Part of our touring involved walking down the Champs-Élysées, partly to observe a dense pedestrian boulevard and partly to see some projects along the way. We started down by the Arch de Triomph:
The Citroen showroom was an interesting stop:
The faceted glass facade made for some interesting interior lighting:
The center of the building was a huge stack of platforms where they showcased some of the lineup:
After the Champs, a group of us went to go to the Eiffel Tower. I don’t think I need to explain much about this one.
How would you like this guy’s job?
We had an awesome dinner that night. I don’t remember the names of the dishes or the name of the place, but it was amazing.
Parc André Citroën was another place we visited. It’s a pretty nice park with a wide range of small and large garden spaces. Unfortunately a lot of it was undergoing maintenance and the water fountains were shut off because of the cold weather.
We stopped get some delicious chocolate on the way to our next location. Probably the best white chocolate rocher I will ever have:
Le Musée du Quai Branly was one of our next stops. The museum itself houses an extensive collection of indigenous art, but we didn’t actually go inside. The project was designed by Jean Nouvel, and is a really good example of urban landscape architecture, among other things. The entire building is lifted off the ground, leaving the majority of the site left for landscaping.
The side of the site bordering the major street is lined with a huge glass wall, preventing street noise from entering the site. It works extremely well, and because of the dense vegetation within, you feel like you are in some sort of quiet oasis when you get on the other side of that wall.
One of the edge buildings of the museum has a pretty amazing green wall also:
The next day we visited the Parc de la Villette, a fairly renowned project by Bernard Tschumi. It’s a gigantic park that is organized by a grid of pavilions (or “follies”) painted in bright red.
Here’s a new project by the docks at Austerlitz on Paris on the Seine. It’s a re-purposing of old warehouse space into an art gallery mixed with office space. The architects are two Sci-Arc graduates, but their names are escaping me. The main vertical circulation happens on the side of the building, overhanging the water, and it has a spectacular roof area with seating and great views down the river.
Then we hopped across the Passarelle Simone-de-Beauvoir (by Feichtinger Architectes) to the BnF:
And finally arrived at La Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), which is a huge library surrounding a sunken forest. Each corner of the library is anchored by a tall “L” shaped building housing book stacks and administrative space.
That night we rushed through some of the Louvre before heading to Yoav‘s family friend’s house in the southern part of the city for a delicious home-cooked dinner.
The next day we had off from classes, but spent the day doing pretty much the same thing – exploring architecture around Paris. We took the train to Versailles and were there through most of the afternoon even though the weather was absolutely terrible. It was in the 30’s and low 40’s with scattered showers while we were exploring the gardens. And on top of that, there was a strike so the train didn’t even take us to the right station.
The palace, as it is also an art gallery, had a current exhibition showcasing the work of Japanese artist Haruki Murakami. It was a little strange seeing his work in the setting of Versailles, but it was interesting none-the-less.
Last time I was at Versailles, I wasn’t able to go in the gardens. This time was a different story. Some of the fountains also were turned on as we were walking around, making it an even better experience. Next time, I hope to visit on a day with better weather so I can ride a bike around the ground or take a paddle boat out on the lake.
And we ended out stay in Paris with a visit to one of the most famous coffee shop/restaurants in the city – Angelina. It’s right across the street from the Tuileries Gardens, and is well worth the wait in line. They have a bunch of specialty treats that they sell in the front, and a two-floor restaurant behind.
The Mont Blanc was one of the heaviest things I have ever eaten, and I have to say it wasn’t as good as I had been told it would be. The hot chocolate was much better. But overall it is a great place to experience.
The next morning we headed to Gare du Nord to catch our high-speed train to the Netherlands. More on that in the next post.