Monday, June 19, 2023

What’s New in Paris, France: 4 Fabulous Renovations & Cool Discoveries

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Richelieu BnF, Salle Ovale (photo: J.Carnegie)

Something old, something new, something renovated & something blue…No matter how often you've been to Paris, there are always hidden gems to discover:
The RichelieuBibliothèque Nationale de France 
58 Rue de Richelieu(Entrance Rue Vivienne; Entry fee2nd arrondissement;
Usually, all one sees is the façade of all the stunning buildings in Paris, so it’s always a treat to be able to go inside. After more than 10 years of restoration and renovations, this glorious, historic site--The Richelieu branch of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (French National Library)—is now open to the public; previously, only students and researchers were allowed in. Plus, the transformation includes a renovated, richly-decorated museum wing housing some of France’s greatest treasures.
The building itself is a magnificent treasure--a palace originally built in the 17th century to house the art collections of Cardinal Mazarin (Chief Minister to King Louis XIII & the Sun King Louis XIV). In 1721, the Bibliothèque du Roi (the King’s Library) was moved here, incorporating the royal collection of books and treasures from French kings dating back to Charles V in 1380. 
Richelieu BnF, Galerie Mazarin (photo: BnF)
The Richelieu
’s spectacular museum wing displays the royal treasures from the Cabinet du Roi (King’s Cabinet), which includes ancient coins and medals, royal jewels, statues and precious antiquities from ancient Greece and Rome. In addition to newer, important items of interest. Before leaving, be sure to marvel at the library’s Salle Ovale glass-domed ceiling; admire the Vivienne garden, have a snack at the Rose Bakery café, and maybe even stop into the bookstore.

La Poste du Louvre – Louvre Post Office
50 Rue du Louvre, 1st arrondissement;
Built in 1886 by architect Julien Guadet, this magnificent building once only served postal needs. Now, after years of renovation by the architect Dominique Perrault, it also serves the community by preserving yet updating the original.
La Poste du Louvre (photo: La Poste Immobilier)
 The famous post office is back in service, but this huge, 5-story building now also has stores, restaurants, and a 5-star hotel, Madame Rêve. (In addition to low-cost community housing, a daycare center, etc.) The building takes up an entire block, but previously could only be entered through the post office. Now, five entryways give access to an open-air, inner courtyard surrounded by cafés and shops.
Madame Rêve Hotel: (48 rue du Louvre) - If you can’t afford to stay at this 82-room, 5-star boutique hotel, you can still enjoy a coffee in the lovely Madame Rêve Café, or a meal in La Plume restaurant, and a drink at the rooftop bar, Roof. Then, check out other interesting renovations in the neighborhood. 
Extra Credit: Musée de La Poste (34 Blvd de Vaugirard, 15th arrondissement; – Recently-renovated; the perfect museum for Philatelists (stamp collectors) and anyone interested in all things postal.

The Albert Kahn Gardens & Museum
2 Rue du Port, Boulogne-Billancourt;; Metro: #10 - Boulogne-Pont de Saint Cloud (Open: 11am–7pm, closed Mondays; Entry fee)
Japanese garden (photo: JasonW/HPRG)

This lovely spot is the perfect place to relax and unwind while soaking up some culture at the same time. Meander through the 10 acres of gardens, then spend time in the new, beautifully-designed photography museum that looks like a mix of Japanese and Scandinavian esthetic.
Albert Kahn, a banker by trade who’d traveled extensively, bought this property in 1893 and recreated garden styles from around the world. After 5 years of renovations, his “World in a Garden” has reopened to the public. By simply walking down the garden paths, be transported to: a Contemporary Japanese Garden (Le jardin japonais contemporain); a Japanese Village (Le village japonais); an English Garden (Le jardin anglais); a French Garden (Le jardin français) with an Orchard & Rose Garden (Le verger-roseraie); the Vosges Forest (La forêt vosgienne); a Golden Forest & Meadow (La forêt dorée et la prairie); and a Blue Forest & Marsh (La forêt bleue et le marais)—“blue” from the Atlas cedars and Colorado spruces.
In addition to gardens, Albert Kahn was interested in the new art & science of photography. As he traveled around the world on business trips from 1909 to 1931, he financed a project to photograph and film daily life, religious and cultural practices, and political events in some 50 countries. The extraordinary result, Archives of the Planet, is on display in the splendid museum designed by architect Kengo Kuma.
(photo: Albert Kahn Museum)
Albert Kahn was a visionary, a philanthropist, and a patron of the arts who believed that “knowledge of others” contributes to world peace. Certainly, wandering around his magnificent, international gardens will bring you peace, at least for an afternoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment