I planned this trip on the spur of the moment with the primary purpose of seeing the Sonia Delaunay show at the Musée D’Art Moderne De la Ville de Paris. It promised to be the most comprehensive show of this multi-disciplinary abstract artist as yet shown. It did not disappoint. If you are unfamiliar with her work, Google her.
Photos of the exhibit weren’t allowed. Here is the cover of the exhibition catalog, available at the Tate in London.
I was there for 8 days this time, about as long as I can get away from my office with no one noticing! A word about how I planned this trip to make the best use of my time. First, I got a fold-out map, instead of a book with map pages. I like to see the big picture. Then I marked everything on the map that I would possibly want to see – museums, passages (narrow covered walkways lined with shops and restaurants), stores, homes, and other points of interest. I also printed larger maps of some neighborhoods from the internet so I could see more detail. I even made a circle marking 1 mile from my apartment. That way, I’d know about how long it would take me to walk somewhere.
In addition, I made an Excel spreadsheet with all of the museums and other places that I wanted to visit, broken down by neighborhood, including address and hours of operation. Figuring I would only be in each neighborhood once, this allowed me to hit as many stops as possible. Ah, my German efficiency.
Get the museum pass! You can buy it at any of the museums included in the pass. It’s great because you aren’t opening your wallet all day. But the best part is that you get to skip the line for purchasing tickets. There aren’t many lines in February – but they do exist.
Another suggestion, buy as many tickets, such as music venues and the Eiffel Tower, online before you go.
The best guide book I’ve found. In-depth interesting stories, but very few photos. Use another guide book for photos.
One of my favorite stops, I found the day I arrived while waiting for my apartment to be ready, Musée des Arts et Métiers. They were kind enough to take my luggage in coat check. It includes innovations in the fields of scientific instruments, energy, mechanics, construction, communication and transport starting in the 17th century. It is fascinating. I love old staircase models and they had a few in their collection of other architectural models.
If you’ve never been to the studio of Constantin Brâncuși it’s almost worth a trip on its own. Situated in the plaza in front of the Centre Pompidou, is a little building that houses his studio pretty much as it was when he died.
Another must-see spot, the gah-worthy bedroom of Jeanne Lanvin at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs adjacent to the Louvre. My phone photos are terrible, so I’ve lifted a couple from the internet. The fabric on the walls, drapes, bed… is hand embroidered. And it’s my favorite color – periwinkle.
Tucked in a hallway of the same museum, a series of botanicals by Girolamo Pini. I’d never heard of him and there isn’t much about him on the internet. But I fell in love with his work.
Passages – there are dozens of these ranging from very fancy to completely utilitarian. I recommend organizing them into your walks.
Last but not least for this posting. Sainte Chappelle. I’d never heard of this place, but a friend insisted I go. Now I’m insisting you go. It’s near Notre-Dame. They host music events in the evenings. Tickets are hard to come by as it’s a small chapel, so try to buy them online before you leave on your trip. I was unable to get tickets, but did go to a choral night at Notre-Dame and enjoyed it immensely. Also, just so you know, you can get really cheap tickets up high at the opera. Who cares how far from the stage you are, just gawk at the beautiful setting and that Marc Chagall ceiling!
Be sure to check out our Paris goodies, here, including this gorgeous c. 1898 map.