Photo of the Week


The upside-down innards of the Conciergerie shown on a tarp on the facade and reflected in the Seine. © Paris Update


Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Monster contemporary art fair
> FIAC: 189 galleries show their wares in the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Art on the Champs
> Art Élysées: 75 modern and contemporary art and design galleries in tents on the world's most famous boulevard. Champs Elysées, Paris, Oct. 20-24.

Asian art
> Asia Now: 30 contemporary galleries showing work by Asian artists. 9, av. Hoche, Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Art brut
> Another kind of art at the Outsider Art Fair. Hotel du Duc, Paris, Oct. 22–25.

Art in a townhouse
> Paris Internationale: contemporary art fair in a Parisian townhouse. 51, avenue d'Iéna, Paris, Oct. 19-23.

Young international artists
> YIA Art Fair: Youth takes precedence at this art fair. Carreau du Temple, Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Digital art
> Variation: Contemporary digital art fair. Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, Oct. 18-23.

“Music for old people”
> Le Classique C'est pour les Vieux: The ironically titled music festival holds classical concerts in skateparks, cafés, artists' studios and other unusual venues and incorporates street art, 3D performances and more. Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Film festival for kiddies
> Mon 1er Festival: some 400 screenings, premiers and more for kids aged two and up. Various locations, Paris, Oct. 19-25.


For Brassens fans
> The annual 22V'laGeorges Festival celebrates what would have been the great singer’s 95th birthday this year in his hometown of Sète. Oct. 22-29.

Refugee children speak through art


> From Syria with Love, an exhibition of drawings by Syrian refugee children. Galerie CInq, 5 rue du Cloitre St Merri, 75004 Paris, through Oct. 21.

Classic Danish films
> Festival of movies by Carl Theodor Dreyer. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Nov. 6.

Jazz galore
> Paris's leading jazz clubs cooperate for the festival Jazz sur Seine, with special prices for concerts, showcases and master classes. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 22.

Cultures of the world onstage
> Music, dance, theater and ritual performances from around the world at the Festival de l'Imaginaire. Various locations, Paris, through Dec. 20.

Strange Happenings in St. Germain
> The exhibition Bizarro, with works by a number of artists, fills seven Left Bank galleries with “Bêtes de Scènes et Sacrés Monstres.” Don’t miss the Meta-perceptual Helmets by the Irish duo Cleary/Connolly
at the Librairie Alain Brieux, which allow the viewer to see forward and backward, for example, or the way a cyclops or horse would see. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 30.

Contemporary arts festival
> The Festival d’Automne presents leading talents in art, dance, film, theater and more from around the world. Various venues, Paris, through Dec. 31.

Amazing gardens
> The popular Festival International des Jardins de Chaumont-sur-Loireis held annually in the park of the Château de Chaumont in Chaumont-sur-Loire, through Nov. 2.

Music & more in park bandstands
> Kiosques en Fête brings life to the bandstands in Paris’s parks with concerts, writing workshops, club meetings and even a square dance. Various locations, Paris, through Dec. 31.


Art - Museums


Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Redecorated Home

for Decorative Arts

The grandiose hall of the restored museum glows with natural light. Photo: © Philippe Chancel
The grandiose hall of the restored museum glows with natural light. Photo: © Philippe Chancel

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, located in the Louvre’s 19th-century Marsan Wing, has finally reopened after a 10-year closure, during which both the building and its collection were extensively renovated and restored.

The immediate impression is spectacular. Visitors enter the museum through a three-story-high main hall with light streaming in from oval skylights above and a mosaic-tiled floor gleaming beneath their feet. Glimpses of some of the 5,000 restored pieces on display in the exhibition areas on each side of the hall can be seen through the glass walls of the hall.

The renovation has added exhibition space, which now totals 9,000 square meters, and reorganized the display of part of the museum's enormous collection of 150,000 pieces. The chronological display meandering through the entire museum covers every period and movement from Gothic and Louis XVI to Art Deco and contemporary design. The great names in French design are all here, among them Boulle, Sèvres, Aubusson, Christofle, Lalique, Guimard, Mallet Stevens, Le Corbusier, Perriand and Szekely.

Some of today's top designers, working in four teams, have contributed to the renovation to the museum: Oscar Tusquets and Bruno Moinard for the historic collections, Bernard Desmoulin for three special galleries, Sylvain Dubuisson for the modern and contemporary section, and Daniel Kahane for the temporary exhibition spaces and circulation.

As they wander through the chronological display, visitors occasionally come upon one of 11 re-created period rooms, including several rooms from Jeanne Lanvin’s apartment, designed by Armand-Albert Rateau in the 1920s, and a lavish early-18th-century room from the Hôtel de Rochegude in Avignon.

Two levels on the north side of the building are taken up by a thematic show that will change every year. It currently focuses on tableware and seating from various periods. In three other galleries, collections of toys, jewelry and works by Jean Dubuffet are on display.

The profusion of riches in this collection is overwhelming. While the museum has made a valiant attempt to help visitors make sense of it all with its new organization, a number of glitches remain: the visitor sometimes runs into dead ends when following the chronological path or is unsure of which way to go, and the labels describing the works are difficult to read (a common problem in French museums). But for the sheer wealth of fine objects, this is one of the world’s finest decorative arts museums.

Heidi Ellison

Musée des Arts Décoratifs: 107, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (wheelchair access: 105, rue de Rivoli). Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre. Tel : 01 44 55 57 50. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm (until 9pm on Thurs.); Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission: €9.

© 2006 Paris Update

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