And we finally found the time to get down there! Here’s our photo report…
We remember the first incarnation of the Picasso Museum back in the mid-eighties. Back then it was sparkling new and full to the brim with art. The white walls and ever-present marble seemed super modern.
However, 25 years later the museum found itself lacking enough space to show its huge collection properly, and the large townhouse it called home – the Hôtel Salé, dating from the 17th century and a listed monument since the 1960s – needed major repairs. The roof required replacing, and the building was no longer in line with fire prevention norms or handicapped access. A new project was elaborated to bring the museum into the 21st century.
By moving the administration offices to a nearby building, the permanent collection was now able to spread over the whole building, 5,700 m², and the new museum was inaugurated at the end of 2014.
As soon as you enter the building you can feel that there’s more space. The hall is bathed in natural light and has a very high ceiling.
Visits now start in the basement, and we didn’t find the signage very clear at all. If you prefer having a clear path laid out for you, you might be a little bewildered at first, but it turns out the rooms are actually numbered, and after a little searching you’ll probably find your way. This first level is notably where you’ll learn about Picasso’s life.
And the good news for foreign visitors is that all the presentation texts are in English and Spanish as well as French!
A few pieces of art illustrate certain themes here, but most of the majors works are to be found upstairs…
Between two temporary exhibitions (like the day of our visit) the ground floor and first floors are closed to the public, and the museum gives reduced rate entry to everyone (although this only 1.50€ less than the full rate).
You’re still free to admire the monumental staircase while going up to the second floor (don’t take the lift!). It really is impressive.
So for us, the real visit started on the second floor, where the works are presented by theme or project, covering not only the work of Picasso but also his personal collection of artwork by painter friends with whom he often made exchanges.
The works are well spaced out, without excessive amounts of texts that would have weighed things down. It’s a diverse but coherent presentation.
Even after your visit you can make the most of the building by visiting the rooftop café or sitting a while in the garden (you’ll need to go through the basement to get to it, for some reason). Great for resting a little on a warm day…
We really enjoyed our visit to the Picasso Museum, but avoid (if you can) going in the six-week periods between exhibitions, during which two whole floors are out of bounds.
The museum probably has the most important Picasso collection in the world, beautifully presented, and for any art lover a visit is essential.
The Picasso Museum (here) is open weekdays (except Mondays) from 10.30am-6pm, and the weekend from 9.30am-6pm
Admission: 12.50€ / 11€
To check out all our photos of the Picasso Museum, click here.