IT loves Paris. When contemplating our beloved, we generally dwell on her more venerable delights—bridges across the Seine, winding Marais
sidestreets— leaving it up to less storied destinations to tempt us with the next big thing. This fall however, the city of lights is forcing us to turn our historically inclined gaze beyond the Mona Lisa to a pair of brand-spanking-new museums.
Technically, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs
isn’t new; it first opened next-door to the Louvre in 1905. It’s been closed for a decade-long, $46-million renovation, though, so it’s certainly new to us and will likely be unfamiliar even to old hands.
For starters, the museum (whose doors will officially re-open
Friday) has had the concrete removed from its exterior windows, so the exhibits will be naturally lit for the first time in a century. And what exhibits: Longstanding devotees of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, IT is psyched for the ten period rooms, ranging from a Gothic bedroom to a 1925 library. Other draws include the 12,000-piece toy collection (189 train sets! 44 doll houses!), the thrones of Napoleon and Josephine, works by Alexander Calder, Le Corbusier, and Phillippe Starck, and a nine-story cupola featuring 360-degree views of the city and the museum’s contemporary collection.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
National Geographic Traveler art director Jerry Sealy already expounded on the virtues of the truly new Musée du Quai Branly
but we want to point out some of the niftier aspects of this museum, which are only now available. In addition to the impressive collections of anthropological and cultural artifacts from around the world, the museum has an enticing slate of performances, tours, lectures, and interactive experiences starting this month. Coming soon: an "encounter" with Indian choreography, a performance by contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare, and a film series on emigration. Best of all, this weekend’s Patrimony Days include free admission to the entire museum for all. Allons-y!