Culture & Art


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Culture & Art

Visit Versailles differently: the treasure hunt!

5 months ago - Julie D.

Versailles is one of the destinations not to be missed under any circumstances when visiting Paris. Voila, the castle is huge, beautiful, and its history may seem like too much ... but how to enjoy the visit without getting overwhelmed? For example, what would you say about going on a treasure hunt? Here are four representative objects of Versailles, with their history. Can you find them in the galleries of the castle? Visit Versailles: some practical tips Versailles is very, very, very popular with tourists ... It will take patience to queue at the ticket office, unless you buy your tickets online here. Remember, however, that you can rely on HomeTown to organize an excursion to Versailles with a guided tour. In this case, goodbye long queues! The Château itself is open every day except Mondays, from 9am to 6.30pm in high season. The Petit Trianon and the Galerie des Carrosses are open in the afternoon only, from noon to 5.30 pm. It is recommended to avoid Tuesdays and weekends when there is a crowd. You can also consult the calendar of the castle to see the forecast of affluence. You can go to Versailles by public transport, several solutions for this: Take the RER C to Versailles Château Rive Gauche Or take the Gare Montparnasse train to Versailles Chantiers Or take the Gare Saint-Lazare train to Versailles Rive Droite The RATP bus 171 departs from the Pont de Sèvres (terminus of metro line 9) and goes to the castle A forewarning, all of these options, except the bus, require to finish the journey on foot (between 10 to 20 minutes walk from the station). There is also a shuttle, Versailles Express, which goes directly to the Palace of Versailles. The shuttle departs from Quai Bourdonnais, near the Eiffel Tower. Once you have passed the golden gates of the Castle, here are the four objects to find! Portrait of Marie Leszczynska Less known than Marie Antoinette, Marie Leszczynska, the wife of Louis XV, had not less a remarkable destiny, and almost as tragic as that of Marie Antoinette ... In 1725, the weak health of Louis XV worries a lot: what will become of the crown of France if he dies without an heir? When he falls sick again, his entourage panics and looks for a wife of age to give him children. After complex court intrigue, it is Marie Leszczynska, Princess of Poland, who is chosen. She is seven years older than her future husband. This is a default choice: the princess was first eliminated from the ranking because her lineage was not prestigious enough, but it is finally chosen because it does not threaten any party at the court of Versailles. She has no support at court, where she finds herself isolated. She will give ten children to Louis XV, including eight girls; only one son survives. Very pious, rather shy, she finds it hard to find her place in Versailles because she lacks a lot of talent - she does not master French "lightness". To find this portrait, go to the Victoire apartment! This portrait really pleased the Queen, who had several copies made of it. She is modestly represented in city clothes, with nothing to show her status as queen. Pendulum of « Louis XIV » In 1706, the watchmaker Antoine Morand presents the king with an exceptional clock that he himself made. To please Louis XIV, Morand represented the king in panache: when the clock rings the hour, two putti strike the gilded metal, and the king appears, to be crowned by the goddess of Fame. The clock is mounted on a box of fine marquetry. Like many objects of the Palace of Versailles, the clock experienced many vicissitudes at the time of the Revolution. A revolutionary watchmaker removes the royal arms to replace them with Republican emblems and makes the clock the "Pendulum of Liberty". It was bought by Louis XVIII and returned to Versailles in 1819. Step 2 of the treasure hunt: you will find the clock in the Salon de Mercure. Do not miss the Astronomical Clock, a clockwork jewel with an exquisite precision. It is exposed in the cabinet of the Pendulum. Candelabrum  « of the American Independence» This candlestick represents a trend firmly rooted in the courts of Europe at the time: objects that celebrate or commemorate a special occasion, with many symbols. For the third stage of the treasure hunt, you will find this candelabrum in the King's Inner Cabinet, its original location. The candlestick was created in 1784, to celebrate the victory of Yorktown (1781). We find the animals and elements that symbolize the various protagonists of the battle, delicately carved in bronze: leopards, roosters, mermaids and ships. The Siege of Yorktown is a turning point in the American War of Independence, which pitted the British armies against the American insurgent forces. These fought with the support and reinforcement of the French. While, on the American side, the Duke of Rochambeau and General Washington decide to march to New York, on the English side Lord Cornwallis leads his troops to refuel at Yorktown. Rochambeau decides to change strategy and march to Yorktown to fight Cornwallis, without informing Washington. The bet is risky, but the British soldiers are much less numerous, and weakened by malaria. With the reinforcement of the French fleet wetting in the Chesapeake Bay, the American victory is assured, and the English surrender on October 19, 1781. Marie-Antoinette's Armchair at the Petit Trianon One of the things that amazes the most when visiting Versailles is the furniture. Imitated around the world, admired, the furniture of 18th century Versailles never stops to influence fashion. This pretty armchair was commissioned by Marie Antoinette to furnish her bedroom, and you will find it at the Petit Trianon. Last step of the treasure hunt! It is part of a set decorated with ears of wheat, honeysuckle and jasmine that the queen ordered in 1787, just two years before the Revolution. It is possible that she did not enjoy it very long... The vegetal decoration corresponds well to the rural inspiration that Marie-Antoinette wanted to give to the Petit Trianon. This castle was her refuge when the atmosphere of Versailles, stiff and starched, became too stuffy. This is a space that Marie-Antoinette wanted to model according to her tastes: the refined simplicity is inspired by the fashion of the "Swiss chalet", which was raging at the time. Against the sophisticated sophistication of the Court and the corruption of big cities, many aristocrats aspired to a simple life - or at least a fashion that reminds them of what a simple life could be! Indeed, we should not push too much anyway: this "return to nature" is especially evident on furniture sets very refined and comfortable! Even if the Hameau de la Reine farm worked well as a farm, Marie-Antoinette was never really a shepherdess, except to dress up ... And to finish the visit: see Versailles differently Contemporary photographer and artist Jean-François Rauzier made a startling bet: take thousands of photos of Versailles - and sew them together to get dreamlike views of the palace. Infinite staircases, kaleidoscopic galleries, maze libraries ... The result is breathtaking. He dedicated to Versailles a magnificent book, Hyper Versailles (found here). In this video, the artist explains his technique as he applied it to the graceful lines of the staircase at the Hôtel de Ville in Versailles.

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Visit Versailles differently: the treasure hunt!

Visit Versailles differently: the treasure hunt!

Culture & Art

From Amélie Poulain to Steampunk: The dream world of Caro and Jeunet

9 months ago - Julie D.

You may have come to Montmartre in the footsteps of Amélie Poulain ... Take advantage of it until July 2018 to visit the Halle Saint-Pierre, to see the exhibition devoted to objects crafted by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Then, continue your treasure hunt to discover Paris, but on another track, that of the "Steampunk" dear to the before mentioned. "Caro and Jeunet" are a genius tandem known for their films with a strange universe, populated by bizarre objects and sometimes a comical décor but sometimes disturbing. Their best-known collaborations are the films Delicatessen and La cite des Enfants Perdus. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is also, of course, the director of Alien Resurrection and Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain. The exhibition allows you to dive into their dream world with delight and to find the unusual objects that populate their films. Everyone remembers Amelie Poulain's bedside lamp: the lamp-stand, a placid pig in a dressing gown, liking to share her wise aphorisms about her owner's eventful love life. The lamp is part of the exhibits at the Halle Saint-Pierre, in the heart of the neighbourhood of Amelie Poulain - so to speak at home! You can also see Dominique Bretodeau’s box of souvenirs that Amelie returns to its owner after many subterfuges. But the exhibition also recalls the darker sides of the universe of Caro and Jeunet, where the Steampunk cyclops evolve, decked out with a monocle at the end of an articulated arm, the “optacon", and where the Alien takes the scary aspect of a skeletal abortion. The Halle Saint Pierre, outsider art and singular art "Dedicated to the most unexpected forms of creation," Halle Saint-Pierre is a space dedicated to outsider art and singular art, nestled at the foot of the Butte Montmartre - near the gardens of Sacré Coeur where Amelie Poulain takes Nino Quincampoix on a nice treasure hunt. The Halle also hosts an art-shop bookstore and a café. In parallel with the exhibition Caro and Jeunet, do not miss "Turbulences in the Balkans", on the upper floor of the Halle, an exhibition devoted to the latest developments of outsider art in this region. Interestingly, Jean-Pierre Jeunet is an avid visitor to the Halle, and the creators and artists who have exhibited in the past have suggested many elements for his films. The exhibition includes works from the Halle Saint-Pierre collection, chosen by Caro and Jeunet for having inspired them. Halle Saint-Pierre - 2, rue Ronsard, 75018 - metro Anvers or Abbesses - open every day, from 11h to 18h, Saturday from 11h to 19h and Sunday from 12h to 18h - beware, the ticket office closes 1h before the closing time of the museum - full price 9 €, under 15 6 € Steampunk, the nostalgia of the future But what is "Steampunk"? A universe born of the unbridled imagination of novelists and artists both fascinated by technological progress and worried about its excesses. From the novels of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne to the wanderings of Adèle Blanc-Sec in a Paris populated by frightening creatures, the Steampunk cultivates an imaginary that mixes Belle Époque fashion and crafted gear. Redingotes, crinolines and time machines stand in a merry tote. The "Steampunk" is also a very lively community of fans, who in France are called "vaporists". This mixture of futurism and nostalgia, these strange and poetic objects, are found in a series of famous chromolithography’s: "The Year 2000" seen by Villemard. Designed in 1910, at the height of the Belle Époque, these exquisitely obsolete skits described an ultra-technological future as it was portrayed at the time: telephone conversations with holograms, supersonic means of transport, beard-trimming machines and hair styling for the ladies. Even if we can recognize the ancestors of objects that we use every day, the combination of articulated arms, gramophone pavilions and 1900s clothing still smiles... The turn of the century, late 19th and early 20th, is also the time of Jules Verne's triumph. Captain Nemo's submarine, the Nautilus, is a shining example of these complicated machines whose function is not always obvious but which have an undeniable look! Moreover, you can find the Mysteries of the Nautilus among the attractions of Disneyland Paris. Jules Verne was also an unneglectable source of inspiration for Caro and Jeunet and remains the patron saint of Steampunk, in Paris and around the world. "The Jules Verne" is also the name of the restaurant on the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower, symbol Steampunk if it were. The Mysteries of Nautilus - Disneyland Paris - accessible by RER A, Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy stop, or by Disneyland Paris Express from Gare du Nord, Opera and Châtelet. Restaurant Le Jules Verne (Alain Ducasse) - 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower - avenue Gustave Eiffel, 75007 - metro 6 Bir-Hakeim, RER C Eiffel Tower The automaton collection and the Blériot aeroplane from the Museum of Arts and Crafts This fascination for ingenious machines does not date from yesterday - nor does it date from Jules Verne. Poets can continue their daydreams at the Museum of Arts and Crafts, which has a superb collection of automatons from all ages. This Theatre of automatons shows notably a Marie-Antoinette musician, player of tympanon. Her graceful head movements produce a strange, almost living impression. The Theatre brings together other curious specimens, many toys like this Don Quixote with a proud moustache painted on his steed on wheels, and other musicians, such as barbaric organ player. At the discretion of the galleries, one can also admire the flying machine of Louis Blériot, ancestor of the plane. This airplane was the very one that allowed Blériot to cross the Channel in 37 minutes in 1909 - and this vintage film, black and white grainy and flickering, will certainly have influenced the fans of Méliès that are Caro and Jeunet. The character of the zany and daring inventor, who tests his own machines at the risk of his life, is a well-known figure in the Steampunk pantheon! Museum of Arts and Crafts - 60, rue de Réaumur, 75003 - Metro Arts et Métiers or Reaumur-Sebastopol - price: 8 €, reduced price € 5.50, free the first Sunday of the month and Thursday from 18h to 21h30 Arts et Métiers metro station, line 11 The Arts et Métiers metro station itself is well known to the "vaporists" for its retro and futuristic look, a trademark of the Steampunk ... On the docks of line 11, it multiplies the winks like the portholes that pretend to be in the depths of the Earth, and which display objects from the Museum of Arts and Crafts, such as the armillary sphere or the Telstar satellite. Its elliptical vault, entirely covered with riveted copper plates, gives it a very particular look that evokes the mechanics and the machines, as well as the big wheels at the end of the platform. This deco set up for the bicentennial of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts is due to the screenwriter Benoît Peeters and the designer François Schuiten. Long-time friends, they collaborated on the fantastic comic book Les Cités Obscures. This universe of science fiction takes us, among other places, to "Brüsel" and "Pâhry": these two imaginary cities resemble what could be Brussels and Paris, if a crazy Steampunk urbanist had redesigned them...

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From Amélie Poulain to Steampunk: The dream world of Caro and Jeunet

From Amélie Poulain to Steampunk: The dream world of Caro and Jeunet

Culture & Art

What to do during the closure of the Carnavalet Museum?

1 year ago - Julie D.

The Musée Carnavalet, museum of the history of Paris, closed until the end of 2019 2000 sculptures, 2600 paintings, 300,000 prints, 150,000 photographs, 10,000 archaeological pieces ... The Carnavalet Museum is the memory of Paris. From the Gallic tribe of the Parisii and the prehistoric canoes found in the Bercy district, to the first photographs of Paris by Émile Atget, passing by the keys of the Bastille and even a lock of Louis XVI's hair, the museum tells the story the turbulent history of the French capital. Or rather "recounts", because the museum is closed for renovation until the end of 2019, only to reopen in 2020. Misfortune! So how to discover the extreme richness of this story, and how to take its pain in patience while the museum gets a new look? Not wanting to leave its orphaned visitors, the Carnavalet Museum has set up a series of guided tours and lectures on many themes. These activities outside the walls take the curious to stroll in several districts of Paris. One has the spoiled choice of: strolls "the Paris of writers", with among others the Paris of Victor Hugo or the Paris of Proust; Walks devoted to a historical period: medieval Paris, the Paris of the Revolution; Or even neighborhood walks, around Montmartre, Les Halles or the Grange aux Belles. Indeed, the streets of Paris are perhaps the best place to discover the history of the city. If it explores with delight in a museum, this story is also discovered with the nose in the wind, in this open-air museum that is the City of Lights. Besides, times have changed, and the institution Paris Museums has come to the fore. The museum becomes portable and interactive: we can now download the Paris app au Fil de la Seine to discover the history of Paris by strolling along the river banks. From Saint-Louis Island to the Alexandre III bridge, we discover the anecdotes that made history, and we superimpose today's selfies and works of yesterday. For a "note card" side that may not be useless sometimes, we will go and cram secretly fast the chronological adjustment of Paris Info. In addition to recalling the dates, the site also offers, much more playful, a walk in Paris that makes us walk the city from the Gallo-Roman antiquity with the Arènes de Lutèce to the new district of the National Library of France, very recent. For the history of Paris continues to be written! Other museums to discover the history of Paris Yet a stay in Paris cannot be entirely without museums... There are others than just the Carnavalet Museum, which remain open. Cognacq-Jay Museum For those who associate Paris with the refinement of the 18th century, the Cognacq-Jay Museum is the perfect destination. It gathers, in the sumptuous hotel of Donon, the legacy of Ernest Cognacq and his wife Marie-Louise Jay. The Cognacq-Jay couple are themselves part of the history of Paris since they are the founders of the La Samaritaine store. Art-lovers of the 18th century, they collect during their entire life paintings, sculptures, drawings, pieces of furniture, jewelry and knick-knacks. Museum Cognacq-Jay - 8 rue Elzévir, 75003 - Open from 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Sunday - Closed on Mondays - Saint-Paul metro, Chemin-Vert, Rambuteau - free entry for the permanent collection, the museum is unfortunately not accessible to people with reduced mobility. Jacquemart-André Museum The Jacquemart-André museum houses the collection of another art-loving couple Édouard André and his wife Nélie Jacquemart. André was the heir of one of the greatest fortunes of the Second Empire, and had served in the personal guard of Napoleon III: once again, the small story joins the great and the founder of the museum which fascinates as much by his personal journey as by his legacy. In the sumptuous setting of the mansion which André built at great expense in 1868, there are many paintings and works of art. We are interested in the place itself as well as in the magnificent art collections, which bring together Italian primitives, French 18th century artists (Fragonard, Vigée-Lebrun), Dutch artists (Rembrandt, Van Ruysdael) and English artists (Joshua Reynolds). In order to respect the wishes of Nélie Jacquemart, the layout of the premises has been maintained as it is: one thus strolls in the rooms as they were inhabited by the Jacquemart-André couple, and the museum is also the witness of a lifestyle luxurious under the Second Empire. Musée Jacquemart-André - 158 boulevard Haussmann, 75008 - Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, nocturne on Monday until 8:30 pm during exhibition period - Saint-Augustin, Miromesnil or Saint-Philippe du Roule metro - entrance 13,50 € - purchase the ticket online on the museum's website for a direct access. National Museum of Medieval ages – Thermes de Cluny The National Museum of the Medieval Ages found the perfect setting in the Hotel de Cluny. The magnificent building was formerly the residence of the powerful monastic order of Cluny. It is built from 1485 in the Gothic style, but as early as the 13th century the order of Cluny had nearby a college for the education of its novices. The chapel, which dates from the 15th century, is an architectural jewel, with its extremely graceful and richly carved vault. The museum houses an extraordinary collection of medieval art, including the splendid tapestry of the Lady with the Unicorn. Museum of the Middle Ages - 6, place Paul Painlevé, 75005 - open every day from 9.15 am to 5.45 pm except Tuesdays (ticketing until 5.15 pm) - 8 €, 6 € reduced price, free on the first Sunday of each month Cluny-La Sorbonne or Saint-Michel. The Museum of Montmartre Do you know the black cat, the Art Deco cat that can be found everywhere on souvenirs, posters, umbrellas, fridge magnets, mugs ... Discover the original, the famous poster designed by Steinlein for the Cabaret du Chat Noir , At the Montmartre Museum. Close to the Place du Tertre and yet so far from its hustle and bustle of tourists, the museum transports its visitors to the heart of the Bohemian Montmartre from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There is also Renoir's garden: Renoir rented a studio for two years in the building that now houses the museum, and the garden has been recreated as shown on many paintings by the Impressionist painter. The museum presents a superb collection of works and testimonies from Modigliani, Maurice Utrillo, Suzanne Valadon, Toulouse-Lautrec and many others. Museum of Montmartre - 12 rue Cortot, 75018 - open every day, all year from 10 am to 6 pm and until 7 pm from April to September - Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro - from 9,5 € to 11 € depending on the exhibitions. Museum of the Préfecture de Police The Museum of the Prefecture de Police traces the history of the police forces of Paris, since their creation under Louis XIV. Paris in the seventeenth century was a bustling metropolis whose sovereign knew too well the rebellious spirit from the Fronde which forced him, still a child, to flee the capital. The Sun King forces Colbert to organize a modern police force, and this is the beginning of a fascinating history that reflects the evolutions of the city. The important reforms brought about by the successive lieutenants shaped the face of Paris: the introduction of street lighting in the 18th century was due to the police and helped to make Lutetia the City of Light and the establishment of a file with the techniques of Alphonse Bertillon, marked the beginnings of the scientific police at the end of the 19th century. The museum also features a history of criminality and punishment for criminals. This part of the collection, nicknamed "Crime Museum", is often cold in the back... Museum of the Prefecture of Police - 4, rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, 75005 - metro Maubert-Mutualité - open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 5 pm - free admission.

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What to do during the closure of the Carnavalet Museum?

What to do during the closure of the Carnavalet Museum?

Culture & Art

Paris, Capital of Cabarets

1 year ago - Pauline P.

The symbols of glamor and festive spirits are tied to the French capital; the Parisian cabarets make tourists from all around the world dream of coming here. Revue, burlesque, circus, magic... there's something for everyone, with a common denominator: the happiness of having fun and filling ourselves with wonder all together! The Paradis Latin, The oldest Parisian cabaret Founded in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Paradis Latin is at the time the most popular place in the capital. Its history is closely linked to the cultural life of Paris: many artists, intellectuals, politicians, and journalists would go there; Balzac, Dumas father and son and even Mérimée are regulars, but it is Gustave Eiffel, figure of the Parisian landscape, who rebuilt this cabaret after a fire, all at the same time he was building the iconic Eiffel Tower for the 1889 universal exhibition. After a long period of closure and abandonment of the premises, from 1894 to 1977, the Paradis Latin is reborn once more to host music hall revues, shows combining songs, magic and circus acts. The cabaret has regained the splendor of its debut, attracting more than ever the immense crowds... The Paradis Latin, 28 rue du Cardinal Lemoine 75005 Paris. Diner at 20h, show at 21h30 The Moulin Rouge, From the Belle Epoque to present day At the foot of the Butte Montmartre, a place of celebration and art since the end of the 19th century, the Moulin Rouge reinvented the spectacle in 1889, with extravagant magic and circus numbers. Then the revues debut, and the biggest names of the French scene begin and firm their success on the stage of the Moulin Rouge: Goulue, Mistinguett, Maurice Chevalier then later Edith Piaf, Yves Montand or Charles Aznavour. This Cabaret welcomed the Queen of England for a private show, and multiplied the gala soirées, inviting the greatest international stars: Liza Minelli, Ray Charles and Elton John who performed on this mythical scene. A myth that lasts until today, with revues that are regularly produce abroad, and a French Cancan that is always and still is iconic. The Moulin Rouge, 82 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris. Diner at 19h, show at 21h or 23h The Lido, Glitter and Glamor on the Champs Elysées On the Champs Elysees, the most beautiful avenue in the world, The Lido opened its doors in 1946, and from then on, all spectators from all over the world are dazzled with the extravagant costumes and talented dancers that perform there. The Bluebell Girls company has become a true myth: these dancers with endless legs (they must measure at least 1.75m to be able to integrate in this troop) and of legendary elegance offer each evening an exceptional representation. 200 kilos of feathers, an ice rink, 300,000 bottles of champagne a year... the Lido is the temple of excess, to delight and astonish all spectators. The Lido, 116 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris. Diner at 19h, show at 21h or 23h The Crazy Horse, strip-tease glamor in Paris A true temple of chic eroticism, the Crazy Horse was created in the 50's to renew the genre of the cabaret, mixing the art of striptease with polished and sophisticated aesthetics. Dazzling heels, fringed wigs and exaggerated false eyelashes, the dancers of the Crazy Horse are plucked into an atmosphere of shadows and lights. Guest-stars are regularly invited to join the troop, to make the show even more unforgettable... The Crazy Horse, 12 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris

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Paris, Capital of Cabarets

Paris, Capital of Cabarets