Thursday, December 7, 2023

10+ Artsy & Cool Reasons To Visit Paris in the Fall/Winter (& All Year Long)!

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Morning in Paris (artist: Maja Wronska)

“Paris in springtime” is the cliché, but there’s no bad time to visit this vibrant city. In fact, Paris' Fall/Winter cultural calendar is chockablock. Plus, just imagine how wonderful Christmas and New Year’s are in the City of Light!
MAJOR MUSEUM EXHIBITS
While great art is on view all year long in Paris, many of the museums open major exhibits in October that stay on view until the end of January or longer. Here's a sampling of some exhibits worth seeing before they close--many in “starchitect”-designed buildings:
Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 Ave du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, 16 th arrondissement; www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr; Metro: Les Sablons (FLV exit, then a lovely 10- minute walk or take the Shuttle from the Charles de Gaulle Etoile stop)
FLV's Frank Gehry-designed building is worth a visit no matter what’s on view, but most of the time it features not-to-be-missed, blockbuster exhibits.
Current Exhibit: Mark Rothko (until 4/2/24) - The ultimate retrospective for lovers of Rothko’s work. It features iconic masterpieces and lesser-seen works, drawn from leading, international museums and private collections. A knock-out, comprehensive presentation of one of Modern art's true masters.

Quai Brandly
27 Quai Branly; 7th arrondissement; www.quaibranly.fr; Metro: Alma-Maceau
This is such a terrific museum, plan to spend the whole day here. In the very-modern, Jean Nouvel-designed building the indigenous art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas are highlighted, along with fascinating temporary exhibits (plus, up-close views of the Eiffel Tower from the garden). Current Exhibit:
President of Togo (artist: Kehinde Wiley)
Kehinde Wiley: A Maze of Power (until 1/14/24) – The fabulous artist Kehinde Wiley did President Obama’s portrait. This exhibit is dedicated to a group of innovative portraits he did of African presidents.

Centre Pompidou
Place Georges-Pompidou, 4th arrondissement; www.centrepompidou.fr; Metro: Hôtel-de-Ville, Rambuteau
Whether you love or hate this Renzo Piano-designed museum, there’s great views of the Eiffel Tower from the escalators and always terrific, comprehensive exhibits. Current Exhibits: Picasso Endlessly Drawing (until 1/15/24) – Featuring 1,000 artworks; Chagall At Work: Drawings, Ceramics and Sculptures 1945-1970 (until 2/26/24), etc.

Other Current Exhibits: Musée Orsay - Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise: The Final Months (until 2/4/24); Musée d'Art Moderne - Nicolas de Staël (until 1/21/24); Musée du Luxembourg - Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso (until 1/28/24).

FABULOUS ART & PHOTO FAIRS
A number of fairs and festivals add to the busy Fall calendar of events:
Paris+ par Art Basel (October) - This major art fair showcases offerings by top, international galleries. 
Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, Holiday Lights

Paris Photo (November) – This is Le Mois de la Photo. In addition to the photo fair, there are over 100 photography exhibits all over town. 

COOL CULTURAL CHOICES
Festival d'automne (www.festival-automne.com) - This annual festival celebrating the arts--dance, theatre, music, film, and visual art--runs from September through December. The events take place in a variety of Paris venues highlighting exceptional work.
Festival d'automne (Bel/Mengual Dance)

European Heritage Days (www.journeesdupatrimoine.culture.fr) - On the third weekend in September, historic sites--public monuments and private buildings--offer free admission. This is a unique chance to visit some of Paris' most prestigious places.
La Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre (www.fetedesvendangesdemontmartre.com) - Montmartre’s vineyards date from 390 B.C. Every year, during the first week of October, Montmartre’s Wine Harvest Festival is celebrated throughout the neighborhood with a parade, wine-tasting booths, food stalls, music, dancing in the streets, and fireworks. It’s a fun time to plan a trip to Paris.
Fete des Vendanges
Portes Ouvertes (Artists Open Studios) - While most Portes Ouvertes take place in the spring, a few are in the Fall/Winter such as: Ménilmontant (Sept); Père Lachaise & La Goutte d’Or (Dec).
ParisLocal (November) – Discover local, Parisian artisans ranging from ceramists and jewelers to pastry chefs and cheese markers, etc. 

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR’S CHEER
While Paris is magical all year long, during the holiday season the city sparkles. Hundreds of decorated trees line the boulevards, the window displays are all aglow at the major department stores, and there are Christmas markets galore hopping with activity. That’s in addition to several concerts in an assortment of lovely churches and other locals. Plus, New Year’s eve fireworks over the Arc de Triomphe on the magnificent Champs-Elysées boulevard and a light show from the illuminated Eiffel Tower!
Galeries Lafayette

Where To Stay: Here are some great options
Getting There: French bee - This low-cost carrier has routes to Paris with great fares from the US: currently, New York (Newark, EWR), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) & Miami (MIA) with 
friendly flight attendants and on-time flightsCoach is quite comfy, but you can opt for a Cosy Cabin &/or a Maxi Leg seat. There’s Basic, Smart & Premium pricing. Depending, Seat/Luggage/Meal might be add-ons for a fee pre-booked online, but you can bring your own meal and get a free seat-assignment at the airport, just paying the luggage fee in advance. Another French bee advantage: The flights fly into Paris Orly (ORY), a smaller and easier-to-navigate airport than Charles de Galle, with several transport connections to the city center. You also get through Customs faster here! 

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