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Paris in Spring: why now is the perfect time to visit

From a major Christian Louboutin exhibition to the much-talked about arrival of the boutique Hotel Les Deux Gares, now is the time to plan a minibreak to Paris

While Audrey Hepburn may have opined that ‘Paris is always a good idea’, spring is when it comes alive. Cafés spill outdoors, parks are in blossom and the soft, warm days are ideal for wandering the arrondissements. And with blockbuster exhibitions to look forward to and a number of design-led hotels opening, here’s why the City of Light is a must this springtime. Bon voyage…

Christian Louboutin: L’Exhibition(niste) 

Louboutin, Degrastrass - © Jean-Vincent Simonet (2)
Louboutin, Degrastrass. Photography by Jean-Vincent Simonet

Christian Louboutin’s signature red-soled creations are adored by celebrities around the world, from Keira Knightley and Beyoncé to Kate Moss. Now the Palais de la Porte Dorée – the art deco masterpiece so loved by the young Louboutin – is offering red-soled devotees a glimpse into the shoe designer’s mad, magical world.  

Curated by Oliver Gabet, director of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, Christian Louboutin: L’Exhibition(niste) (26 February to 26 July) celebrates the luxury shoemaker’s unparalleled savoir-faire, flamboyant exoticism and rich creativity over the past 30 years. 

It will also explore how Louboutin’s relationships and eclectic wealth of inspirations, ranging from pop-culture, theatre, dance and cinema, have shaped his trailblazing designs. 

Louboutin, Ateliers - © Philippe Garcia
Louboutin, Ateliers. Photography by Philippe Garcia

On display alongside some of his earliest drawings, sketches, mood boards and portfolios will be a curated selection of his most daring creations, some of which have never been seen before. Expect ‘Pigalles’, ‘Spikes’ and ‘Nudes’ aplenty as well as new artist collaborations with the likes of director and photographer David Lynch and Spanish choreographer Bianca Li. 

Palais de la Porte Dorée, 293 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris

palais-portedoree.fr/en 

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Paris! 

Christo, Édifice public empaqueté (Projet pour l’Arc de Triomphe, Paris), 1962-1963
Christo, Édifice public empaqueté (Projet pour l’Arc de Triomphe, Paris), 1962-1963

Artists Christo and his late collaborator and wife Jeanne-Claude are widely celebrated for their audacious sculptures, installations and temporary public projects that often involve wrapping. 

Such famous works include Wrapped Reichstag (1971-95), which involved covering the Reichstag in Berlin in fabric; and The Pont-Neuf Wrapped, Paris (1975-85), which saw the Parisian bridge enveloped in a golden-sandstone-coloured canvas. 

This major exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, from 18 March to 15 June, traces the creative process behind the Pont-Neuf project, and looks back at the couple’s Parisian years, between 1954 and 1964. 

Christo, Empaquetage, 1960
Christo, Empaquetage, 1960

It will feature more than 300 works including a screening of the film Christo in Paris (1990) and preparatory studies for The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped. The idea for the latter was conceived in 1962, but is only now being realised in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou. 

Between 19 September and 4 October 2020, the monument on the Champs-Elysées will be wrapped in 25,000 square metres of silvery blue fabric made from recyclable polypropylene and 7,000 metres of red rope. It will be spectacular and surely another reason to visit Paris in the autumn?

Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris

centrepompidou.fr  

Hotel Les Deux Gares Spring 2020

Hotel Les Deux Gares, Luke Edward Hall
Luke Edward Hall

British artist and interior designer Luke Edward Hall – best known for his whimsical, maximalist aesthetic – has recently turned his talented hand to the redesign of a new boutique hotel in Paris’ vibrant 10th arrondissement, slated to open in the spring. 

Situated on the rue des Deux Deux Gares – so named for its location midway between the Gare de l’Est and the Gare du Nord – it features around 40 individually styled bedrooms and a petite onsite café. 

From Hall’s preparatory sketches on Instagram, we expect interiors that harmoniously blend a riot of colour, bold textures and vibrant patterns. No doubt this will be the place to see and be seen this spring.

Hotel Les Deux Gares, 2 rue des Deux Gares, 75010 Paris

hoteldeuxgares.com

Perrotin Matignon Spring 2020

Perrotin Matignon, Photo Tanguy Beurdeley
Perrotin Matignon. Photography by Tanguy Beurdeley

Gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin has been a leading light of Paris’s contemporary art scene for more than 30 years. He has championed such pioneering names as Maurizio Cattelan of Art Basel Miami Beach banana fame, Elmgreen & Dragset and Laurent Grasso, among others. 

Perrotin opened his first Parisian gallery in 1990 at the age of 21, before later expanding overseas. The launch, in spring, of Perrotin Matignon marks the art dealer’s ninth space worldwide and his fourth in Paris. 

A hop, skip and a jump from the Champs Elyseés, the new gallery is an intimate space where visitors can discover works by Perrotin artists on a one-to-one basis. ‘The general atmosphere of this venue will be that of a salon, where I hope you will spend time,’ explains the founder of the eponymous gallery. The outdoor space will be dedicated to displaying sculpture.  

For more Perrotin activity, head over to the Marais, where you’ll find his three other, much larger Parisian outposts. All host events and a wealth of brilliant temporary exhibitions, which are free to wander around and enjoy. 

Perrotin Matignon, 2Bis Avenue Matignon, 75008, Paris

perrotin.com 

Libertino 

Libertino, Crédit Jérôme Galland
Libertino. Photography by Jérôme Galland

Located in the heart of Faubourg Saint Denis, Libertino is the latest Paris-based trattoria from the Big Mamma Group, the gastronomic powerhouse behind London’s Gloria and Circolo Popolare.   

With its whimsical, verdant interiors and freshly sourced Italian ingredients, Libertino transports you in mind and spirit to the sunnier, warmer climes of Tuscany. 

Everything is for sharing here, so bring friends. The slow-cooked shoulder of lamb comes highly recommended, as do the Italian-style empanadas. For desert, opt for the Choco Choco Clap made with dark chocolate, caramel beurre salé and crunchy praline flakes. You won’t regret it.

Downstairs the vibe is more Seventies kitsch. Think kaleidoscopic carpets, disco balls and blood-red bar stools. Delicious cocktails come courtesy of a team of super friendly, expert mixologists. Need we say more?

Libertino, 44, rue de Paradis, 75010 Paris

bigmammagroup.com 

La Fab  

Agnès B.'s New Paris Art Museum La Fab
Agnès B. outside the new Paris art museum La Fab

Agnès b.’s brand new creative hub La Fab has thrown open its doors to all this February. Located on Place Jean-Michel Basquiat in the 13th arrondissement, the luminous, 1,400 sq ft venue is home to a gallery, museum, bookshop and performance space. 

It also holds part of the French designer’s personal collection of 5000 works, spanning photographs, drawings, paintings, sculpture and film. Some of the biggest names in contemporary art are represented, including Gilbert & George, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Nan Goldin. 

La Fab will host three or four exhibitions a year, each showcasing works from the collection. The first, Boldness, presents more than 150 works by 90 artists – many of them friends of the designer – that reflect forward thinking and daring creativity. Upstairs is a curated display of art and furniture for sale.  

‘Whatever else, it is fabulous, fascinating, far-reaching,’ says the designer of her gallery. ‘It facilitates understanding, fashion, passion and progress.’ We couldn’t agree more. 

La Fab, Place Jean-Michel Basquiat, 75013 Paris

la-fab.com

Matisse, like a novel 

Matisse, La Blouse roumaine
Henri Matisse, La Blouse roumaine, Avril 1940. Huile sur toile, 92 x 73 cm. Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Henri Matisse’s birth, the Centre Pompidou will stage the largest exhibition dedicated to the modernist master since the Grand Palais’ landmark show in 1970.  

Matisse, like a novel, opens on 13 May and is divided into nine chapters, which will trace the close relationship between text and image in Matisse’s art, offering visitors a new insight into his work spanning painting, etching, drawing and sculpture. 

There will be more than 230 works from across his career on display. Among the star exhibits is Jazz (1947), a book containing a combination of shapes and words, cutout gouache and hand-written texts. 

Henri Matisse, Marguerite au chat noir, début 1910, huile sur toile, 94 × 64 cm, © Succession H
Henri Matisse, Marguerite au chat noir, 1910. Huile sur toile, 94 x 64 cm. Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris.

Other notable highlights include such celebrated works as White and Pink Head (1914), a portrait reflective of the artist’s experiments with Cubism; and Still Life with Aubergines (1911), the only one of his ‘Symphonic Interiors’ still to reside in France. 

It promises to be a fitting tribute to a tireless innovator, who famously once stated that an artist’s ‘importance is measured by the number of new signs he has introduced into the language of art’.  

 Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris 

 centrepompidou.fr

Sinner

Sinner Bar, Nicolas Receveur
Sinner Bar. Photography by Nicolas Receveur

For a deliciously decadent stay, check into Sinner, a new boutique hotel in the heart of the Marais that is perfect for ‘artistic types, urban explorers, and individualistic wanderers’ in search of irreverence, elegance and five-star luxury.

The hotel’s ecclesiastical imagery, vaulted arches, stained-glass windows and dark, lantern-lit hallways pay homage to the Marais’ eclectic cultural and religious heritage, while the clean lines and playful prints in the 43 opulent bedrooms inject a contemporary touch.

The luxurious spa, hidden behind an underground nail-studded door, is home to an indoor pool, several treatment rooms and a hammam, while the candlelit crypt opposite reception serves as the hotel’s curated concept store.

There’s also a sultry bar serving wicked cocktails late into the night and a double-height gourmet restaurant with a menu fusing North African and South American cuisines.

Book the Art Addict experience to better grasp the storied tales behind the hotel’s eclectic art collection, or browse the programme of cultural events for fashion, music and design-led activity.

Sinner, 116 Rue du Temple, 75003 Paris

sinnerparis.com/en/

Main image: Henri Matisse, La Tristesse du roi, 1952. Papiers gouachés, découpés, collés et marouflés sur toile, 292 x 386 cm. Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris.
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