With the arrival of new students this semester at Parsons Paris, i’ve found myself constantly giving mini tours and recommendations to my new friends. Having now lived in Paris a few months, I’ve unconsciously collected a list of my favorite, unique attractions that the city has to offer. I could go on and on about my favorite spots, so I’ve decided to categorize the list into a series of posts, starting with museums.
If you’ve ever walked down rue de rivoli, you’ve probably walked by this place, maybe you didn’t notice it, maybe you did and just didn’t have the time– I know that’s how it was for me, until I made my first visit the other day. Just a ten minute walk from Parsons Paris, 59 Rivoli is a contemporary artist atelier, 6 floors housing with 30 artists studios, and gallery space. The atmosphere is very creative; paintings, sketches, and other miscellaneous media cover every inch of every wall, floor, and hallway. Whats nice about this space is that as opposed to many other public museums in paris, this one also acts as the artists place of work, so often when visiting you’ll see works being made right in front of you, allowing you to meet with the artists and ask them about their work (many of them do speak english– but it wouldn’t hurt to practice your french).
Admission to the ateliers is free of charge, but donation boxes are available around the building to donate to the artists and to support the space. It is open tuesday-sundays with free concerts on the weekends starting at 6pm.
59, rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris, France.
My second recommendation is not so much a museum as it is a sight. I spent a whole semester taking the train (RER B) past Denfert-Rochereau, the sight of Paris’ Catacombs. I will admit, I was quite shocked to hear that I had been passing the burial grounds of approximately 6 million people on my daily commute. It’s a tour un-like any other I’ve experienced abroad, and perhaps the most popular/tourist-y of the three sights i’ll share with you today, but definitely worth the trip.
It takes you underground starting at Denfert-Rochereau and leads you through the remains of old stone mines. I highly recommend this sight to everyone who’s interested, but those that have trouble walking in cramped spaces, please note there are quite a few stairs leading down underground and the walk itself is about 30-45 minutes. I do recommend however if you’re up for the expedition, to get there early! The line can be quite long. It’s open 10 am -5pm Tuesday-Sunday. 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France
Fortunately, studying abroad at an art and design focused university calls for A LOT of field trips, to all kinds of museums. The professors at Parsons Paris really recognize for the non-permanent, study abroad students that our time in Paris is limited, so they are very good about helping us get out and explore as much as possible. One of my favorite classes last semester was called “Designing our World,” taught by Rebecca Cavanaugh. It was this class that introduced me to my final recommendation that I have for you today: Musée de la chasse et de la nature (the museum of hunting and nature). This hidden gem is one that most tourists miss out on during their trips to Paris, but I will forevermore recommend this place to anyone visiting the city of lights, no matter for how long or short a period of time.
Housed in the only remaining François Mansart mansion, in the 3ieme arrondissement, the museum juxtaposes the practice of taxidermy and hunting with modern/contemporary art works. Bizzare? definitely. Unique? absolutely. For the feint hearted? … okay so maybe unique taxidermy and contemporary art it’s not for everyone, but It was one of my favorite experiences i’ve had in Paris thus far.
Located at 62 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris, France. The museum is open daily accept mondays and holidays.
Of course, this is just a sampling of my recommendations. I hope you continue to follow my “Sights to See Around Paris,” posts and that you get to check a few of them out yourselves.