AS CULTURAL CAPITALS go Paris has, for centuries, been one step ahead. This record, stuck during one of the longest Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe, makes the current explosion of artistic attractions on display now more rewarding. Two new museums recently opened while one of the city’s oldest has emerged from a four-year facelift.

Among the must-see exhibitions, let us quote “The Morozov collection: icons of modern art”, presented until February 22 at the Louis Vuitton Foundation. The exhibition features 200 works amassed by the Morosov brothers, Muscovites who at the turn of the 20th century began to purchase Monets, Gauguins, Van Goghs and Bonnards as well as works by Russian painters, to view their collections. nationalized by the Soviets in 1918 and later. scattered in state museums. Many masterpieces are presented for the first time outside Russia.

From January 24 to January 24, “Botticelli: artist and designer” at the Jacquemart-André museum looks at the commercial side of Sandro Botticelli, the 15th century Florentine painter. The show focuses on how Botticelli trained his studio assistants, who helped spread his fame. For more modernity, the invigorating Thierry Mugler show at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (until April 24) celebrates the haute couture collections of the daring fashion designer and the collaborations with artists and musicians.

Here, three new and recently remodeled museums are worth adding to your artistic trek in the city. Be sure to check museum websites for entry requirements, which usually include proof of vaccination and an on-time admission ticket.

The Hôtel de la Marine is home to gems like the bedroom of Madame Thierry de Ville d’Avray (above), the bedroom of the wife of the administrator in charge of French royal furniture under King Louis XVI.


Didier Labor

A royal storage unit

One of Paris’ hottest new tickets, the Hôtel de la Marine, hid in plain sight on Place de la Concorde for two centuries. In June, the building regains its luster of yesteryear as the royal storage unit of Louis XV, where the king’s superintendent has a large suite of rooms. After his dismissal during the French Revolution, the Navy moved there and then stayed for 200 years. As of 2017, a team of interior designers spent four years and $ 150 million removing false ceilings and coats of paint from its paneled walls, while combing 900 pages of royal inventories to find precious furniture and furnishings – tapestries, rugs, curtains – and bring it all back for tourists and locals to admire. What could not be replaced was recreated using 18th century techniques. The elegance quotient is out of the ordinary and an audio guide offers colorful historical anecdotes.

Opened to the public in 1880, the Carnavalet galleries extend over two formidable mansions: the Hôtel des Ligneris, one of the rare examples of Renaissance architecture in Paris, and the Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, whose the latter houses the hotel de Wendel ballroom (above).


Antoine Mercusot

Parisian objects of affection

In the Marais, a five-minute walk from the Picasso Museum, the Carnavalet Museum, created in 1880 to present the history of Paris, reopened in May after a $ 65 million renovation over four years. This locally beloved museum is as delightfully original as ever, but much easier to navigate. The facades of its united sixteenth and seventeenth-century palaces shine again while the galleries inside chronicle Parisian life in art and objects – from old bones to shop signs, stained glass, rococo paneled rooms and a reconstruction of the Fouquet jewelry store from 1901 designed by Alfonse Mucha. New basement galleries explain the city’s oldest history while 20th century exhibits include Marcel Proust’s bed, Gertrude Stein’s writing table and shoes dazzled by the Allied flag celebrating liberation from Paris in August 1944.

The Pinault Collection (above) houses more than 10,000 works of art dating from the 1960s to the present day.


Bourse de Commerce – Collection Pinault, Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Niney and Marca Architects, Agence Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Marc Domage (photo)

Art and commerce

The grandiose old circular building of the Paris Commodities Exchange is now a surprisingly modern gallery space thanks to Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The most striking feature of the Bourse de Commerce-Pinault collection is an incredibly smooth 30-foot-tall concrete cylinder set in the ornate pomp of the frescoed ceilings and muscular moldings of the original building. French tycoon François Pinault funded the $ 170 million renovation and also lines its walls with a continuous rotation of works from his own 10,000-piece collection. The art is contemporary, including photos by Nobuyoshi Araki, sculptures by Bertrand Lavier and haunting paintings by Luc Tuymans, a mix so eclectic that even the rainiest afternoon in Paris won’t dampen the energy. .

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