Final Parisian Gasp…

La Fondation Louis Vuitton
La Fondation Louis Vuitton

Conundrum.

Our last day in Paris and we were stumped. What to do…what haven’t we done?

Over un cafe allonge overlooking the Picasso Museum accompanied by freshly baked buttery croissants (this is our final day of bread consumption…we do not have the will power to just say no), I tossed out Louis Vuitton.

David froze and uttered the french ‘tsk tsk’ while moving his pointer finger back and forth like a windshield wiper…he tossed back the no shopping ultimatum like a grenade.

La Fondation Louis Vuitton
La Fondation Louis Vuitton

I surprised him with La Fondation Louis Vuitton, an amazing new Frank Gehry building within the Bois du Boulogne park.

Our daughter, who earned the price of her plane ticket and accommodations by being a superb navigator, unearthed the route and told us to limber up…our ultimate destination was a 90 minute trek.

We embraced the challenge as muffin tops were trying to peek through from truffle, foie gras and bread indulges.

We took the scenic route, revisiting the Louvre, Tuileries, Seine, Eiffel Tour, George V and the Arc de Triomphe on the designer encrusted Champs Elysees.

Six miles in and we were starving and stopped at a local tabac by the park and had the only bad meal we had eaten in 2 weeks.

Fondation Louis Vuitton
Fondation Louis Vuitton

We left full plates, dodged and walked another mile. Out of the Parisian winter mist emerged an unbelievable spectacle of extravagance and weightlessness. The sheer size and design aspect made an impressive impact. We witnessed large, glass sails hovering over the white concrete icebergs of the galleries.

The building, commissioned by LVMH chairman, Bernard Arnault, boldly announces the arrival of Louis Vuitton as an art world force. By the way, he is also the husband of Salma Hayek.

Arnault, the wealthiest man in France, will use the complex as a palace for his collection of modern and contemporary art, a corporate cultural showcase. Built on public land with private funds, it will be given as “a gift to the city” in 55 years’ time.

LV6

The location within the large french park and next to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, led Gehry to build a glass pavilion as a notion of transparency amongst the greenery, pagodas and lakes, integrating the surrounding nature.

The seemingly fluid glass sails are composed of thousands of panels of glass, developed with the help of a 3D modeling program adapted from aerospace technology. It is also intended to have a low environmental impact, using the sails to create shade and reduce energy consumption.

Thomas Schutte Sculpture
Thomas Schutte Sculpture

Suzanne Page, the highly respected longtime director of the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, lends credibility. On display now are works by Danish artist, Olafur Eliasson, German contemporary artist, Thomas Schutte and American painter and photographer, Richard Prince.

LV yellow

You can explore the ins and outs of the building from every angle. The roof not only provides an amazing view of the Jardin, but you can see a panoramic view of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower.

An exhibition inside one of the museum’s halls displays models of the entire architectural building process. The free-form way the building evolved is presented through a kind of crazy collage of paper, card, plastic, fabric and other odds and ends. It provides a fascinating window on to the way Gehry’s office works.

Le Frank Restaurant At La Fondation Louis Vuitton
Le Frank Restaurant At La Fondation Louis Vuitton

We ended our journey with espresso in the Le Frank restaurant. Gehry’s obsession with fish serve as a visual theme for the restaurant with daunting views of the gardens.

Not allowing a minute of our final full day to slip away, we then walked to the Galerie-Musee Baccarat in a tony part of the 16th arrondissement at 11 place des Etats-Unis.

Philippe Starck Baccarat Chair
Philippe Starck Baccarat Chair

Philippe Starck has created a neo-rococo wonderland in the former mansion of the Vicomtesse de Noailles. There is a red-carpet entrance presently adorned with sweet smelling Christmas trees and a Baccarat chandelier in a fish tank along with a trademark oversized Starck chair embellished with Baccarat crystal.

The handmade crystal displays dating from the 1800’s are extraordinary. A 10 minute video brings to life the glass making process. No less than six experts work on every single piece that is produced.

Baccarat Mansion Room
Baccarat Mansion Room

There is also an opulent restaurant, Le Cristal Room. You must reserve in advance.

Palaid de Tokyo Art Display
Palaid de Tokyo Art Display

We then did a drive by at the Palais de Tokyo, now Europe’s largest contemporary art museum. There was a saran wrap structure draped across the lobby. Hordes of people were crawling through it from one end to the other.

In this time of Ebola, we were not contemplating entering the hollowed out saran wrap spider web. Our thoughts were, “How does one disinfect a mile of saran wrap?” We stepped away from the “art” display.

Eiffel View From Palais de Tokyo
Eiffel View From Palais de Tokyo

The views of the Eiffel Tower from the Palais de Tokyo outdoor patio are extraordinary. There is also a very cool restaurant, Tokyo Eats, inside the museum. Palais de Tokyo is open from noon until midnight every day except Tuesday.

We strolled to the Seine and despite the 30 degree temperature we sat outside, sipping on a Pastis and taking in the Eiffel Tower light show that begins at 7pm in the wintertime.

Eiffel Tower Light Show
Eiffel Tower Light Show

We succumbed and took the metro to Place de La Republique and walked 15 minutes to an amazing french restaurant in the Marais owned by a talented young Japanese chef…review to follow.

Our last day in Paris was one for the books. It was a stimulating, fun adventure uncovering new and exciting things to do…final mileage tally was 13 miles.

Au revoir, Paris. Until next time…

La Fondation Louis Vuitton 8 Avenue Mahatma Gandhi within the Bois du Boulogne Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 12-7pm, Friday 12-11pm, Saturday-Sunday 11am-8pm, closed Tuesday. Price range from 9-14 euros depending on exhibitions.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*