Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-bicycles-courtyard

Bicycles in a Parisian courtyard. © Paris Update

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Stick up for science
> The Paris March for Science begins at 1pm at the Jardin des Plantes (Place Valhubert), April 22.

Silent films from Switzerland?
> They’re rare, but they do exist and can be seen at the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, April 20-May 2.

Voices from the North
> The Pølar Festival celebrates Northern European culture with films, concerts, talks and more. Various locations, Paris, April 19-29.

Photo walk
> Eight Paris galleries hold special photography shows and events for Parcours Fotofever. Various locations, Paris, through May 1.

Photo shows galore
> Le Mois de la Photo has been moved from autumn to spring, with 96 exhibitions taking place all over the greater Paris area. See Web site for locations and dates.

Art videos
> The theme of this year’s Videobox Festival is “noise and movement.” Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 27-29.

Take home a winemaker
> Winemakers from Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux come to Paris to offer tastings of their products in wine bars and private homes for the event J’Irai Déguster chez Vous. Various venues, Paris, April 20-22.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Nicolas Bedos’s Monsieur & Madame Adelman preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, April 21.

Polaroid pix
> The “Expolaroid” exhibition features Polaroid images by nine artists. La Maison des Ensembles, Paris, through April 25.

Binge-watching
> Festival Séries Mania shows TV series from around the world and holds debates, conferences and special guests like Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife,” all for free. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 23.

Travel yarns
> Travel fanatics get together at the Paris Travelers Festival to swap tales of their adventures. FIAP, Paris, April 22-23.

Street art indoors

ParisUpdate-UrbanArtFair-Felipe-Pantone-2
The gallery Art in the Game will be showing works by Felipe Pantone at the Urban Art Fair.> Some 30 galleries show street art at the Urban Art Fair. Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 20-23.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.

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Art - Museums

 

Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine 2

Monumental Success

The Galerie Davioud, with casts of sculptures from the Cathedral of Strasbourg (13th century), the Cathedral of Saint-Étienne de Bourges (late 13th century), and the Cathedral of Reims. © Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine/Carole Lenfant
The Galerie Davioud, with casts of sculptures from the Cathedral of Strasbourg (13th century), the Cathedral of Saint-Étienne de Bourges (late 13th century), and the Cathedral of Reims. © Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine/Carole Lenfant

Just outside the tall windows of the splendid new Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine stands one of France’s most famous monuments, the Eiffel Tower, while inside visitors inspect detailed casts and scale models of many of the country’s other – some of them less well-known – monuments.


With the reopening of the Musée des Monuments Français, a quirky institution exhibiting casts, copies and scale models of France’s architectural gems, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, which takes up one wing of the Palais de Chaillot at Trocadéro, is now complete. The section housing the Institut Français de l’Architecture, with its intelligently curated exhibitions on contemporary architecture, opened last March, and the Cité is also home to the Ecole de Chaillot restoration school.

What, you might ask, is the interest of looking at copies of architectural elements, sculpture, frescoes and stained glass from French churches and châteaux in a Paris museum? Plenty. First, many of the original structures have been destroyed, damaged or restored since the copies were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Second, it is much easier to closely study the intricate details of the works of art copied from French churches and cathedrals – with their marvelous depictions of saints and sinners, demons and angels, animals and mythical creatures – in the museum than at the actual monuments, where most are located at neck-craning heights. You can admire, for example, the brilliant composition of piled-up bodies on a trumeau from Souillac, for example, or the nasty grins on the faces of the “Vierges Folles” (Mad Virgins) from the Cathedral of Strasbourg. Third, seeing the copies of these masterpieces will certainly inspire people to visit the real thing and enhance the experience when they do.

These massive pieces are magnificently displayed in the vast, light-filled, high-ceiled spaces of the newly renovated wing of the Palais Chaillot. Room after room is filled with tympanums, portals, columns, individual sculptures and scale models. Many return visits are required to do justice to these pieces, which are given context and background information through photos, maps and short descriptions (translated into English and Spanish), as well as informative and interesting interactive videos (showing, for example, what a statue might have looked like when painted in its original gaudy colors). For those who want to delve deeper, the Cité’s archives (by appointment only) and library are open to the public.

Another gallery presents a broad overview of modern and contemporary architecture through visitor-friendly models and even a reconstruction of a real apartment designed by Le Corbusier for the Cité Radieuse in Marseille in 1952, with its built-in furniture and cupboards, which visitors are free to wander through.

Bravo to the people behind this highly successful venture in making architecture, both old and new, accessible and interesting to the public.

Reader Paul Twohig writes: "Thanks for the update. We’ve been waiting for years for this museum to reopen, and earlier updates from other sources were confusing. For one thing, we got the idea the museum would be relocated. You effectively made the case for why people would want to see casts of architectural sections and other reproductions. This will be a priority on our next trip."

Heidi Ellison

Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine: Palais de Chaillot, 1, place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris. Métro: Trocadéro. Tel.: 01 58 51 52 00. Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Closed Tuesday. Closed Tuesday and January 1. Admission: €7 for permanent exhibitions. www.citechaillot.fr

© 2007 Paris Update


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