After more than a decade of primping, the Museum of French Monuments recently reopened on Paris’s Left Bank as La Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (the City of Architecture and Heritage), the BBC reports. Housed in the east wing of the Chaillot Palace with a jaw-dropping view of the Eiffel Tower, the architectural showcase spans 800 years of French building design in a majorly revamped space.
From 350 plaster molds of historic church facades to ersatz murals and a reproduction of Le Corbusier’s futuristic 20th-century apartment masterpiece, the exhibition’s three permanent galleries are designed to chronicle the development of French architecture through the centuries. The Galerie des Moulages shows off architectural highlights from 12th to 16th century masters, the Galerie des Peintures Murales et des Vitraux displays wall paintings and stained-glass windows (such as a replication of one from the Gothic Chartres cathedral), and the Galerie Moderne et Contemporaine is devoted to architecture dated from 1850 to today.
“I think the museum will be fabulous for tourists,” director François de Mazières told Gridskipper. “It’s like a condensation of French history in a rather dreamlike setting.”
Don’t miss the Gallery of Casts, in which Gridskipper says “30-foot walls are painted Pompeii red and a storybook Eiffel Tower view is framed in a series of floor-to-ceiling windows.”
At 86,000 square feet of space, the museum bills itself as the largest architectural museum in the world, according to the New York Times. The $114 million museum project, which first launched in 1994, aims to become the world’s preeminent architecture research center and exhibition space, addressing heritage, architecture, and preservation of the environment. While adults enjoy interactive multimedia presentations and an architecture library that will eventually boast 45,000 volumes of books, children can tinker with Legos and other building materials.
- Nat Geo Expeditions