Follow the route up and down, up your desire.
- A magnificent stroll from Concorde to Louvre
- Palais-Royal, much ado about trends
- The Golden Triangle of Vendôme Square
Louvre - Palais-RoyalSpend a day between heritage and trends: a new Paris has risen in this neighbourhood. Historical spots fight hard to promote the very latest forms of art, and luxurious shops will attract you with their wonderful offer.
A magnificent stroll from Concorde to Louvre
Start your stroll at Concorde Tube station. You'll feel overcome with the splendour of Concorde Square, lined by the luxury hotel Crillon. It's an historical place, too: Louis XVI and the beautiful Marie-Antoinette were beheaded there in 1793. The obelisk at the centre dates back from Ramses II and was erected by Louis-Philippe in the 1830's. A famous French organization fighting AIDS, Act Up-Paris, covered it with a giant pink condom in 1993.
Admire the rostral columns, and walk to the Tuileries Gardens. At Left hand, you'll see the Jeu de Paume , a building overlooking rue de Rivoli. "Jeu de Paume" refers to the old use of the building as a royal-tennis room. It was turned into a museum in 1909 - welcoming many European modern art schools. During the Second World War, it was dreadfully used by the Nazis as a storeroom for despoiled artworks from the Jews. Later it became home of impressionism, and in 1991 onwards it was dedicated to contemporary art.
Follow the Tuileries Gardens up to the quays: the Musée de l'Orangerie has undergone a major refurbishment in 2006, and now offers the very best settings to the Nymphéas - one of the most famous artwork of impressionist painter Claude Monet, who had realized it for the premises. It also plays host to a beautiful settlement: the collection Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume. Jean Walter was an art dealer of the first half of the 20th century. He invested in avant-garde, such as works from Modigliani, Picasso, Matisse and Soutine.
More art is to be found within the Gardens. Modern and classical sculptures interact with one another, depending on art topicalities. 2008 has seen Louise Bourgeois' Giant Spider being installed in supplement to her exhibition at Centre Pompidou , otherwise you may see artworks from Auguste Rodin, Germaine Richier, Alberto Giacometti, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet, Roy Lichtenstein... While reviewing them, don't miss the beautiful overview starting at the Louvre Pyramid up to the Grande Arche de la Défense . In between them, the Arc de Triomphe dominates the Champs-Elysées. The Musée d'Orsay lies on the other side of the river, waiting for your visit.
Go to the Louvre's Pyramid: you can access it from the Louvre's square. Designed by Leo Ming Pei and opened in 1988, it personifies the Parisian era of "great works" (grands travaux, as they were named in French), as boosted by French President François Mitterrand. Its daring architecture contrasting with the Palace was either celebrated or hated. The Pyramid gives access to the Museum and to the Carrousel, a shopping mall floodlighted with a second smaller inverted pyramid.
Visiting the Louvre Museum can take anything from one hour to several days. Check at least the splendours of Mona Lisa, of The Raft of the Medusa (Department of Paintings), or the Aphrodite of Melos (Vénus de Milo - in the Antiquities Department). The Louvre also welcomes various contemporary artists for temporary performances and interventions: check Contrepoints, its workshops, and the kids program.
The Carrousel du Louvre is open 7/7. This shopping arcade is great for gifts, including nice artefacts from the Réunion des Musées nationaux which reproduce famous artworks of the museum. It also welcomes a big Tourist Information Centre, and various restaurants. Twice a year, it plays host to Haute-Couture fashion shows, and once a year to the Paris Photo fair. It also includes a theatre depending upon the national Comédie-Française, and a very famous artschool.
Outside the Museum and the mall, don't miss the Anselm Kiefer's permanent decorative painting in the Perrault's colonnade (access by Cour Carré - Sully side - North Staircase), a magnificent artwork which challenges the boundaries between tragedy and resurrection.
For a relaxing experience along the young jet-set, give a try to the Marly, a very beautiful café and restaurant. One side opens over the Pyramid and the palace, and inside, the dining-rooms overlook the French Sculptures galleries. The settings are outstanding, but expect very high prices and a cold service. You may prefer Angelina, a famous old-fashioned tea-room on rue de Rivoli.