More museums than you can dream of

If you are reading this blog in English, it is probably the first time you are reading my words. Even French readers are probably unaware of my existence, since translators are usually quite discreet creatures… Well, this time I will jump right under the spotlight and deliver my very own thoughts about museums, money, banking, artifacts and whatnot. Last July, I was lucky enough to represent the Bank of Canada at the Banque de France and to meet my counterparts from the other side of the Atlantic. I spent two wonderful weeks translating with them and of course, enjoying the beautiful “Ville lumière” and its numerous attractions. And so, after translating dozens of blog posts for my colleagues of the Museum team (and loving every minute of it), I get to write some myself!

Big glass pyramid in a square

The Louvre Pyramid at night. Our translator didn’t go there, but she walked by every day.

One of the things of which Paris doesn’t lack is museums. Whether you like fashion, music, history, literature, science, arts or tennis, you will find something that suits your tastes. The City of Paris alone owns 14 of them, and access to their permanent collections is free in most cases. Of these, I have seen two: the Musée de la Vie romantique, where you can find paintings and objects from the Romantic period, many of which belonged to literary figure George Sand, and the Musée Cernuschi, overlooking the Parc Monceau, dedicated to Asian cultures. Though they were rather small, both were very interesting.

Beautiful gates

Entrance to the Parc Monceau, an 8.2 hectare 18th century park.

Building with external skeleton

Centre Georges Pompidou: Paris’ cultural centre for the arts and a controversial architectural masterpiece.

While I passed the Louvre on my way to work every day (yes, I know how lucky I am!), I didn’t venture inside, having visited it in a previous trip. Instead, I went to see some modern and contemporary art at the Centre Pompidou; commonly called “Beaubourg” by the Parisians. As one might expect, there was quite a lot of astonishing stuff in there, including the building itself and the breathtaking view of the city from the top floor.

Paris skyline

Looking over Paris rooftops toward the Eiffel Tower–from the top of the Centre Pompidou.

Rich house interior

Some interior details of the richly furnished Nissim de Camondo Museum.

Aerial view of city

The Musée du quai Branly with its 7500 sq. metres of gardens and the largest roof terrace in Paris.

I also really enjoyed the audio-guided tour of the Musée Nissim de Camondo, where I learned about the private collection and tragic family story of a banker who had a great passion for late 18th century precious objects. The rooms of the mansion were incredibly gorgeous, and the content very touching.

Trees and building

The garden behind the Musée du quai Branly.

3D shapes on a wall

The River. A tactile exhibition on the walls of the Musée du quai Branly for the enjoyment of the seeing impaired or anyone who likes to touch.

But I think the museum I most preferred in Paris was the Musée du quai Branly. Intrigued by the omnipresent advertising for their temporary exhibitions “Tiki Pop” and “Tatoueurs, tatoué” (Tattooists, Tattooed), I decided to go and see for myself. It was, indeed, a lot of fun. This dynamic, out-of-the-ordinary anthropology museum sits near the Eiffel tower. Its permanent collection space contains an innovative feature entitled La rivière (The River), designed to provide the visually impaired with an interesting tactile experience. Another cool feature was the music instruments “vault”. Hundreds of instruments that aren’t actually on display are kept in the controlled conditions of a huge glass cylinder that allows visitors to take a peek inside. It is surrounded by an amazing garden where a plethora of activities take place for all the family. I really wished I had more time to visit it…

Now, you might wonder if I actually saw something remotely related to money while I was in Paris… Well, I did, and I will tell you all about it in my next post. Au revoir!