Co-founder of exclusive art-themed tour company Les Visites Particulières, Gabrielle Roüault de la Vigne first came to Paris to work for the Louvre. 'I first organised dance performances in the sculpture rooms,' she says, 'then worked in the communication department and eventually coordinated shows under the unique glass pyramid. It was an incredible privilege to walk alone at night in the deserted alleys of this former palace of the French kings, one of the world’s most gigantic museums. I have also always felt very lucky crossing the bridges above the Seine, admiring the lights of this beautiful city.' On chilly days, she heads for the hotel bar at Jules & Jim, 'because it might be the only place in Paris where you can enjoy a terrace with an outdoor fireplace. Moreover, the staff are absolutely adorable and the cocktails are delicious.'
What Gabrielle's reading right now:
'Passeur de Lumière' by Bernard Titiaux.
Gabrielle's recommended Paris reading:
'The Yves Saint Laurent Pierre Bergé Collection' by Christiane de Nicolay-Mazery
This book truly represents the essence of French taste to me. Published in collaboration with Christie’s, it features in situ photographs of the art pieces of what is still called 'the sale of the century'. It happened when Pierre Bergé, former partner of Yves Saint Laurent, decided to auction their unique, personal and moving collection (one of the world’s largest) in the Grand Palais.
'Guide Érotique du Louvre et du Musée d'Orsay' by Jean-Manuel Traimond
This tongue-in-cheek yet erudite volume unveils the erotic content of masterpieces in the Louvre and the Musée D'Orsay, many apparently beyond reproach. The author discovers risqué visual puns in the sensuous Bacchantes kidnapped by satyrs, the voluptuous Goddess of love Venus, and even Saint Sebastian pierced with arrows… so French, I know. I like this book so much that I contacted the author who now offers a guided tour on the subject within my company.
L’invasion de Paris, Photographs and Locations of the first 500 Space Invaders
This beautiful and bilingual artist’s monograph is also a travel guide to Paris, 'invaded' by the artist's world famous Space Invader street art mosaics in Paris. The book consists of location maps and photographs, which make every reader want to search for each hidden mosaics, and therefore get lost in the city’s narrow paved streets. Actually I also decided to make a tour out of this book!
'Doisneau Paris' by Francine Deroudille and Annette Doisneau
Even thought Doisneau often seems a bit of a cliché, he definitely is a talented photographer and he deeply moved the way the French and the rest of the world look at Paris today.
Paris 1919-1939: Art, Life & Culture by Gérard Durozoi and Vincent Bouvet
During the années folles, Paris was the epicentre of new trends in the arts and its creative energy brought artists and intellectuals from around the world: Picasso, Giacometti Chagall... This very complete book celebrates the intellectual fevour and the charm of the time, which are still palpable in today’s City of Light.