and letters are displayed, detailing Clemenceau’s life and career. Having known comparatively little about this well-liked French figure before visiting, I came away from these rooms with a far greater understanding of his role in wartime politics and his impact on French society.

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Yet the highlight of the Musée Clemenceau lies on the apartment’s ground floor, where the Prime Minister’s bedchamber and office remain wonderfully well-preserved, down to his slippers and fountain pens. Clemenceau slept little and often worked well into the night, allowing himself very little time away from his duties, and these two connected rooms truly give you a sense of his process.

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Soak up these living spaces and imagine Georges bent over his desk in the wee hours of the morning, a cup of tea by his nearby bedside table. Then step out the adjacent door into the modest garden, drink in the Paris atmosphere, and imagine being one of the people running it all. Would you want the responsibility? Especially during a war? I think I’ll stick to writing about museums, thank you very much.

Xx la muséophile

Musée Clemenceau

8 rue Benjamin Franklin, 75016 (métro Passy)

Museum homepage

Full price: 6 euros

Reduced price: 3 euros
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 2pm to 5.30pm

Closed Sunday and Monday

 

Musée du Luxembourg

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Which is the finest garden in all of Paris? It’s not an easy question to answer. Some are partial to the regal Tuileries, stretching out from the Louvre, winged by the Orangerie and the Musée du Jeu de Paume, and edged by the epic Place de la Concorde. Others prefer the haven of Parc Monceau, in the peaceful 17th arrondissement, with its readers lounging on benches and its locals jogging on the circular paths. I love the much smaller, but lusher and wilder gardens of the Musée de Montmartre.

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But the most beloved of Paris parks would have to be the Jardins du Luxembourg. Perfectly located between the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Montparnasse, the Luxembourg gardens have everything you could ask for: ponds and fountains where children tap wooden boats about in summer, paths to stroll along among leafy plane trees, grass you can actually lounge on, and plenty of those iconic iron seats you can sink into and read your novel or newspaper while soaking up Paris in all its glory.

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For children, there are miniature pony rides, play grounds and puppet theatres. For grownups, there are stunning views of the Paris skyline, a luxe tearoom and, above all, the gold and stone artistic mecca of the Musée du Luxembourg.

La vision de sainte Hélène, Veronese, 1570-1575.

La vision de sainte Hélène, Veronese, 1570-1575.

Bordered by a quiet St-Germain street, the flower beds of the gardens and the imposing façade of the French Senate, the Musée du Luxembourg is a charming exhibition space in one of the most perfect locations imaginable. The museum hosts only temporary exhibitions, so check ahead to see what’s on show. But they are yet to disappoint with their collections, which have ranged from Chagall retrospectives to Renaissance representations of dreams (from which the photos in this post were drawn). At the time of writing, you could catch Paul Durand-Ruel.

Le Songe de Jacob, Cardi, 1593.

Le Songe de Jacob, Cardi, 1593.

Make an afternoon of it and pack a picnic to enjoy in the gardens, then saunter along the shaded pathways, lined with statues, to arrive at the museum’s doorstep ready to absorb some world-class art. The best park in Paris? I think we have a winner.

Xx la muséophile

Musée du Luxembourg

19 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 (métro Luxembourg [RER] or Saint-Sulpice)

Museum homepage

Full price: 12 euros

Reduced price: 7.5 euros
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Thursday: 10am to 7pm

Monday and Friday: 10am to 10pm

Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 8pm

 

Musée Guimet

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One of the reasons I love to go to museums has to do with nostalgia. There’s nothing quite like revisiting an old familiar place filled with beautiful things. I go back to my favourite Paris museums all the time, even if there isn’t a new collection on show. Some of my most beloved museums remind me of my earliest years in France, of perfect Paris days past or of old friends.

But another of the reasons has to do with discovery.

I like to go to museums to see what I know. But I love to go to museums to see what I don’t. And the Musée national des arts asiatiques- Guimet, or the Guimet National Museum of Asian Art, is a treasure trove of the beautiful and the unfamiliar.

Stèle visnuite, Viet Nam, XIIe siècle.

Stèle visnuite, Viet Nam, XIIe siècle.

I’m ashamed to admit that beside countless insomniac hours wandering the halls of the Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur airports, I have never been to Asia. I plan to remedy that in the not-too-distant future, but for the time being the Guimet will do nicely.

Gourde, coupe sur pied et flacons, Thaïlande, XIVe-XVIe siècle.

Gourde, coupe sur pied et flacons, Thaïlande, XIVe-XVIe siècle.

Located in a stunning stone building in the regal 16th arrondissement, the Guimet is three glorious floors of diverse and exotic artwork, ceramics, sculptures and artefacts. The museum is organised according to region, with rooms dedicated to the art and culture of India and the Himalayan region, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Japan, Korea, China and South-East and Central Asia.

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Some of the museum’s highlights are an array of Japanese screens, Thai religious sculptures, Indian ceramics and a stunning Chinese Buddha statue dominating the central hall. The collections are beautifully curated and the museum puts on a number of unique temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

I may have gone to the Musée Guimet with discovery in mind. But my interest in travelling across Asia has been piqued. So next time here’s hoping it will be about nostalgia.

Xx la muséophile

Musée Guimet

6 place d’Iéna, 75116 (métro Iéna or Boissière)

Museum homepage

Full price: 7.5 euros

Reduced price: 5.5 euros
Opening hours:
Monday to  Sunday: 10am to 6pm

Closed Tuesday

Musée de la cinémathèque

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Every so often, when talking with friends or relatives about my PhD, they stop me mid-conversation and say “oh my god, I just realised you’re going to be a doctor!” Yes, I say, but a doctor of movies. I won’t be putting “Dr” as my title on a plane ticket anytime soon; I fear they’ll call on me in a medical crisis and all I’ll be able to do is speak to the patient about French films in a calming voice. The title is a nice touch at the end of the gruelling PhD process, and a necessary step up the ladder of academia, but I don’t think I’ll ever think of myself as a doctor. I mostly just think of myself as a French movies person. Which suits me fine, because cinema is one of my favourite things in the world.

I love cinema because it speaks to everyone; it encompasses high art, low art and everything in between. Cinema is an escape, a form of entertainment and a way to switch off from everyday reality. Cinema is an illusion, a distraction, a recreation. Cinema is a business, an industry and, when it comes to monoliths like Hollywood, a world unto itself. But cinema is also a powerful means of self-expression, social commentary and cultural representation. Movies tell us what we care most about, what makes us unique and what we most fear. Cinema is a screen. But it is also a mirror.

One of the main reasons I love the Paris cinema museum, housed in the spectacular Cinémathèque Française, is that it seems to understand the great power of cinema. The museum’s permanent collections cover such practical areas as the evolution of filmmaking equipment (with some very charming early cameras) and the history of classic film (with some stunning original costumes). There is certainly a penchant for French film, but plenty of broader cinema history as well. However, the museum tends to draw most of its visitors to the temporary exhibitions; retrospectives of a specific filmmaker, actor or film. Past retrospectives have included Stanley Kubrick, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Tim Burton and Metropolis.

Another wonderful thing about the museum is its relationship with the other elements of the Cinémathèque. If you visit for a filmmaker retrospective, for example, you can pick up a poster of one of their films from the bookshop, read about their work in the library and even see one of their films at the in-house cinema.

The Cinémathèque is a film lover’s wonderland, and the museum its crowning jewel. The people of this cultural centre, the largest film repository in the world, love what they do, and truly know their cinema. Take it from me. I’m going to be a doctor in the damn thing.

Xx la muséophile

Musée de la Cinémathèque

51 rue de Bercy, 75012 (métro Bercy)

Museum homepage

Full price: 5 euros

Reduced price: 4 euros
Opening hours:
Monday, Wednesday to Saturday: 12pm to 7pm

Sunday: 10am to 8pm

Closed Tuesday

Note: you can purchase a museum entry and accompanying film ticket for only 8 euros. Museum entry is free on Sundays from 10am to 1pm

Note, take two: if you want to learn about la muséophile’s cinema research, you can find out more here.

 

Institut du monde arabe

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I won’t be surprising anybody when I say that Paris is a multicultural and cosmopolitan city. But there are certain little corners of Paris that will truly transport you elsewhere, and you may not even know that they exist.

For instance, if you get off the metro at Louis Blanc up in the North-East, before long you’ll find yourself in an Indian wonderland, brimming with restaurants, grocery stores and overflowing Bollywood film shops. Further south, the ill-frequented 13th arrondissement boasts a vibrant, unofficial Chinatown. If you’re looking for Korean cuisine, head to Dupleix metro in the 15th arrondissement. Russian? The 17th. Vietnamese? Belleville. All these spots are wonderfully diverse and provide a refreshing counter to mainstream French culture, all in the heart of Paris.

But my favourite cultural enclave is tucked away in the quieter, south-eastern streets of the 5th arrondissement, far away from the bustle of the Latin Quarter. In these picturesque corners of the city, you’ll find some of Paris’ finest Moroccan and Arabic offerings.

A stone’s throw from the metro-marketplace Place Monge lies the stunning Mosquée de Paris. The mosque space itself is reserved for prayer, but the site also houses a heavenly hammam, replete with turquoise mosaics, hot and cold stone pools, massage and a chamber where you lounge on giant floor cushions and sip sweet mint tea. Even if the spa is not your thing, stop by the terrace café for the same mint tea served in kaleidoscopic Moroccan glasses and delicate honey pastries rolled in dates and pistachios.

The Mosquée de Paris is viewed by many as the Arab and Islamic cultural heart of Paris, but it is far from the only Arab institution in the area. For within walking distance lies a sparkling modern glass structure, housing the library, tea house, bookshop, meeting space and of course museum which form the Institut du monde arabe (Institute of the Arab World).

The museum’s focus is vast, presenting myriad elements of Arabic cultural, social and religious history and tradition. The Middle East, North Africa and other geographical hubs are all lovingly represented. In the modern, sunny glass space directly overlooking the Seine, you’ll find intricate manuscripts, gilt jewellery, stone sculptures, traditional dress and historical accounts of life in the Arab world. There is even a traditional hammam section for the addicts among us (i.e. me).

Arab culture and Islamic practise are a prominent part of contemporary, postcolonial French society. Yet they are so often maligned and misunderstood. The Institut du monde arabe presents the finest of this rich and beautiful world with elegance and pride.

Xx La muséophile

Institut du monde arabe

1 rue des Fossés Saint Bernard, 75005 (métro Jussieu)

Museum homepage

Full price: 8 euros

Reduced price: 4-6 euros
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Thursday: 10am to 6pm

Fridays: 10am to 9.30pm

Weekends and public holidays: 10am to 7pm

Closed Mondays

Fondation Le Corbusier

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At the start of every semester, during that unavoidable ‘get to know you’ part of the first lesson, I ask my new students why they are taking French. Some get nervous and say something like “the language sounds nice” or “I don’t know” (that’s ok; I can work with a blank slate). Others cite French food, fashion, cinema, music or just “Paris” as motivations for learning the language. Some want to travel or do an exchange in Europe, Québec or North Africa. Usually foreshadowing a straight-A record, some students say they plan to work in international law or diplomacy and want to learn another UN language (gracious, I did not have my career plan together like that when I was 18).

I like hearing these diverse reasons for studying French, and learning a little about the group of strangers sitting in front of me. There are no wrong answers, but some are more entertaining than others. For example, earlier this year one student exclaimed “French architecture is the awesomest”.

“French architecture is the awesomest.” Not a word, but yes. Yes, French architecture is the awesomest.

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All that romantic grandeur; the sweeping staircases, sloping iron roofs studded with tiny chambre de bonne windows, boldly-painted street doors, scrolled detailing, secluded courtyards, quaint shuttered windows.

But French architecture is not stuck in the 19th century. Some of the most inventive, forward-thinking architecture to come out of France is much more modern. Perhaps one of the greatest masters of 20th century architecture was the Swiss-born, French-nationalised Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known by the pseudonym Le Corbusier.

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The Fondation Le Corbusier, a cluster of semi-detached modernist houses designed by Le Corbusier in the 1920s, is hidden away down a quiet 16th arrondissement laneway. The small but spacious houses are all unexpected curves, splashes of strategic colour and a clever play between light and space. The buildings feel very contemporary, considering they are almost a century old.

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Perhaps ‘museum’ isn’t even the right word for the Fondation Le Corbusier, as stepping across the threshold feels like stepping into a very fashionable retro couple’s living quarters. Le Corbusier’s geometric designs and futuristic touches still speak to people today; I laughed and laughed when I read a recent interview in which Kanye West credited a “Le Corbusier lamp” as inspiring his recent album. But I think I understand where that endlessly hyperbolic fool was coming from. The creative modernity of Le Corbusier’s style feels somehow cutting-edge and timeless all at once.

As a wise man once said, French architecture is the awesomest.

Xx La muséophile

Fondation Le Corbusier
10 square du Docteur Blanche, 75016 (métro Jasmin or Michel-Ange Auteuil)

Museum homepage

Full price: 8 euros
Reduced price: 5 euros
Opening hours:
Monday: 1.30pm to 6pm
Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Closed Sunday

Palais de Tokyo

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One of the things I like most about contemporary and installation art is how it reaches across boundaries; out of the canvas, off the wall, into so many of our senses. The most engaging contemporary works are interactive, unexpected and even disconcerting. They draw you out of your comfort zone, challenge your preconceptions and engage you in unusual ways. The Palais de Tokyo, a meandering modern and contemporary art space standing side-to-side with the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris near Trocadéro, is brimming with this kind of provocative art.

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Across its temporary and permanent collections, the Palais de Tokyo is beautifully immersive and multi-sensorial. Stepping into the museum’s lofty opening room, l’Américain and I were faced with a grand piano, classical music flowing from its unmanned keys, as delicate silver shavings drifted down from above, across the open lid and onto the floor.

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Wandering further into the museum, we entered a cavernous, dark room, strung with clusters of pearly light bulbs reminiscent of Golden Age cinema fixtures, which abruptly flicked on and off, flooding random corners of the blackened room with light. The room was simultaneously unsettling and mesmerising and we found ourselves standing there in silence for a long time.

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For a while, I couldn’t put my finger on what felt so different about the Palais de Tokyo, compared with similar contemporary art spaces I’d visited before. But when we came across a giant rotating bookshelf, part way between a door and a wall, which provided the only entrance into an enclosed room, I realised what that difference was. Here and there throughout the museum were spots that felt… just a little bit… dangerous.

Don’t get me wrong; I am sure the Palais de Tokyo has its priorities in order and is up to scratch with all the interminable safety codes they must be held to. And as a big sister of young children, a frequent traveller and a teacher, I am a total safety fiend.

But, in true dedication to the engaging, the unsettling and the disconcerting of contemporary art, the Palais de Tokyo felt even more engaging, unsettling and disconcerting than your average museum. That rotating bookshelf, which was manned only by visitors and unsupervised by staff, could easily squish someone coming through the other side. Indeed, l’Américain and I both remarked uneasily on the risk. But the experience of stepping gingerly through the heavy, improvised door mimicked how you might feel discovering a real rotating bookshelf, in a dark mansion, opening into a secret chamber. And the haunting, shadowy stairwell leading from one transfixing room to the next made us feel like we were exploring something extraordinary, rather than traipsing through just another white cube. The Palais is even open until midnight if you truly wish to draw yourself away from the typical museum experience.

If you want to be challenged, to break down the boundary between yourself and the space around you, to be immersed in art rather than distanced from it, then head to the enthralling Palais de Tokyo. Just, please, watch your step.

Xx La muséophile

Le Palais de Tokyo
13 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 (métro Iéna or Alma-Marceau)

Museum homepage

Full price: 10 euros
Reduced price: 8 euros
Opening hours:
Wednesday to Monday: midday to midnight
Closed Tuesday

 

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