You are spending the summer in the capital and you are bewildered by the choice of outings available in Paris. This is not something new; this great city that is filled with history and its culture is overflowing with unusual and unique places to visit. One can wander about the sites checking out monuments that are known throughout the world as well as streets and picturesque sights in a city that bears the stamp of history yet remains contemporary. To help you choose, here is a selection of five sites to be visited for the first time or re-discovered this summer.
#1 : Take another look at the story of the Titanic at the Musée des Arts et des Lettres
Dive into the accounts and artefacts of the most famous massive ocean liner. During the night of 14 April 1912, the passenger liner, Titanic, of the White Star Line, a shipping company operating the transatlantic route, sunk off the coast of Newfoundland, five days after beginning her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.
Today, one hundred years after the disaster, this terrible shipwreck still has the power to shock. As a tribute, the Musée des Arts et des Lettres of Paris is exhibiting about twenty exceptional documents and manuscripts on the subject of the Titanic. One of these is Helen Churchill Candee’s (1858-1949) unique 36-page diary that inspired the character of Rose in James Cameron’s famous movie. This manuscript that provides an eyewitness account of the disaster tells the emotional story of the voyage of this survivor. The writer describes the carefree attitude and joy of the passengers until the notorious night of 14 April 1912 when everything changed.
Musée des arts et des lettres 222, boulevard Saint-Germain – 75007 Paris.
Tuesday to Sunday from 10h to 19h, Thursday evenings until 9:30 p.m.
Entrance : 7 €, Free for under 12
#2 : A meeting of the worlds of Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs at the Musée des Art Décoratifs
What would this capital city be like without its love of fashion? The museum of Les Arts Décoratifs is currently shining the spotlight on two of the most significant players in the world of beauty and luxury: Louis Vuitton (1821-1892) and Marc Jacobs.
This coming-together of two designers gives visitors a new outlook of their influence on the fashion world during two key periods: the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century and the globalisation of the beginning of the 21st century. The exhibition is organised on two floors, one floor for each creator. The backdrop of the exhibition is designed by Samantha Gainsbury and Joseph Bennet. The exhibition not only presents the designers’ key works but also the operations behind their success. The visitor gets to know Louis Vuitton’s three principles: ongoing improvement and well-managed expertise, giving entire satisfaction to the clientele and a relentless search for new products. The genius Marc Jacobs was able to exploit these fundamentals in his work on the cultural conventions of the Louis Vuitton fashion house as well as in putting forward a new take on these conventions. Check it out.
#3 : A journey through time to the heart of prehistoric research… at the Palais de la Découverte.
Delighting youngsters and grown-ups every year, the objective of the Palais de la Découverte is to teach in an amusing way. The exhibition includes demonstrations and hands-on interactive experiments. Science is for everyone. This year, families will be able to travel through time with the “Prehistory, an investigation” exhibition.
© EPPDCSI / V.Castro
Just like real detectives, visitors can investigate a crime scene that is 7,400 years old: Téviec’s double grave. The questions abound. Who are the two humans buried one beside the other? At what age, in which period and how did they die? And what is the meaning of all the shell jewellery they are wearing? The only way of finding out is to open an investigation. In order to do this, budding detectives can make use of a range of modern archaeological tools broken down into the following 5 investigative areas: “technological”, “chronological”, “environmental”, “anthropological” and “social”. In addition to the investigation, the exhibition’s decor is remarkable, particularly thanks to the recreation of a section of flora and fauna from the prehistoric era. A journey 7,000 years into the past, exploring the history of our ancestors, that is open until 6 January 2013.
# 4 : A moment of Glamour at the Crazy Horse.
Check out the glamorous side of Paris and the eroticism of the Crazy Horse’s shows and its sophisticated dance routines.
This site that was founded on the love of women, the human body, dancing and spectacle in 1951 always offers new surprises for the pleasure of its visitors.
This summer, check out the “Desires” show, a pageant produced by the famous choreographer Philippe Decouflé supported by Ali Mahdavi’s artistic direction. With the involvement of a key figure in alternative humour, Philippe Katerine, who wrote the final song. The show is composed of a series of original ‘turns’ and glamour shows with special effects, new musical rhythms and elegant sexy costumes. This magical location that has continued to fascinate people for over 60 years, has already attracted numerous celebrities, some of whom have featured as “Guest Stars”, such as Dita Von Teese, Arielle Dombasle or, more recently, Christian Louboutin.
# 5 : The head spins at the Jeu de Paume
Can you tell truth from fiction? This is the question on everyone’s lips as you pass through the corridors of the Laurent Grasso exhibition. The filmmaker’s intention is to bewilder visitors with a series of short films and paintings that are troubling, worrying and moving all at the same time.
Looking through cut-out windows in a dark corridor, visitors catch sight of objects and videos, the origin and age of which are often not easy to ascertain. Each one of these works raises many questions thereby transforming the familiar into an experience that is psychological and sometimes physical. Mythologies and beliefs, that are viewed through a disturbingly and occasionally worrying aesthetic filter. The visitor is invited to take part in the diplomatic cortège of the pope’s funeral in 2005 as well as see a falcon’s eye view as it flies over the desert and the lunar landscapes of the United Arab Emirates. These images that are both magical and intriguing can be enjoyed at the Jeu de Paume until 23 September 2012.
Jeu de Paume 1 place de la Concorde 75008 Paris. Open 11am to 21pm on Tuesday and Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 19h.8 € 50, 5 € 50