How to make the pyramid disappear.

Street artist and photographer JR has managed to make the Louvre pyramid (more or less) disappear. June 27 the pyramid will again be back to normal. If you are interested in JR and his work, you can go here. I can also refer to his Panthéon "faces", on which I reported here.

Visiting the “Cour Carré”, actually the older part of the present Louvre, built during the 16th and 17th centuries, you will get another surprise.

Eva Jospin (the daughter of former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin) has created a “panorama” with twisted mirrors outside and some kind of forest inside. The installation will remain here until August 28.  You can read about Eva Jospin here.

This made me have a closer look on the fantastic facades of the Cour Carrée, the Square Court, with all its “details” (including the chimneys). 

One can also walk out through what used to be the main entrance during the “royal times” and have a look at the outside. (You can read more about the Louvre in some of my earlier posts.)  


Another "Monumenta" exhibition

More or less every second year, there is at present a “Monumenta” exhibition at the Grand Palais. The idea is obviously to occupy the space under the beautiful glass roofs of the Grand Palais (see previous posts) in a monumental way. I have reported about the three previous ones – see here, here and here.

This year Huang Yong Ping, a Chinese artist (living in France since 1989) has been chosen. Before coming to the present exhibition - which lasts until June 18 - , here are some examples of the artist’s previous works.

As I understand, the idea is to refer to the industrial, capitalistic, “empire”. On top of containers in all colours and from all continents you will find some kind of a serpentine skeleton … and Napoleon’s hat.

Well… whatever you may think about this as art, it’s always a pleasure to admire the architecture of the Grand Palais, built for the 1900 world’s fair.


It had been raining...

Place de la Concorde, just after the rain.



The ballet “Parade” had its première at the Châtelet Theatre, May 18, 1917. It was a creation by Serge Diaghilev’s “Ballets Russes”, with music by Eric Satie, libretto by Jean Cocteau, choreography by Léonide Massime (first dancer and lover of Diaghilev) and costumes and set by Pablo Picasso. Guillaume Apollinaire wrote the program note and described it all as "sur-realistic" - this was the beginning of the expression "surrealism". The fact that we were in the middle of WWI possibly further contributed to a more or less expected atmosphere of scandal. There were a lot of negative (but also some positive) criticisms. (You can read more in detail about it all here.)

To celebrate the 100th anniversary, the Châtelet Theatre has for a couple of days exhibited the curtain or the panel Picasso prepared for the event, illustrating the group of performers. The style of this panel, the largest artwork ever made by Picasso, is actually quite different from the cubist costumes he also designed. (I have added some portraits of the personalities involved, most of them made by Picasso.)

Unfortunately, I am publishing about this one day too late as the exhibition of the panel lasted only a few days and ended May 15.

Here is also a little video.

Maybe a few words about the theatre? It dates from 1862 with Gabriel Davioud as architect. Davioud is also known for e.g. the neighbouring theatre, Théâtre de la Ville, for the St. Michel fountain (see previous post) and for his participation in the creation of many Paris parks, including “my” park, Square des Batignolles. The theatre has to a large extent been used for music performances and composers or conductors like Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Gustave Mahler, Richard Strauss… all have appeared here. Today it’s also annually used for the French “Oscar”, César, ceremony. (During the exhibition, you could watch a little movie about the “Parade” in the theatre lobby.)


Sitting on the rails...

As last year, one has the possibility, during the warmer months, to visit what used to be a repair and maintenance workshop for the French Railways. Such activities started here in 1845 and were abandoned in 2014. In the meantime, the premises had of course been modified, especially during the 1930’s.  Before demolition starts in 2017, making place for housing and commercial installations, the premises are for a second time open to public – until October 16.

The event takes place in cooperation with the French Railways and a number of old locomotives and rail cars can be seen, including a beautiful steam locomotive and a “Trans Europe Express” passenger car (which reminds me of some previous trains - slower than the TGV, but - nice for travelling, with real and often excellent restaurant service….).

During the coming months you can enjoy a number of activities here, including eating, drinking, shopping, listening to concerts…

The open space is used for gardening, bee hives… and for just sitting down with a glass, a book, an iPad… (I was here rather early in the day – I imagine there were difficulties to find a seat later during this very warm spring Sunday.)

Here is where you can find the place. The street in  front (rue Ordener) is on Sundays occupied by a (flea) market. This is also where you can find one of the authorised street art walls (on which I reported previously, see here).