Letter from France: February 2012

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Whether you’re a novice or seasoned traveller, France will steal your heart. Each month, Frederic – our French correspondent – gives us the low-down on what to see and do across the channel

February 2012: a selection of exhibitions and new cultural events

Ending soon:

Until Feb 12: Pompeii, an art de vivre
A walk through the rooms of a typical private home of Pompeii, filled with furniture and artefacts from the houses buried under the ashes of Vesuvius in 79 AD, to discover the art-de-vivre of the Roman times.
Musée Maillol, Paris


Until Feb 17: La France en Relief: from Louis XIV to Napoleon III
A military purpose leading to the creation of this tremendous collection of relief maps, models of fortified towns and fortresses, of an incredible quality and size.
Musée du Grand Palais, Paris

Until Feb 26: Cezanne and Paris
An exhibition of about 80 Cezanne’s works, all linked to Paris and its environs where the painter although more famous for his Provence works, stayed and worked quite all of his artist’s life.
Musée du Luxembourg, Paris

Until March 5: Erre, variations labyrinthiques
A collective exhibition around the labyrinth’s theme, in architecture, in time, in the man’s spirit, in modern town, as well as in the Minautore’s maze and finally in works of art breaking the traditional laws of perspective.
Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz-57, Moselle

Until March 5: Napoleon III and Eugenie at the Fontainebleau Castle, a Second Empire French Art-de-Vivre
An evocation of the Second Empire art-de-vivre, with the presentation of numerous objects belonging to the private apartments of the last French emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugenie, a loan by the Fontainebleau castle. Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Bordeaux, 33, Gironde

Running now:

From Feb 17 to March 4: the Carnival of Nice
During more than two weeks the town of Nice shelters the biggest French Carnival attracting tourists from over the world to the Cote d’Azur to attend the unique Carnival and Flower Parades. This year the theme is King of Sport, a tribute to the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Nice 06, Alpes Maritimes

From Feb 21 until April 29: Ai Weiwei – Interlacing
The first major exhibition of the Chinese conceptual artist, showing photographies and videos that offer a critical overview of the everyday social realities in a urban setting mainly in China, that works sending him to prison during 80 days in April, 2011, the artist being still on bail in Bejing.
Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris

Ai Weiwei

From Feb 21 until April 29: Berenice Abbott
A retrospective of the works of the successful photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), presenting 140 vintage prints including portraits of famous artists in Paris in the 1920s, images of Changing New York, her project in the 1930s, and a selection of experimental abstract photos produced for the M.I.T. in the 1950s.
Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris

Until March 31: La Fabrique Sonore, Pommery Experiment
A presentation inside the spectacular ancient chalk pits now used as champagne cellars, of the works of thirty international artists working on various sound nuances, from noise to music.
Domaine Pommery, Reims-51, Marne

Until April 1: Rodin, 300 Drawings, Capturing the Model
An exhibition of a few series of drawings of women’s bodies, quite unknown works of the worldwide known sculptor, Auguste Rodin.
Paris, Musée Rodin

Until April 2: Danser sa Vie
An exhibition of around 450 art works, paintings, drawings, choreographies, from the1900s until today dedicated to discover how visual arts and dance share the same passion for bodies in movement. The title of this exhibition is a tribute to Isadora Duncan, the famous dancer, who said that her art was only “to dance her life”.
Centre Pompidou, Paris

Until May 12: Napoleon’sWars, by Louis Francois Lejeune, general and painter
A precious eyewitness account of the main Napoleon’s battles through the works of an extremely accurate painter who was also a general who fought all over Europe and who later on wrote for posterity his Souvenirs.
Chateau de Versailles, Versailles 78, Les Yvelines

Until June 10: The Mayan Jade Masks
Seven tombs of Mayan dignitaries and almost all incredible jade masks already found and many others pieces like amazing carved stones and various potteries, are exposed for the first time out of Mexico, highlighting the main last Mexican archaeological discoveries.
Paris, Pinacotheque de Paris

Until July 30: Histoire de l’Atelier Brancusi
A reconstitution of the Paris workshop where Brancusi, a famous modern sculptor lived and worked.
Centre Pompidou, Paris

Until July 30: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Bivouac
An illustration of the current state of the work of the two designers, who last September for the London Design Festival, exposed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz-57, Moselle


Jean Cocteau-Collection Severin Wunderman
The widest in the world and a must-to-see collection of the works of Jean Cocteau, given to the town of Menton, by the private collector Severin Wunderman.
Musée Jean Cocteau, Menton-06, Alpes Maritimes

Up coming:

From March 6 to May 13: The Rain
Expectation, desire, fear, hate, protection, need… are part of the emotions and feelings released from symbolic or ordinary objects coming from Asia, Africa, Americas and Oceania.
Musée du Quai Branly, Paris

From March 6 to May 13: Patagonia, Images from World End
A parallel between fiction and reality through various documents, pictures, maps of Patagonia from 16th century to nowadays.
Musée du Quai Branly, Paris

Centre Pompidou


From March 7 to June 18: Matisse
The Centre Pompidou presents around 60 Matisse’s works displayed in pairs or short series, to investigate a very special aspect of the artist works who tried all his life long to produce simultaneously the same motif by different techniques.
Centre Pompidou, Paris


From March 7 to July 8: La berline de Napoleon, the mystery of Waterloo loot
The result of an incredible treasure hunt to bring together all the personal belongings of Emperor Napoleon, that have been looted on the night of Waterloo defeat, and then scattered through Europe where they disappeared until recently. That includes all the personal medals of the Emperor, hidden in the cellars of the Moscow Historic Museum until 2000.
Paris, Musée de la Légion d’honneur

From March 23 to July 23: The Twilight of the Pharaons, Masterpieces of the last Egyptian Dynasties
The best masterpieces from Pharaonic Egypt during ten centuries until the last dynasty, the Ptolemaic’s one, display inside the fabulous setting of the town house sheltering the Jacquemart-André Museum.
Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris
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