Letter from France: September 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

Exceptional one day event

September 29 at 8pm, Homage to Stradivarius, a six Stradivarius concert in Bordeaux
For only one night, the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux will host an exceptional concert with five Russian violonists with their five Stradivarius (property of the Russian state), the sixth violonist will be Matthieu Arama who will play with the Stradivarius of Château Fombrauge, a Saint Emilion Grand Cru vineyard, of which the owner, Bernard Magrez is a great sponsor of international artists.
Gironde 33, Bordeaux, Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux

Ending soon
Until September 16: Marc Jacobs Louis Vuitton exhibition
The Decorative Arts Museum presents an exhibition celebrating the work of two men who have changed the face of fashion and style in their times – Louis Vuitton and March Jacobs.
Paris,  Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Until October 14: Bodies and Shadows, Caravaggio and his European Caravaggism
For the first time, an exhibition is organised as a diptych by two museums belonging to distant cities. The Musée Fabre in Montpellier holds works by Caravaggio and Southern European followers inspired by his technique and style, whereas the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse presents Northern Caravaggism mainly Dutch and Flemish.

*Haute Garonne 31, Toulouse, Musée des Augustins
*Herault 34, Montpellier, Musée Fabre

Until October 21: Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, International Garden Festival
This year the theme of the 28th edition of the International Garden Festival is “Gardens of Delight, Gardens of Delirium“. 21 amazing projects selected by the jury offer a wide overview of horticultural landscapes creation by designers from all over the world. A visit of the castle itself is not to be missed.
Loire-et-Cher  41, Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire

Expo 1925

Running now
Until October 31: Expo 1925
In 1925 Paris put up the first International Art Deco Exhibition, of whom stands were spread right in the city centre over sixty yards. Among all, tapestry occupied a huge place by itself, carpets and wall tapestries, as well as part of furnitures, seats, chairs, sofas, fireplace screens and folding screens. Today, in Aubusson, the Tapestry Museum presents original pieces of furniture using tapestry, which were displayed at the 1925 Exhibition, and which came with a large historical documentation.
Creuse 23, Aubusson, Musée de la Tapisserie

Until November 4: Phares-Lighthouses
A deep dive in the mythical world of lighthouses through Ages, a discovery of their history and architecture feats, and a good way to find out about the men who served them.
Paris, Musée de la Marine

Until November 11: Deauville by Yul Bryner
Deauville pays tribute on Deauville Boardwalk to famous actor Yul Brynner with an outside exhibition of 40 Yul Brynner’s intimate portraits of stars, behind-the-scenes photographs and city life photographs to discover his extreme talent as a photographer. Yul Brynner was strongly linked to Deauville, where he used to live in summertime during his 20 last years.
Deauville, Calvados – 14, Deauville Boardwalk

Until November 30: Keith Haring’s Revolution between Pop and Modern Art
This exhibition of the works of Keith Haring is nestled inside the historical Chateau de Pommard – the birth place of Pommard, one of the best  Burgundy wines. Visits includes the castle itself, wine museum, fabulous cellars and a final tasting.
Côte-d’Or – 21, Château de Pommard

Until 3 March 2013: Rodin, the Flesh and the Marble
Partially in renovation, the Rodin’s museum exhibits 50 marble sculptures by Rodin, highlighting the extreme quality of the sculptor’s work, especially the Rodin’s virtuosity to give life to marble bodies.
Paris, Musée Rodin

Until 2 November 2013: Roulez Carosses!
A loan from the Palace of Versailles, to the museum of St Vaast Abbey in Arras, shows for the first time the best pieces of French royal and imperial horse-drawn carriages along with numerous artefacts belonging to their use, plus a few paintings of important events during which they were used.
Arras, Pas-de-Calais – 59, Musée-Abbaye St Vaast

Until January 14: Canaletto-Guardi, the two masters of Venice
A huge presentation of main works of 18th century painters Canaletto and Guardi masters of the Veduta artistic movement, displaying the reality of charming and elegant Venice, or giving life to an imaginary Venice, the so-called “capprici”. By a special permission from Her Majesty the Queen, the Jacquemart-André Museum was granted a loan of eight masterpieces by Canaletto, leaving for the first time the British Crown’s collections of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André

Until February 10: Canaletto in Venice
Another major exhibition of the Venice famous painter, Canaletto with 50 paintings and also with the real presentation of his famous sketchbook from about 1731 (all pages could be seen on computers) and a Venetian copy of the optical chamber used by Canaletto to make his drawings.
Paris, Musée Maillol

Up coming
From September 21 to January 27, From Red River to Mekong, Visions of Vietnam
After 1850 and during a century Vietnam with its luxuriant nature, its monuments and its various population attracted many French artists and saw very soon the creation of arts schools where Vietnamese artists came to learn European art techniques. This exhibition is a testimony of the fusion between two civilisations, with the Vietnamese vision of French artists, and the interpretation of their own culture by Vietnamese painters.
Paris, Musée Cernuschi

From September 25 to January 20, Impressionism and Fashion
The vision of Impressionists was not only focused on nature and landscapes. Their works testify of the way of life and behaviour at their time. Impressionists’ representation of costume and dress, even non sharp on detail, give us a more authentic and lively overall view of their contemporaries than any artificially posed portrait. About 60 paintings mainly by Renoir, Manet, Monet and Degas are displayed alongside seventy costumes and dresses belonging to the time of Impressionists, as well as an important and authentic documentation.
Paris, Musée d’Orsay

Tea at Guimet

From October 3 to January 7, Tea at Guimet (Le Thé à Guimet)
Asian Art Guimet Museum presents the tea story trough ages and continents. Tea was obviously born in China and grew up during two millenaries, changing is way of preparation and consumption, until its last version, the infused one, that send it to conquer Asia and then the whole planet. Now with the exception of water, tea is the first beverage of man.
Paris, Musée Guimet

New and permanent
Louvre Museum, New Islamic Arts Department
From September 22, the Louvre Museum opens its eight department dedicated to Art in Islam. The former Visconti courtyard is now covered by a huge sail shaped glass roof, and allows the museum to present in one place 3.000 major Islam art works, of whom only a little part could be seen before. This permanent space includes the discovery of an important number of Islamic pieces of art coming from the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Département des Art de l’Islam.

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

Alésia MuseoParc, Alise-Sainte-Reine, Côte d’Or
Right in the centre of the battlefield of Alesia that saw the final battle of Gauls’ War with Julius Caesar’s victory against Vercingetorix, stands the new circular building of the Alesia MuseoParc. Inside, you’ll find lots of interactive explanations, a realistic and astonishing movie of the battle on a seven meters screen, and outside, an amazing life-size reconstruction of the Caesar double fortifications to help visitors to understand one of the biggest battle of Roman times.
Alise-Sainte-Reine, Côte-d’Or-21, MuséoParc d’Alésia

Museum d’Ennery, Paris
Mrs Clemence d’Ennery offered to France in 1894 her fabulous collection of more than 7,000 Chinese and Japanese artworks under strict conditions including presentation of all these pieces inside her own house that she had designed as a personal orientalist museum. Closed for years for security reasons, the museum recently reopened offering to jump back to the time when the irruption of Far East Asian Art influenced European collectors and artists. (Important notice: reservation is mandatory)
Paris, Musée d’Ennery

Musee Lalique

Museum Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moser, Alsace
In the small village where during 90 years were produced a large part of the creations of René Lalique, a great artist of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, hundred ofhis works are displayed highlighting his incredible genius as jeweller and glassmaker. This very modern museum, hidden on the flank of a small green valley, is a perfect case for Lalique’s jewels, perfume bottles, tableware, vases, lights, crystal and drawings.
Wingen-sur Moser, Bas Rhin-67, Alsace, Musée Lalique

Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi, Tarn
Inside the fabulous Palais de la Berbie, the former palace of Bishops of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage, the hugest collection of pieces of art by Toulouse-Lautrec is now displayed in a new scenography offering a new reading of each facet of the artist’s work, including youth works as well as portraits of Montmartre people and scenes from the world of brothel.
Albi, Tarn-81, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec
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