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).

Strange Happenings in St. Germain

ParisUpdate-Cleary:Connolly:Meta-perceptual-helmet

The “Cyclops” helmet.

> 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.

Car-free Paris!
> On the Journée sans Voiture, motor traffic will be banned in a large part of Paris and discouraged in the rest of the city from 11am to 6pm. Sept. 25.

Top of the tower
> The 16th-century Tour St. Jacques in the heart of Paris is temporarily open for guided tours and splendid views of the city. Reservation required. Paris, through Sept. 25.

Nationwide food festival 
> Tastings, special menus in restaurants and more during the Fête de la Gastronomie. Various locations, Sept. 23-25.

Two meals for the price of one
> Restaurants participating in Tous au Restaurant offer a second fixed-price menu for free. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 2.

Whisky-a-go-go
> Whisky tastings, food pairings, cocktails and more at the Festival Whisky Live Paris. Les Docks-Cité de la Mode et du Design, Paris, Sept. 24-25.

Feel-good films
> Classic movies starring the Marx Brothers, Peter Sellers, Cary Grant and more are sure to raise a smile at the festival Qu’est-ce qu’on Attend pour Être Heureux!, Forum des Images, Paris, through Oct. 2.

Hitchcock’s silent films
> The festival Les Neufs Films Muets d’Alfred Hitchcock presents all the silent movies by the master of suspense. Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, through Sept. 27.

Indian films
> Indian film festival. Musée Guimet, Paris, through Sept. 30.

Chanson française
> L’Estival features singers performing in French. Various locations, Saint Germain-en-Laye, Sept. 23-Oct. 8.

Antique fair in a bucolic setting
> A visit to the Foire de Chatou antique market and regional products fair makes a great weekend outing. Chatou, Sept. 23-Oct. 2.

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.

Free outdoor opera
> Opéra Côté Cour puts on live performances at 3:30pm and 5pm. Bercy Village, Paris, Sept. 25.

Classical, world, jazz & electronic
> The Festival d’Ile de France holds concerts in various locations in Paris and elsewhere, through Oct. 9.

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.

Music on the beach
> Sandy beach and nightly concerts or DJs at La Plage de Glaz’Art. Paris, through Oct. 1.

Garden festival
> Meet the gardeners and landscape architects, take a gardening class, listen to music, etc. at the Fête des Jardins. Various locations, Paris, Sept. 24-25.

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.

Especially for kids
> The Festival les Pestacles offers concerts and other activities for kiddies age five and up. Parc Floral, Paris, through Sept. 28.

 

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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