Summer 2018: 10 good things to do in City of Paris museums
Exhibitions, activities, gardens cafés, and more: we’ve found 10 great summer experiences for you to enjoy in our museums. Get your diary out!
Summer has now finally taken over the streets of Paris! The season is generally conducive to relaxing and taking it easy, but also to opening up your mind and finding new things to do and see, whether you' re on holiday or not.
From high-profile exhibitions to children’s activities, not to mention bucolic gardens and open-air cafés, here’s a little list of 10 good things to do in City of Paris museums
1. Immerse yourself in the story of the Impressionists in England
Exhibition Les Impressionnistes à Londres / Impressionists in London
At the Petit Palais, until 14 October 2018
After France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, several artists went into exile in the United Kingdom to escape the hardships of the Commune. Their economic exile encouraged them to take an interest in the culture, the way of life and the aesthetics of the English landscape, and it produced a breath of modernity in the artistic world on that side of the Channel. It was particularly the case for certain impressionists such as Monet, Pissarro, and Tissot, as well as others of their compatriots.
This immersive exhibition features 140 works. Using digital tools, it takes a didactic approach to a little-known aspect of Impressionism: the time spent in London in the 1870s, which fostered the urge of impressionist painters to work on atmospheric phenomena and in the open-air.
2. Learn about new fragrances with the "Parfums de Chine / Perfumes from China" exhibition
Affiche de l'exposition
Parfums de Chine / Perfumes from China
Musée Cernuschi, Museum of Asian Art
9 March – 26 August 2018
The exhibition at the Musée Cernuschi explores the importance and symbolism of perfume in Chinese culture: from ritual practices to the art of living, including the production of works of art (paintings, calligraphy, bronzes, ceramics and so on) based on this olfactory medium.
The exhibition explores the history of the Chinese imperial period through the use and symbolism of perfume from 211 BCE to 1911 CE. Scented terminals are placed strategically for you to discover scents, ingredients and ancient recipes for incense dating from the great periods in Chinese history up to the 19th century: the exhibition covers six dynasties, Tang, Song, Ming and Qing.
3. Relax in the peace and tranquillity of the garden of the Musée Bourdelle
© Benoît Fougeirol 2015
18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle
Nestling in Montparnasse, the Musée Bourdelle is home to the work of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929), who worked with Rodin and taught Giacometti. The museum also has a delightful garden where magnificent bronze sculptures stand in splendour, including a bust of his teacher, Rodin, the highly acclaimed "Hercules the Archer" and his impressive Monument to General Alvea in the rear courtyard.
With its tranquil solemnity and the floral setting, which creates a meaningful dialogue with the works of art, the Musée Bourdelle garden encourages visitors to get away from the hurly burly of a bustling neighbourhood and lose themselves in thought. It provides a secret break, an opportunity to discover the world of the sculptor and to be admitted into the intimacy of his studio. What’s more, admission is free (except for temporary exhibitions).
4. Treat yourself to lunch or a snack in the garden of the Petit Palais...
Avenue Winston Churchill
An oasis of calm in the middle of the Musée des Beaux-arts de Paris! With its palm trees, bananas and various other exotic plants around the three pools, the garden of the Petit Palais is the perfect place for a change of scene with a gourmet snack during a visit to the collections and exhibitions.
Freely accessible during museum opening hours, the café serves drinks and bistro dishes for you to discover in this enchanted setting, away from the bustle of the Paris streets.
Why go there? It’s a place in the sun, a dream setting, a museum brimming with works of art dating from Antiquity to the 20th century… Do you need more persuading?
5. …or in the tea room of the Musée de la Vie Romantique
Musée de la Vie Romantique
© Benoît Fougeirol 2014
After 8 months of refurbishment, the Musée de la Vie Romantique has re-opened its doors. And the celebrated English pastrycooks "Rose Bakery" have taken over the tea room in the bucolic museum garden in the Athens district (9th arrondissement). Homemade delicacies, organic teas can be enjoyed while sitting on a wrought iron bench in the shade of the trees, or in the sun, near the rose bushes.
The garden of the Musée de la Vie Romantique is a bucolic expression of the artistic and cultural atmosphere of 19th century Paris. And as such, it is an invitation to discover the works of Ary Scheffer and his contemporaries.
6. Get children and young people interested in art...
Since summer means school holidays, it is a perfect time to introduce your children to art and creativity by taking them to one of the many workshops organised in the City of Paris museums. The workshops are aimed at children and teenagers and offer them the opportunity to express their creativity, discover a technique used by an artist, or simply to extend their visit to the museum in an enjoyable way.
Young people between the ages of 15 and 25 can also apply for the Youth Pass (Pass Jeunes), which will enable them to benefit from about 50 cultural activities, free of charge or at a reduced rate, throughout the summer! For example, it gives them free admission to the Palais Galliera, the Musée Cernuschi or the Crypt Archéologique.
7. …or in the exhibition "L’Enfance des Lumières / Childhood in the Enlightenment"
The free, interactive exhibition "L'Enfance des Lumières" at the Musée Cognacq Jay, gives 7-11 year-olds an opportunity to explore the perception of childhood in the 18th century through interactive modules on the themes of family, education, games and health. Jigsaws, a game of goose, a photo workshop or a digital tablet are used to encourage young visitors to project themselves into the Age of Enlightenment, where all kinds of education were on hand to turn them into good citizens.
8. Chill out in the cool of the Catacombs
In the summer heat, treat yourself to underground coolness by exploring the Catacombs of Paris! The temperature there is a steady 14°, in summer as in winter. A good reason to visit this warren of abandoned quarries 20 metres underground, where the remains of millions of Parisians have been laid to rest.
9. Stroll around the sculptures in the garden of the Musée Zadkine
© Benoît Fougeirol 2014
Located a mere stone’s throw from the Luxembourg Gardens, the musée Zadkine was where the artist lived and worked between 1928 and 1967. Although the layout of the permanent exhibition tends to present the most important works of this great sculptor, illustrator, and lithographer, the intimate atmosphere of the artist's studio, so conducive to creativity, remains intact. This tranquility is especially present in the garden where Zadkine's neoclassical sculptures (The Birth of Venus, Melancholy, Orpheus, and his preliminary model for the Sculture of Theo and Vincent van Gogh) stand in harmony with the changing seasons.
10. Enjoy the British concerts at the Petit Palais
Affiche de l'exposition Les Impressionnistes à Londres
To celebrate the opening of the exhibition Les Impressionnistes à Londres / Impressionists in London, the Petit Palais plays host to the young British music scene with some free concerts. A wonderful way to enjoy the exoticism of the Petit Palais garden (whose praises we have already sung) and a concert by musicians with an eclectic and demanding palette.