travel

The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art

All over the world, the name Cartier evokes fine jewellery or precision watches, but to Parisians, and Parisian artists especially, it also evokes a contemporary art ‘space’ that rivals any state-sponsored institution in terms of diversity, pedagogical approach to curating as well as practical support for the creative process.

Description: The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art

For all intents and purposes the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art is a museum which showcases cutting-edge contemporary artists, some of them well known, some of them up and coming. One of the unique features of the works exhibited here is that some of them are being shown to the public for the first time, the fruit of commissions by the Foundation, which, through its financial support to artists, offers them the opportunity to explore aspects of their creative process either within the walls of the Foundation exhibition space as artists-in-residence or elsewhere.

Most of the exhibitions here are temporary, reflecting the work of a particular artist, or a particular theme. Evening musical, dance and theatrical performances are also an intricate part of Cartier’s all-encompassing vision of the meaning of contemporary art.

Description: Inside The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art

Inside The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art

The glass-and-steel building on Boulevard Raspail is slightly off the beaten tourist track, but definitely worth the visit. Before you enter, notice the way the glass walls blend in harmoniously with the surrounding buildings, and the way they take turns either reflecting the skies and surrounding cityscape, or letting passersby glimpse some of the treasures within.

Like a modern art installation, the building seems to be in perpetual creative motion, a teaser for the magical, and sometimes absurd, world of contemporary art within.

Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 261 Boulevard Raspail

Métro: Raspail (lines 4 and 6); Denfert (lines 4 and 6), RER B

Open daily (closed on Mondays), 11 am to 8 pm; Tuesdays until 10 pm

Entrance: $9.9-12.7 fondation.cartier.com

Other favourites

The Orangerie Museum (L’Orangerie) An old green house, this building in the Tuileries Gardens now houses Monet’s water lilies and an impressive collection of twentieth century masterworks of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Tuilerie Gardens; muse-orangerie.fr

The Little Palace (Le Petit Palais) and the Big Palace (Le Grand Palais)

These two buildings were built for the universal exhibition of 1900 and, like the Orsay Museum, are impressive glass-and-steel buildings off the Champs-Élysées. They now showcase classical and modern art exhibitions. Ave Winston Churchill; grandpalais.fr, petitpalais.paris.fr

The Carnavalet Museum (Musée Carnavalet)

This private mansion turned museum is devoted to the history of Paris. It documents the evolution of the city from prehistory to the present day through sculptures, paintings, photographs, model reconstructions and an impressive collection of graphic arts and coins. 23, rue de Sévigné; carnavalet.paris.fr

Tokyo Palace and Museum of Modern Art (Palais de Tokyo)

Two centres dedicated to modern art housed in two large 1930s buildings with an impressive terrace that offers a great view of the Eiffel Tower. 11 and 13, avenue du Président-Wilson; palaisdetokyo.com, mam.paris.fr

Galliera Museum of Fashion (Musée Galliera)

History of Fashion from the seventeenth century to the present day . Closed until Spring 2013. Currently holding exhibitions on the Seine docks, at the ‘City of Fashion and Design’, 34 quai d’Austerlitz; galliera.paris.fr, paris-docks-en-seine.fr Cernuschi Museum (Musée Cernuschi) Museum housing a large private collection of Asian art, particularly Chinese. 7 avenue Vélasquez; cernuschi.paris.fr

Guimet Museum of Asian Arts (Musée Guimet)

The French National Museum of Asian Arts has a large and impressive collection of objects, paintings, photographs and textiles from the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, Japan, China and Korea. 6 Place d’Iena; guimet.fr

Maillol Museum (Musée Maillol)

Description: Maillol Museum (Musée Maillol)

Named after the French sculptor and painter Aristide Maillol, this museum contains a large collection of his works and houses temporary exhibitions of classical, modern and contemporary artists. 61 rue de Grenelle; museemaillol.com

Rodin Museum (Musée Rodin) A former private mansion, now known as the Hôtel Biron and set in large beautifully manicuredgrounds, this museum is of course dedicated to the work of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin .79, rue de Varenne; museerodin.fr

Baccarat Museum This former private mansion was transformed into a museum that presents the works of the famous crystal manufacturer Baccarat. The interiors have been designed by Phillippe Starck, and apart from offering all the delights of a museum this is a wonderful place for a romantic evening in one of the restaurants on the premises. 11 Place des Etats-Unis; baccarat.fr

The information

Getting there

Air France and Air India connect several Indian cities with Paris on non-stop flights. Round-trip economy class fares cost anything between 45,000 and 60,000. If you’re willing to take connecting flights, flying Oman Air or Aeroflot will prove much cheaper; flying Swiss or Emirates just as comfortable. From Charles de Gaulle airport, getting into the city centre by bus costs about $13.3 and $12.3 on local train. A taxi will cost approximately $66.7

Where to stay

Paris is rife with some of the grandest and most opulent hotels in the world. A stunning recent addition to the luxury hotel scene is the Mandarin Oriental on rue Saint-Honore (rooms cost from a remarkable 900-odd; mandarin oriental.com). Good mid-range options include the Accor chain of hotels, which offer standard accommodation in a range of neighbourhoods under a range of brand names including Mercure and Ibis (rates begin from approx. $133.3; accorhotels.com). More characterful options include Hotel Beaubourg in the Marais (from $153.3; beaubourg-paris-hotel.com); Hotel Lindbergh, situated between the Latin Quarter and the Trocadero/Eiffel Tower district (from $138.7; hotellindbergh.com); and the New Orient Hotel (from $140; hotel-parisorient.com), also located within walking distance of the main sights.

Resources

Trip-planning information can be found at paris.fr. For a full list of museums and practical information, see parismusees.com.

Top tip

Museum lovers should consider visiting Paris in October. Every year, on the first Saturday of the month, the Paris city government organises a ‘White Night’, during which the streets comealive with all-night contemporary art installations, planned by an ‘artistic director’ chosen eachyear to choreograph and curate the event. This is also a wonderful time to visit Paris’ established museums, many of which stay open until midnight or later. Paris White Night 2012 will be held on October 6, and this year’s artistic director is Laurent LeBon, director of the Centre Pompidou in Metz. See nuitblancheparis.fr.

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