All posts tagged: culture

From Russia With Love – Shchukin Collection Comes to Paris

For the first time outside Russia, the Shchukin Collection, referred to as one of the world’s greatest collections of modern art, is going to be on display in Paris, at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. The collection is on loan from Moscow’s Tretyakov State Gallery and the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, which I visited this July. The collection’s pieces are beautiful (it includes Matisse, Picasso, Monet and Gaugin), but getting to view them was an odyssey in and of itself. The modern art wing of the Hermitage is new and I had the impression that these masterpieces had been tucked away, accessible only to those who were willing to brave maze-like branches of the museum and questionable corridors. I’m looking forward to seeing them once again at Fondation Louis Vuitton, where I’m sure they will be in the spotlight this time around. Some of my favorite pieces from the collection The collection will be exhibited at the Fondation Louis Vuitton from October 22, 2016 – Feburary 20, 2017. Find out more: http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/expositions/icones-de-l-art-moderne.html Advertisements

Montparnasse: A Guide Inspired by The Dud Avocado

Inspired by one of our favorite books about Paris, we decided to spend an afternoon in the Montparnasse neighborhood, formerly a happening bohemian scene in the 1920s and then again in the late 1950s. Now less of a nightlife destination, we were curious to see what the area still has to offer and also to check out the hotspots of Sally-Jay Gorce, the book’s young American protagonist. Although The Dud Avocado is a work of fiction, it’s based on the reality of this once booming left bank neighborhood and the lives of the creative, free spirits who spent time there. Settling in with tea at her go-to bar, Le Select, we tried to imagine the environment as it was 60 years ago– filled with intriguing artists, French regulars sweating out their drinks, and East Coast crossovers. “The waiters at the Select comported themselves with that slightly theatrical mixture of charm, complicity and contempt that one would expect from servants in Hell.” pg. 93 The Dud Avocado Explore the neighborhood in the present: – Pay a pilgrimage to …

Best Winter activities to do in Paris

When it’s cold, rainy and grey in Paris, it can be hard to feel motivated to go outside and do things. Here are just a few ideas of some indoor activities for the Winter time. 1. Explore Paris’ covered galleries (les passages couverts) Dating back to the 18th and 19th century, these glass roofed shopping galleries offer shelter from the rain and transport you to a different time. Wander through Galerie Vivienne and adjacent Galerie Colbert absorbing the elegant architecture, mosaic floor, and chic boutiques. Be sure to check out A Priori Thé in Galerie Vivienne. One of the best places in Paris for cream tea and real scones.           2. Drink mint tea at the Paris Mosque Just across the street from the Jardin des Plantes in the 5e arrondissement is La Mosquée de Paris and its restaurant and tea room. The tea room is a very popular spot where waiters bring around 2€ cups of steaming hot, sugary mint tea. For those with a real sweet tooth, you can also choose traditional …

Museum Musings

Ekphrasis: a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art (Merriam-Webster) For this creative adventure we decided to take a classic Paris activity–a museum visit– and get something more out of it than just looking at some pretty art. We asked ourselves: How do we best engage with a museum? How do we really get impacted and inspired by it?  How do we really feel a work of art? Prompt:  Pick a museum with an exhibition that interests you or somewhere you’ve never been. Take some time to explore and notice what artworks jump out at you, instead of scanning through the entire exhibit. Try to sit with the work of art that speaks to you most for 20 minutes or more and let your mind wander. If feeling inspired, take it a level further and pull out a notebook. Sketch the painting or simply write free-associations that come to mind, something you could turn back to later as a seed for a poem or short story. Our creative adventure: We chose …

A guide to vernissages (small art viewings) in Paris

Looking for something cultural, free, interesting and fun to do on a Thursday night? We’ve been there. There are hundreds of art galleries in Paris and when they open new exhibitions, they almost always host an opening, with the artist and often drinks (read: free wine) and snacks. These openings can be pretty easy to find with some research by looking at your favorite gallery’s website, or just doing a Google search. Here are a couple sites we’ve found useful:  Slash/Paris , l’officiel des spectacles. Another way to find interesting vernissages is to follow local cultural institutes in Paris on Facebook or take a look at their websites. The Finnish Institute and Swedish Institute in particular often host public openings for Scandinavian artists. Or if the mood strikes on a Thursday night, you can wander around the 3rd (especially Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth or Rue Volta) and will undoubtedly find an inviting, free opening to duck into.         This Thursday, we checked out the opening for French-Iranian artist Sépànd Danesh’s “Des Ruines pour …

Market, Moules, Meat, and More

For this week’s creative adventure we decided to get inspired by one of Paris’ largest and most celebrated outdoor food markets and challenge ourselves in the kitchen. Dinner party challenge: Think about a recipe or dish that holds some meaning for you. What is a dish that you’ve always wanted to make but have been too scared to try? Or the meal that your parents made for you growing up that instantly transports you back home? Don’t plan a meal that you know you have perfected. Challenge yourself instead to cook a dish that will make you feel something, be it nostalgia or pride. Make a day out of your dinner by shopping for ingredients at a local market (where prices are cheaper and food is fresher than in chain grocery stores). Wander around the stalls looking for not just any parsley, but “the most beautiful parsley” (as our favorite vegetable guy described it). Turn off your phone and take your time. Market Recommendation: The Marché Bastille takes place weekly on Thursdays and Sundays from …

Found photographs & short stories

Instructions: get your hands on a found image. A photograph, vintage magazine ad, postcard, any image that you did not create. Study the image. What are the first thoughts that it inspires? What story is this image telling? Write a short story or poem based on the image. Use your imagination! If you are in Paris we recommend Images & Portraits (37 rue Charlot, Paris 3e) as the perfect source for acquiring found images. Nora Annie “The Pigeon”

Brocante, Boot Coffee and a Photobooth

Directions: Start at a brocante (antique market). We chose the one at Richard Lenoir/Jean-Pierre Timbaud. Check this website (http://quefaire.paris.fr/brocantes) for dates and locations. Step 1: Wander through the brocante, while daydreaming. Pick a few objects you’d furnish your fantasy apartment with (or real one if you like). Don’t feel pressured to buy, but take pictures of what you like. What objects speak to you? Why are you attracted to them? What hidden treasures would you hide in that vintage chest?       Nora: There’s nothing more fun than meandering through a Parisian flea market and drooling over antiques. My eye is naturally drawn to old cameras, typewriters, forgotten photographs, and sets of glassware that make me dream of hosting glamourous dinner parties. Most recently I fell in love with a small wooden box complete with a working lock and key. But at 70€ it was just a bit out of my price range. Annie: I have a strange love (maybe addiction is a better word) for admiring decorations and antiques, but with my apartment …

Goutte d’Or

(on Google maps) Directions: Start at Café Lomi (3 ter Rue Marcadet 75018 Paris). Get energized for your adventure with a coffee or tea (we recommend the mocha). Make your way down to LaChappelle metro, try not to use your map. Take random turns. Get a little lost.  Prompts: 1. Take a picture of something red 2. What do you see that surprises you? 3. One word for your walk. What is it? Annie 1. something red: 2. I was surprised by how much of a world apart the “Goutte d’Or” feels, with its mosaic walls and fabric shops. Stretching the idea of “seeing,” I was surprised to see how much I enjoyed wandering around a neighborhood without a map or set plan. I spend so much of my time in Paris glued to my iPhone, racing to make a train or a bus, running down a street with the idea of my destination propelling me. I felt a bit lost turning off my phone and simply taking left or right turns, trying to navigate my …