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  • Visiting Paris - suggestions?

    We will be in Paris in a couple of weeks and I would like to catch a few modern buildings. We were there a few years ago and visited, among other places, the Musee d'Orse. WOw, not strictly modernist perhaps by impressive none the less. I still dream about those ethereal spaces.

    I just downloaded for Paris (thanks digdoi!) It is a really cool map and list of all the major modern pieces.

    I'm looking for suggestions any one might have for some gems that arn't on the general highlight tour. Anybody have any lesser known favorites?

  • #2
    Architecture in Paris

    Paris' modern architecture is rather poor: the ugly Tour Montparnasse, the uglier still "front de Seine", the sinister high rise buildings erected under Georges Pompidou, the Defense neighborhood, across the Seine, in Puteaux, the devastated 13th arrondissement which became the big Chinatown when immigrants from Asian countries started coming to France and found cheap rents there. The city's jewels are small and often hidden (without counting those from the early history of the city): Portzamparc's Cité de la Musique or its Café Beaubourg; the renovation of the Louvre, Yohji Yamamoto's showroom, the Lecorbusier's foundation. Here are a few addresses to get started on your discovery of the city's architecture.

    Pavillon de l'Arsenal. FREE The municipal museum is one of the unknown treasures of the city. It is dedicated to architecture and urban design. Its permanent show, "Paris, la ville et ses projets", is an excellent way to start exploring the capital, after tghe musée Carnavalet, the museum of its history. L'Arsenal's shows are always entertaining and intriguing, like 2001's "Jean Prouvé et Paris", dedicated to the great architect/designer.

    Pavillon de l'Arsenal 21, Blvd Morland. 75004. Mo Sully-Morland. 01 42 76 33 97.

    Pavillon du centenaire de l'aluminium Ateliers Jean Prouvé, concepteur-constructeur, maître d'oeuvre.© Jean-Marie Monthiers - ADAGP 2001

    Institut Français d'Architecture. This elegant building between the Place Saint Sulpice and the Luxembourg, is always doing its best to present good shows. This year's exhibition called "Hanoi, Le cycle des métamorphoses", on the former imperial capital, was extremely entertaining. Not often on the map of Paris visitors, but those interested in architecture should check it out.

    Institut Français d'Architecture 6bis, rue de Tournon. 75006. Mo Odéon. 01 46 33 90 36

    Rue de Croulebarbe. Architect Alexandre Chemetoff claims this street is one of the city's jewels which needs to be rediscovered. "There, you can see all the transformations the city has undergone, understand its history and geography," he says. In that street you'll find the first Paris "skyscraper" (67 meters high), designed by Edouard Albert in the 1950's. You'll also discover the "Mobilier National", the building which houses the State's furniture, designed by the Perret brothers in 1934. They were the first ones to use concrete without hiding it.ÊThe rue Croulebarbe has also one of the city's most wonderful modern gardens, designed by Jean-Charles Moreux (1889-1956).

    Rue de Croulebarbe. 13th arr. Mo Gobelins, Corvisart

    La Galerie d'architecture. The space is three things in one: a gallery dedicated to architecture, a bookstore and a café. 11, rue des Blancs manteaux. 75004. 01 49 96 64 00. Mo Rambuteau.

    Le Corbusier
    Born in Switzerland "Corbu" was a Parisian for most of his adult life. Despite his international fame, Paris which was profoundly conservative, did not very much like Le Corbusier. A good place to retrace the architect's footsteps, is the Fondation Le Corbusier, housed in the two villas built by the master, La Roche and Jeanneret. The foundation sits at the end of a lovely dead end street, in the quiet 16th arrondissement. 8, square du Docteur Blanche. 75016. Mo Jasmin. 01 42 88 41 53.
    Le Corbusier also built a small apartment complex a little further south . He kept the top floor loft for himself. The apartment, rue Nungesser et Coli, near the Bois de Boulogne, has recently been restored to its original state. It is now open to the public, but one needs to make an appointment with the foundation. Five visitors are allowed per time slot. (Only on Wed.) Next to it, in the same street, walk around the magical Allée Mallet-Stevens, rue du Docteur Blanche.
    Other Le Corbusier buildings you can visit (but be sure to call first. Visiting hours are very erratic):

    Villa Planeix (built 1924). 24Bis, Blvd Massena. 75013. 01 53 82 05 26

    Cité du Refuge-Armée du Salut (1929). 12, rue Cantagrel. 75013. 01 53 61 82 35. The Salvation Army building can be visited daily before 5pm.

    Cité Universitaire. 7, Blvd Jourdan. 75015. In the compound for international students, near the Parc Montsouris, the architect designed two pavilions in the space of 20 years: Pavillion suisse (1930) 01 44 16 10 10 Maison du Brésil ( 1953). 01 58 10 23 00

    Maisons Jaoul (1951). 83, rue de Longchamp. Neuilly sur Seine. To visit the two houses, you need to fax the owner in Nîmes: 04 66 29 44 09

    Maison-atelier Ozenfant (1922). 53 ave Reille. 75014

    Villa Cook (1926). 6, rue Denfert-Rochereau. Boulogne-Billancourt.

    Villas Lipchitz-Miestchaninoff (1923). 9, allée des Pins. Boulogne-Billancourt.

    The French Communist Party headquarters: The avant-garde building conceived by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer has become super hip. In 2000, Italian fashion house Prada rented the building to present its collection. Niemeyer, who went on to design Brazilia, the Brazilian capital, has created a beautiful building. He wanted a simple construction without ornament. The walls of the Place du Colonel Fabien have kept the marks of the wooden boards used to build them.

    The French Communist Party headquarters 2, place du Colonel Fabien. 75019.

    Some 20th century buildings:
    With the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais is the building which inaugurated the 20th century. It has a classical facade over a revolutionary iron structure.

    Grand Palais: Ave Winston Churchill. 75008. Mo Champs-Elysees-Clemenceau

    La Samaritaine. Architect Frantz Jourdain's building was the first department store in the capital. Victor Hugo was inspired by it to write his novel "Au Bonheur des Dames". 19, rue de la Monnaie. 75001. Mo. Pont-Neuf
    The Palais de Chaillot was built for the 1937 World Fair. It is one of the most beautiful view points in the capital. 1, place du Trocadero. 75016. Mo Trocadero.

    The CNIT (Centre National des Industries et des Techniques)
    is a tribute to the mid century. The monumental building is now a little lost in the Defense neighborhood but it is still spectacular. La Défense. Mo Esplanade de la Défense.

    La Grande Arche de la Défense. In 1982, an international architectural contest was opened to create a building which would "close" the axis which runs from the Louvre, through the Tuileries, to the Etoile arc of triumph, to the business district of La Défense. Otto Von Spreckelsen, a Danish professor of architecture who had never built anything, was chosen by François Mitterrand. It is a spectacular modern arch. Mo. La Défense-Grande Arche.
    L'Institut du Monde Arabe. Jean Nouvel has designed this steel and glass building (he also designed the Cartier Foundation, 261 Blvd Raspail. A great place to visit. Interesting garden). The southern facade has a system which regulate the light coming into the building. The roof has one of the best views of Paris. 1, rue des Fosses Saint-Bernard. 75005. Mo Cardinal-Lemoine.

    La Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The project, designed by Dominique Perrault, has been much criticized. It is four towers like four open books, an amazing "forest" in the middle of the towers and an elegant wooden platform all around. A great place to go to at night, when the area is empty (You can have a drink or listen to music at the now cult place Batofar, moored just there). 11, quai Francois Mauriac. 75013. Mo Bibliothèque François Mitterrand.

    Passage de Retz. The 17th century Hôtel Elboeuf was a toy factory until it became a gallery, transformed by Jacqueline Klugman. François and Sylvain Dubuisson, two talented brothers have redesigned the site while the boutique and the café have been created by Christian Blecher. The Passage de Retz is not only a beautiful space, it also presents great design, architecture, photography shows. It invites soiciologists, philosophers, writers, to organize shows.

    Passage de Retz. 9, rue Charlot. 75003. Mo Filles du Calvaire. 01 48 04 37 99

    Café Beaubourg. After the legendary and now defunct Café Costes, owned by Jean-Louis Costes and designed in 1980 by Philippe Starck, Gilbert Costes - his brother - asked Pritzker Prize winner Christian de Portzamparc to build a modern cafe near the Pompidou center. The result is really wonderful. Nice crowd and good cafe food.

    Café Beaubourg 43, rue Saint-Merri. 75004. 01 48 87 63 96. Mo Hôtel de Ville, Châtelet.

    Parc de Bercy. The park covers almost 30 acres. It used to be the wine warehouse district. The place is truly magical with its many different gardens and the century old trees which have been preserved. You can see Frank Gehry's failed project for the American Center. The interesting building triggered the falling apart of the foundation which spent all his money on this project. It will soon become a film museum.

    Parc de Bercy. rue Joseph Kessel, rue Paul Belmondo. 75012. Mo Bercy.


    • #3
      I would sugest also the Citroen Park, The follies park, The centre for Arabic Studies by JF Nouvelle.

      Sorry for not giving proper directions right now, but ill check for my Architecture guide of Paris if I find it (its from 1987!).


      • #4
        Architecture in Paris

        Wonderful city to walk in with a great metro and train system. I treasure my time there while I was in school, and go back as often as possible.

        The others seem to have you well covered.

        One gem of early modernism I might add is the 1923 reinforced concrete Notre Dame du Raincy - just a bit east of Paris. Designed by Auguste Perret, it is a nice blend of modern and gothic. He was an early pioneer in reinforced concrete. His apartment building in Rue Franklin - Paris was the first residential building done in reinforced concrete, eary 1900's. I don't have exact addresses but they should be in your other reference material.

        Have a great time


        • #5
          if you want contemporary and most recent...

          You must check out Jean Nouvel's new historic musuem...very innovative green design building that is in construction now. its located on Quai Branley in the 15th arrondisement...if you pick up the paris pratique (the map book sold at news stands) You will find it drawn in there.

          Pavillion l'arsenal is a definite place to go to for any architect who wants to keep on top of current discussions within the paris city.

          I bought a book when I was there, one of contemporary parisian architecture, very small about 4 x4 , sold in tourist book shop across from pompidou, it does not write much about contemporary projects but it covers the most recent and gives addresses. If you are interested in contemporary housing which would not be a well known tourist attraction, then this book would help, one of my favorites is herzog and de meuron's housing complex on Rue de Suisse in 15th arrondisement.

          It just depends on what your interests are and know in advance what you want to see, paris is packed and you could miss something that was right around the corner.
          Last edited by shanley88; 23-08-2005, 18:53.


          • #6
            This is a great website that gives you information on alot of contemporary architecture in Paris, organized by 'arrondissement'
            Just click on the numbers on top of the page and then look for names like Renzo Piano, Ando, Bofill, Herzog Demeuron, Fuksas, Nouvel, ... It tells you what the address is and shows a picture of the project.
            Not everything on this site is great architecture though.

            Just realized that you can also search chronologically.

            Attached Files
            Last edited by CrazyBelgian; 23-08-2005, 21:45.


            • #7
              I'm looking for suggestions any one might have for some gems that arn't on the general highlight tour. Anybody have any lesser known favorites?

              Hi, Wilson, I'm sure you will have a great time whatever you end up doing as you will be walking around in a magic place.

              I discovered the work of Jean Prouve by sheer accident during my last visit to Paris when I was given a tour of a warehouse somewhere in the Bastille that was full of his pieces. It was a very generous thing for someone to do considering I don't really look like a collector and had never heard about this designer who is probably more popular that the Eamses in his home country.

              Anyhow, Prouve was very much a modernist, concerned as he was with utilizing new materials and manufacturing processes. His designs were as much about the people as the boutique, maybe even more so. Kind of a Papanak in that respect.

              I've had an enjoyable little romp through the internet and am pleased to provide you with this information about Prouve and some of the things in Paris which he had a hand in. I will also append some pics of his furnature, I'm sorry that I can't remember more about the firm selling these works, as that warehouse was a little museum all to itself.

              bon voyage!


              jean prouve bio link:


              amazingly detailed inventory of Prouve's works:

              Buildings in Paris that Prouve contributed to or designed:

              Nobel Tower (Initiale Tower) 1, Terrasse Bellini, La defence

              Centre National des Industries Techniques (cnit)
              Avenue de la Division Leclerc, La defence

              Mehrfamilienhaus am Square Mozart, 16e


              • #8
                Here is some Prouve swag from Harvard no less(I'm sorry but I couldn't find the location of the Meudon Estate on the internet, I think it is near Versailles):

                Jean Prouve was commissioned In 1949 by the French Minister of reconstruction and planning to design a new kind of mass produced housing that would cost no more than the cheapest existing housing. The French government ordered twenty five units. In 1950, the houses were installed at an experimental housing project in Meudon. The initial schemes shows fourteen variations on two unit types.
                Prouve devised a jointed steel structure which allowed him Prouve conceived a jointed structure that could be erected without scaffolding, a technique he used on a number of occasions, notably with Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand for housing, hospital and other buildings in 1939. The structural members, made of folded steel, consist of one or more lateral portals, in the form of a truncated "A," pin-jointed to a central longitudinal ridge member with slightly angled gable beams bolted laterally at both ends. The roof panels are arranged laterally at one end and over the prefabricated panels at the other. The houses themselves are raised off the ground on tapering steel joists supported on piloti. The positioning of the partitions inside is relatively flexible, limited only by the structural module of the external panels.
                The houses on the Meudon estate were sold to fairly wealthy people. Although some modifications and changes have been made to individual houses over the last 35 years, the estate is still in very good condition. Prouve demonstrated that Meudon houses could be produced competitively, which suggested that they might manufactured on a large scale. However, the government never again took up the design and no more houses were produced
                Image Credit: Jean Prouve: Architecture/Industrie, Klient, 19--
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  There of pages of this stuff on the above link: here is one that I like.
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Be sure to cross the Passerelle Solférino (Solferino Bridge) by Marc Mimram.

                    Quai des Tuileries
                    Quai Anatole France
                    75007 Paris

                    He's an engineer and architect although he doesn't make that difference. I had the priviledge of visiting a steel seminar for a week with him and Laurent Becker as my tutors. A great experience.
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      JP Are you Parisian ?

                      Try this incredible site From Paris
                      All views in 360° QVR are somptuous before a real trip it's a flying trip in music (aespecialy this one) (direct link to the QVR)

                      Other thing
                      For the real visit
                      Don't miss if the weather is good "La Promenade Plantée or Coulée Verte" 4.5 kms at the altitude of Parisian's roofs
                      Some buildings along are modern too like this one follow

                      You walk on the top of this

                      Last edited by Frenchy Pilou; 01-09-2005, 14:25.


                      • #12
                        In the other way you have...

                        the Modern Sewers of Paris

                        Last edited by Frenchy Pilou; 01-09-2005, 14:20.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Frenchy Pilou
                          (aespecialy this one) (direct link to the QVR)


                          • #14
                            Paris Accommodation

                            From Australia
                            I have a friend who will be travelling to Paris for the first time in September next year.
                            He will be visitng for two-three weeks and will be with his wife and daughter (young adult)
                            He is looking for a small apartment/studio (two bedrooms), I've suggested near Pont Neuf (where I stayed a few years back - I stayed in Rue de Nesles)
                            Does anyone know of something that might be suitable, or how he might find something

                            Last edited by tdmc; 19-10-2007, 00:17. Reason: spelling


                            • #15
                              Sorry can't help, but I'd recommend that he'd walk by this building: Fouquet's Barrière by Edouard François.
                              Attached Files