Atelier des Lumières- This HAS to be on your Top Ten List for Paris

The Atelier des Lumières opened in April of 2018 in a former smelting plant/iron foundry from the 19th Century in the 11th arrondisement. It is a “digital art center” with 120 video-projectors to create an immersive art experience. As described by SortirAParis, back in 2018, it is a “breathtaking visual and sound show.”The first exhibition featured the art of Klimt, and the current exhibition features Van Gogh and Japanese painting and is there till the end of 2019.

I have tried to explain what this is to various friends, and I am at a loss for the right words. Imagine yourself surrounded by rough, concrete walls of various shapes and textures, with a ceiling twenty feet above you, and when the show starts, everything is covered with enormous art– sometimes it’s just pieces of paintings, or sometimes it is entire paintings, or sometimes it is flowing pieces of paintings (like ships that sail through waves). And while this is going on, imagine incredible music flowing and pounding all around you– sometimes classical, sometimes jazz, sometimes contemporary.

Wander the various rooms and spaces to experience it from different perspectives.

My pitiful pictures don’t begin to capture it, so I urge you to click here  to see the moving collage of the Japanese art. Go to the website at the top of this post to buy tickets (they are NOT sold on site– all tickets must be bought online ahead of time). It is a timed entry, so you need to get there within 15 or 20 minutes of your time.

No one is checking when you leave….




Chantilly– And I’m not talking about the whipped cream.

So you’re planning a trip to Paris and while you’re there, you want to see a castle, a “chateau.” But even thinking about trying to brave the crowds at Versailles makes your stomach churn. Is there somewhere else you can go that’s easily accessible by public transportation from Paris? And not too far away?

The answer is a resounding YES. The answer is Chantilly. It’s about 50 kilometers, or 30 miles, from central Paris. The easy way to get there is to take the TER which takes 20-25 minutes (2 stops). The TER is a local train run by SNCF, the national train company. Tickets can be bought easily on a couple of different apps- Trainline or Omio. Once you arrive at the Chantilly-Gouvieux station, you can catch a local bus to get to the chateau (or there are often taxis at the train station as well).

There were two chateaus that were part of the estate- the first and smaller (Petit Chateau) was built around 1560. The second, larger chateau was virtually destroyed in the French Revolution and rebuilt in the 19th Century for Henri D’Orleans, the Duke of Aumale.

It now houses, among other things, the Musée Condé, which houses the second largest collection of antique paintings in France after the Louvre. The Duke required that the paintings remain in exactly the same order and arrangement as when he lived there (so they are in an order that reflects his taste, rather than chronologically). Tickets are 17 euros and if you time your visit to include the tour of the private apartments, it’s well worth the extra 5 euros.

. is the website (there is a French and an English option- look for the button on the top right side of the screen to toggle between them).

There are also a variety of additional things to see in Chantilly as well as special events at the Chateau itself. One website I found that has a good summary of other things on offer is Culture Trip


Musee Maillol- A hidden gem on the Left Bank

You’ve been to the Louvre. You’ve been to the D’Orsay. You love them, I get it. But there are SO many smaller, lesser known museums, that offer the chance to discover something new. One that Peter and I recently discovered is the Musee Maillol. Do you know it? It’s a 10-minute walk from the Musee D’Orsay, and an 11-minute walk from the Luxembourg Gardens. The building itself is magnificent, and the history is fascinating. In 1739, a group of nuns endowed the land to the city of Paris for a fountain to be constructed, the Fontaine des Quatres-Saisons. This fountain was built between 1739 and 1745 as a monument to the beautiful city of Paris, and, in 1862, was declared an historic monument.

This is now one of the exterior walls of the museum. In the next few decades, the nuns built a variety of small buildings around it as part of their convent. The various buildings were then sold off during the Revolution and divided into various residential units. In the 19th century, it was home for a variety of creative people, like Alfred du Musset (poet, dramatist, novelist) and Paul Jacques Aime Baudry (painter), and in the 1950’s the Prevert Brothers opened a cabaret there. A colorful past, to be sure! In 1955, Dina Vierny, who was a model and muse for Aristide Maillol, the sculptor, bought one of the residential apartments and over the next thirty years acquired the rest of the property (how did she do that? I have no idea!), with the goal of opening a museum to house Maillol’s works. In January, 1995, she succeeded and the building was opened as the Musee Maillol. (This is the courtyard that is now the Cafe Prevert)

It houses not only a selection of Maillol’s sculptures, but also the museum brings in a variety of amazing temporary exhibits.

This temporary exhibit was, in fact, a prime reason we went in June. It was a collection of Emil Buhrle. Emil Buhrle was a German-Born Swiss Industrialist who assembled his collection between 1936 and 1956. This was the first time the collection had been shown in Paris, and contains works from the 2nd half of the 19th century through the early part of the 20th century. The collection was embroiled in some controversy because thirteen pieces were acquired during World War II and subsequently were discovered to have been looted from their rightful owners. Emil Buhrle went to those families and returned those paintings, and then asked if he could purchase them back (many of which he did). An honorable thing to do. This made the collection that much more poignant for me.

In 2021, the collection will be housed permanently in Zurich at Kunstenhaus

After an engrossing hour of perusing, we left to find a place to eat, and found an adorable cafe nearby offering delicious steak frites– The Cafe Le Flores.

I will continue to explore Paris for small, lesser-known museums to share with you!! Enjoy!