Great Exhibitions Great Touristy Things to do

What’s behind the door?

Looks uninspiring? This is an excellent example of never knowing what is behind a door in Paris!

In reality there is a 1200m² / 40000ft² space hosting an exhibition dedicated to Banksy.

It’s an ‘immersive experience’. That means there are some of his paintings from private collections but also artists reproduced his art as if you were actually in front of the real thing.

This building, the Espace Lafayette-Druout, is practically round the corner, only as far as the Opéra Garnier, at 44 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre but a little further East. The exhibition is on until 31st December 2021 and late nights are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until 9pm (until the curfew is extended then it migh be later).

Don’t miss it 🙂

If you want more information and to see lots of the pictures, read a bit more here.

Good news on a real Banksy artwork – The painting of a young girl that was stolen two years ago from the door of the Bataclan has been found in the middle of Italy and 6 people have been arrested. (The Bataclan was one of the sites of the terrorist attack on 13th November 2015.) The Reuters article is here.

Events Great Exhibitions Great Touristy Things to do

Much more than Red Soles

I’ve never been to the Palais de la Porte Dorée before, it’s a vast exhibition space plus aquarium (obviously a great mix !*?), but then I heard about a new exhibition on Christian Louboutin, his life, art, passions and a few shoes with red soles!

I’m not normally hot off the mark to see new exhibitions but this was widely acclaimed and quite fully booked. The idea was to get there early to avoid the crowds, whizz round then find a great new place to have lunch in this area I’d never been to before.

Plans got changed! We were there nearly 4 hours! And we didn’t even have an audioguide! I haven’t been to such a fascinating exhibition for years!

Apparently his interest in shoes was piqued by this sign in this museum when he was a child – no walking in high heels on the beautiful mosaic floors of the museum…. – and so the World comes full circle!

I’d no idea what to expect apart from seeing lots of shoes…. actually there was very little of that inside, there were 8 different rooms showing different parts of his creativity; his life, motivations, his fetishes and his muses.

This is my favourite boot!

Most of his shoes were actually designed to be pieces of art, not to be worn. This is my favourite boot! There was a room dedicated to explaining the entire process of crafting the shoes in a workshop, on video and with the individual pieces, from creation to pattern-making, stitching … You know I love How to do stuff, this was fascinating, so fascinating I didn’t take a single photo !

There was a room full of his collections of ‘Nudes’; the 8 colours of Nude stiletto shoe with a red sole. I hadn’t been aware there were 8 colours for 8 different shades of leg, fortunately the pair I bought years ago seem to be ‘pale’ enough, though it’s a bit difficult to be as pale as my legs LOL. There were also full-sized leather sculptures of female forms in the nude colours, I wasn’t quite sure about that bit…

There were holograms of Dita Van Teese doing a burlesque dance wearing his shoes and not much else by the end and also the footballer Iya Traoré (have you seen him on his lamp post at Sacré Coeur ?) but he kept his clothes on!

The fetish room was an English sitting room where the hand made carpets, furniture coverings, wallpaper and even lamp shades designs were all, if you looked reeallllly closely, explicit nudes – more ‘odd’.

Bizarre, many things were, but this shoe takes the biscuit! It was Mae West’s way of adding a bit of height under her long gowns and then skidding around when she was older! This really tickled me pink.

But the best space by far was a photographic collaboration with David Lynch. I tried to post some of the most beautiful photos on Facebook but they got banned!

You are just going to have to hope they extend the exhibition period from 26th Feb – 26th July 2020 to a lot longer as it is so very much worth a visit.

Catch up on lockdown in Paris or a little more culture from ‘our Angel’ and make sure you are following the Facebook page.

2016 Events Great Exhibitions Great Touristy Things to do

Second Empire styled ball at the Musée d’Orsay – interested ?

The Musée d’Orsay is organising a series of balls to celebrate their exhibition the “Spectacular Second Empire”. Some of the balls are masked! You can spend the day learning the Polka (if you can count to 3 you can dance this) or the Quadrille from the members of the Association Carnet des Bals. Take part in the ball in the afternoon just as Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugenie would have, all within the spectacular surroundings of the Musée d’Orsay.

2016 Events Great Exhibitions Great Touristy Things to do

The Magritte exhibition and my poor, poor feet

I was really looking forward to the Magritte exhibition ‘La Trahison des Images‘ at the Centre Pompidou. 5 differently themed rooms (flames, shadows, curtains, words and the body in pieces) bulging with paintings from this amazing Surrealist painter who was deeply interested in Philosophy. The art bit is at the bottom 😉

2016 Events Great Exhibitions Great Touristy Things to do

Gene Kelly at the Paris Opera

Did you know Gene Kelly created a ballet for the Paris Opéra ?  Did you know he spoke excellent French ?

Nope, neither did I until I booked to go on one of the several morning or afternoon English-speaking guided tour groups around the Palais Garnier for my Mother and I (highly recommended).  Apart from the 2 hour long tour of the building including the real explanation of where the Phantom of the Opera story came from (and yes there is a lake but no you cannot go there) we walked through the free, Special exhibition of “American Choreographers at the Paris Opera”.

In that exhibition more than 70 years of American involvement at the Paris ballet is chronologically arranged – starting in 1947 with George Balanchine who created the New York City Ballet.

Gene Kelly at the OperaUntil 1970 the only other person to create a ballet was Gene Kelly in 1960 and in the exhibition is a video of him giving an interview in excellent French describing his ballet “Pas de Dieux”, a play on words meaning No Gods to the ballet term “Pas de Deux” meaning 2 people dancing together.

This is the drawing of the costumes drawn by Gene Kelly and below is my bad photo of one of the actual, and very beautiful, costumes.Gene Kelly at the Opera

There are loads of other amazing costumes, photos and videos from some of the most famous ballets including Agon, by Ballanchine assisted by the West Side Story choreographer, Jerome Robbins.

From 1983 – 89, when Rudolf Nureyev was Director he focused particularly on modern American dance, increased the number of invitations and systemised the alternation of classical and contemporary ballets.

Nureyev used his reputation to invite major names little known to the Opera such as Alvin Ailey (Au bord du précipice – 1983), Twyla Tharp (Première Orage – 1984) and William Forsythe who has choreographed at the Palais Garnier for the last 30 years including this year with “Of Any If And”.  There are so many videos, newsreel items, photos and gorgeously, gorgeously gorgeous costumes of their ballets.

Recently some of the most amazing costumes (and sets) have been created by Christian Lacroix and to stand close to those costumes, unfortunately behind glass, and see the workmanship of the luxurious, bejewelled materials and their construction was truly a marvel.

It took at least an hour more to look around the exhibition without watching much of the dancing because we had to go opposite to the Grand Café and compare the cakes there to those at the George V and the Ritz.

I would thoroughly encourage everyone to spend the €15.50 per ticket for the guided tour at 11am and 2.30pm even without the wonderful Special Exhibition which closes on September 25th.

Looking forwards to your comments,

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