Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-quai-Seine

On the quais of the Seine. Photo: Ron Fox

 

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).

Christmas singalong
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> So British! Concert: Join the choir and sing along. Practice session on Dec. 10 or click here for singing tutorials. Philharmonie de Paris, Dec. 16.

Christmas markets
> Mulled wine and gifts galore. A full list of Christmas markets in Paris. Various locations and dates.

African music and film
> Africolor cultural festival. Various locations in Paris suburbs, through Dec. 24.

Master of Indian cinema
Festival Satyajit Ray. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Dec. 14.

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.

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.

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. www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr

© 2006 Paris Update

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