Louis XIV, Barbie & Christian Lacroix – 3 reasons for going to Paris’ new architecture museum

The Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine may have one the the stuffiest names of any Paris museum, but their current exhibitions are anything but dull…

photo (c) Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine / Carole Lenfant


Architecture, monuments, statues, yawn yawn yawn. Not in Paris though. Our new architecture museum, opened last September, is making a real effort to attract people with diverse, interesting exhibitions that people can relate to. Here are our three current favourites.

1. Vauban, the Sun King’s Builder

OK, let’s start with the serious stuff. As part of the celebrations around the 300-year anniversary of his death (what, you didn’t know?) this exhibition shows the work of the Marquis de Vauban, Louis XIV’s architect and builder of some of the most incredible fortresses and fortifications in France, making sure the country was well protected against marauders and invaders. You’ll see how his buildings are now restored, and how some of them have been transformed for different uses.

By the way, the poster isn’t just a star, it’s a plan of one his fortresses. Epic stuff…

Vauban, bâtisseur du Roi-Soleil, 7th November 2007 – 5th February 2008

2. Mademoiselle B.’s Villa

No we’re not talking Britney, but the original blonde babe, Barbie. Nine female architects have joined together to construct a fabulous villa for the plastic icon, with each taking on a different area. Expect to see the Body & Soul Boudoir, Secret Garden and (my favourite) the Blablabla Lounge.

La villa de Mademoiselle B., 11th October 2007 – 27th January 2008

3. The Elle Decoration Suite

Décor mag Elle Decoration has taken up residency for a year in a 250m2 spaced lent to them by the museum, and hooked up with rent-a-designer Christian Lacroix (he’s everywhere this year) to do it up. Filled with limited edition furniture from his own collection, as well as photos and everyday (chic) objects, the décor will be changed every few months. Careful though, visiting times are limited (compared to the museum), and the visit is guided only, with one visit every hour on the hour from 4pm – 8pm on Thursdays, and 2pm – 6pm Sundays. More info about the project (in French, sorry) from Christian himself here:

La Suite Elle Decoration, 4th December 2007 – 4th December 2008

Here’s all the essential information for going to the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine

Where: Palais de Chaillot, place du Trocadéro, Paris 16th arrondissement. Métro Trocadéro (lines 6 & 9). Bus n°s 63, 32, 82, 22, 30
Opening hours: Every day except Tuesdays, 11am – 7pm (9pm Thursdays)
Admission: permanent exhibition 8 euros for adults, 5 euros for concessions (make that 10 or 7 euros if you want to check out the Vauban exhibition too). You can have a look at the Elle Decoration Suite for just 3 euros (not sure if this is on top of normal admission prices or not)
Official site: here (all in French, darn it!)


Bigger map here