July 28, 2011
Baccarat House (Hotels Paris Rive Gauche)
Most visitors to Paris don’t know what they’re missing by not knowing the word fondation. I know I didn’t when I moved from New York. When I heard about the Yves Saint Laurent or Henri Cartier-Bresson fondations, for example, I just assumed they were boring non-profits or something. Silly girl.
Fondations are Paris’ little artistic gems. Often housed in magnificent old hotels particuliers or modern spaces designed by world-renowned architects, these “foundations” are like miniature museums, dedicated to preserving the memory and achievements of influential movers and shakers. Here are some not to be missed.
Fondation Cartier (Tim Brown Architects’)
By far my favorite is the Fondation Cartier. The modern, airy Jean Nouvel-designed building invites the lush cedar and fig trees surrounding the building inside, and the surrounding wild gardens make for a perfect pit-stop after taking in the art. And then there’s the art. Seeing as it’s the hoighty-toighty French jeweler’s fondation, the work is nothing short of sterling. Exhibitions are really well curated, ranging from Japanese megastar Beat Takashi Kitano’s kitschy-controversial paintings to the wildly popular 2009 graffiti art exhibition to William Eggleston photographs.
261 Blvd Raspail (14th arr.). 01 42 18 56 50. Open every day, except Monday, from 11am-8pm; Tuesdays until 10pm.
Yves Saint Laurent is a god to the French, to fashionistas and to feminists. So it only makes sense that there’s a fondation devoted to the iconic fashion designer in one of the city’s chichi-est arrondissements. Don your finest and dive deep into four decades’ worth of original sketches, accessories, haute couture and ready-to-wear. While many of the rotating exhibitions are devoted to YSL, not all of them are. Past standouts include shows by painter David Hockney, interior designer Jean-Michem Frank and American socialite Nan Kempner.
5 Avenue Marceau (16th arr). 01 44 31 64 00. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 11am to 6pm.
Baccarat House (Jason Whittaker)
Bling, bling! In many ways the Baccarat House is the quintessential Parisian space, set in a gorgeous 18th century mansion and reimagined by Philippe Starck. In other words, it’s tres riche. In addition to a permanent collection of all things sparkly and divine there are regular exhibitions, plus a store that is absolutely dazzling (and free to enter). After the tour through crystal wonderland, it’s absolutely mandatory to dejeune in the breathtaking Cristal Room—just be sure to make reservations in advance.
11 Place des Etats-Unis (16th arr.). 01 40 22 11 00. Open Monday and Wednesday – Saturday from 10am to 6:30pm.
Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson (Erica Berman)
With two modest floors of clean white space, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson is the most modest of the lot, but it’s still a must-see, especially for anyone with a love for great photography. Cartier-Bresson’s riveting mid-century street images of Paris and photojournalism from around the world really hit you in heart. In 2003, a year before his death, Cartier-Bresson and his wife and daughter set this foundation up to preserve his legacy and to showcase other great artists he influenced with thrice-annual exhibitions.
2 Impasse Lebouis (14th arr.). 01 56 80 27 00. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 1pm to 6:30pm; on Wednesdays until 8:30pm.
Maison La Roche by Le Corbusier (Justine Robinett)
It’s tough to capture one man’s work when it spans four continents and 11 countries, but the Fondation Le Corbusier succeeds in giving you at least a sense of Charles-Édouard Jeanneret’s talent and prodigious work (Corbusier is a pseudonym). Set in two past residences, the modern architecture pioneer’s oeuvre comes to life through preserved furniture, sketches, paintings, writings and, of course, those famous Le Corbusier chairs.
8-10 Square du Docteur Blanche (16th arr.). 01 42 88 33 17. Open Monday from 1:30pm to 6pm; Tuesday – Thursday from 10am to 6pm; and Friday – Saturday from 10am to 5pm.
Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson (H.J. Wesselink)
- Looking to get artsy outside? Check out Paris’ Quartier d’Eté
- If we were going to be in London before August 14th, we would be checking out this exhibit on the masters of Italian style
- For something a little more light-hearted, a fair has set up shop in the Tuilleries gardens!
Written by Amy Thomas
Amy Thomas is a sweets-obssessed writer based between New York and Paris. She penned the Sweet Freak column for Metro newspaper and has written about Paris' best chocolatiers (New York Times), desserts for two (Time Out New York), chocolate for guys (Rachel Ray) and the best hot chocolate in the city (Metro). Check for updates from Amy on her blog, God I Love Paris.
Website: God I Love Paris
Tags: Amy Thomas, Art, Art exhibitions paris, Art fairs Paris, art in paris, Art Paris, Baccarat House Paris, cartier-bresson, Contemporary Art Paris, Fonation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent, Fondation Cartier, Fondation Hen, Fondation Le Corbusier, Museums, paris art, paris museums, paris quartier d'ete, public art paris
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