The November post was an incentive to relax, that’s exactly what we did at the beginning of December : we spent three days in Paris. You never get bored in Paris, you never got enough time to explore its wonders, and it’s always the time to taste new food !
Yet it was the opportunity for me to enter two bookshops I had wanted to visit for a long time. The first one deals with south-asian cultures, it’s Le Phénix bookstore :
The second one is more focused on chinese culture and language : You Feng bookstore, it’s also a publisher. It’s less modern, you’ve got books absolutely everywhere, well it’s a kind of an old-fashioned library, I found it had a lot of charm and a taste of authenticity :
When you are in Paris, the main problem is : which museum will I visit ? Since you have museums on about every imaginable subject, it’s sometimes hard to decide, also depending on temporary exhibitions you will have the opportunity to watch.
This time we headed for Quai Branly Museum. This museum opened ten years ago, near the Eiffel Tower, it was a wish of President Jacques Chirac to show indigenous art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. The building in itself is quite surprising, massive and full of colors, and the collection is….marvellous…extraordinary…fantastic. It’s difficult to find words to express such an intense display of beauty, such a majectic testimony of human creation. I’ve seen Louvres, Hermitage Museum in Saint-Petersbourg, Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Istanbul Archaeological Museum, National Palace Museum in Taipei, but nothing compares with this one, it is really special, so moving :
After such a gorgeous display of arts, you may think it would be a challenge to decide on another museum, luckily we had drawn up our timetable in advance, so the next day we went to the Arab World Institute. This one is close to Sorbonne University, and it’s older than Quai Branly Museum, it opened in 1987.
First thing to do if you go there is to take the elevator and go up on seventh floor : from the top of the building you have a wonderful view on Paris, you can see Notre-Dame and the île de la Cité (mmhhh, cloudy that day…) :
We began with the temporary exhibition Ocean Explorers, full of ancient maps, items & legends, a real pleasure for the eyes, on the tracks of Sindbad the sailor :
After a short break in l’Authre Bistro (excellent food and wine !), it was time for us to visit the collection of the museum of the Arab World Institute. Hanging around these galleries, we felt that it soon will be 30 years it has opened to the public. Thus, the collection might need some kind of refreshment. Anyway, displayed items are incredible, and the collection in itself is terrific :
Alas, after one last day walking around IXth district with the family who lives there, the train back to Rennes was soon waiting for us… Paris, fantastic city, we’ll miss your little squares :
your typical cafés :
and those little alleys that lead you to another mysterious part of town :