Notice for nocturnal culture fans: nuit des musées is back on Saturday May 20, 2017.
Had enough of the extortionate ticket prices for museums? Dont panic: on the night of Saturday May 20 2017, a sleuth of French institutions open their doors free of charge to the public for the 13thnuit des musées européenne. In other words, pack your bag, prepare a few snacks (the queues to get in can be quite long), knock back a strong coffee and start the assault of Musée d’Orsay, Louvre and a handful of other historical and artistic places to (re)discover their permanent or temporary collections or performances, spectacles and other thematic shows. So in order to make sure you go to the best of this abundant cultural crop, our editors have compiled some of the best.
Don’t forget the operation ‘Classwork’, which comes back for the fifth time. Bringing French museums and schools together, the programme offers pupils of all ages the possibility to create project interpretating a national masterpiece. The creations will be shown to the public on the eve of nuit des musées.
Where? In 160 cultural centres across the Paris and Ile-de-France
When? Saturday night May 20, 2017.
How much? Free
Also worth checking out:
Surrounded by trees on the banks of the Seine, this museum, housed in an extraordinary building by Jean Nouvel, is a vast showcase for non-European cultures. Dedicated to the ethnic art of Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas, it joins together the collections of the Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie and the Laboratoire d'Ethnologie du Musée de l'Homme...
Opened just days after the 2005 banlieue riots ended, this contemporary art museum has earned a fearsome reputation for artistic savvy. Its collection offers a stunning snapshot of French art from 1950 to the present, including installations by Gilles Barbier, Jesús Rafael Soto and Christian Boltanski.
If mineralogy seems like an obscure science to you, it’s well worth unravelling some of its mysteries at this surprising museum. Founded in 1783, the museum exhibits tens of thousands of minerals from around the world: thorianite from Madagascar, brazilianite from Brazil or even Francevillite from Gabon.
Despite it’s elegant, Belle Époque allure the ‘Little Palace’ is overshadowed by its big brother, Le Grand Palais, just across the road. But ignore it and you’ll miss out on one of Paris’s loveliest fine arts museums, with an extensive mish-mash of works by Poussin, Doré, Courbet and the impressionists, as well as other paintings and sculptures from the Antiquity to 1900.
The city's most prestigious fine arts school resides in what remains of the 17th-century Couvent des Petits-Augustins, the 18th-century Hôtel de Chimay, some 19th-century additions and some chunks of assorted French châteaux that were moved here after the Revolution (when the buildings briefly served as a museum of French monuments, before becoming the art school in 1816).
This monumental 1930s building, housing the city's modern art collection, is strong on the Cubists, Fauves, the Delaunays, Rouault and Ecole de Paris artists Soutine and van Dongen. The museum was briefly closed in May 2010 after the theft of five masterpieces. The €100-million haul netted paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Modigliani and Léger.
The 'Promenade' flagship sets the tone for Vuitton's global image, from the 'bag bar', bookstore and new jewellery department to the women's and men's ready-to-wear. Contemporary art, videos by Tim White Sobieski and a pitch-black elevator by Olafur Eliasson complete the picture. Accessed by lift, the Espace Vuitton hosts temporary art exhibits - but the star of the show is the view over Paris.
2017 marks the centenary of Auguste Rodin's death and a new museum dedicated to the work of Camille Claudel (the muse and mistress of Rodin), opened its doors on 26 March, far from the hubbub of Paris. There are several good reseasons to visit Musée Camille Claudel in Nogent-sur-Seine.
During his lifetime, Jean-Jacques Henner (1829-1905) was one of France's most respected artists, winning multiple prizes and official state honours. While the Impressionists were revolutionising the rules of painting in the late 19th century, Henner was carving himself out a sturdy reputation as a talented landscape painter and exceptional portraitist.
The primary colours, exposed pipes and air ducts make the Centre Pompidou one of the best-known sights in Paris. The then-unknown Italo-British architectural duo of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers won the competition with their 'inside-out' boilerhouse approach, which put air-conditioning, pipes, lifts and the escalators on the outside, leaving an adaptable space within.
Founded by industrialist Emile Guimet in 1889 to house his collection of Chinese and Japanese religious art, and later incorporating oriental collections from the Louvre, the museum has 45,000 objects from neolithic times onwards. Lower galleries focus on India and South-east Asia, centred on stunning Hindu and Buddhist Khmer sculpture from Cambodia.
Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, the Grand Palais was the work of three different architects, each of whom designed a façade. During World War II it accommodated Nazi tanks. In 1994 the magnificent glass-roofed central hall was closed when bits of metal started falling off, although exhibitions continued to be held in the other wings. After major restoration, the Palais reopened in 2005.
The Y-shaped UNESCO headquarters, built in 1958, is home to a swarm of international diplomats. It's worth visiting for the sculptures and paintings - by Picasso, Arp, Giacometti, Moore, Calder and Miró - and for the Japanese garden, with its contemplation cylinder by minimalist architect Tadao Ando. Tours need to be reserved three months in advance.