Fondation Louis Vuitton

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Foundation Louis Vuitton

Depending on what angle you view the new museum which opened in October 2014, it can appear to be a massive ship setting sail.

Designed by Canadian born architect, Frank Gehry and costing over 130 million euros, is nothing short of spectacular.

Whether your visit is to watch a performance, view the contemporary art, take in the surrounding views or simply gasp in awe at the monumental piece of architecture, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

 

Located on the edge of the second largest park in Paris; the Bois de Boulogne and the Jardin d’Acclimation; on the western edge of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton is easy to get to; whether it be a metro ride and a short 600m walk or by taking the very convenient electric shuttle bus from near the Arc de Triomphe.

 

Giant sails billowing in the wind is what it appears to be as it slowly comes into view and slightly reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House.

Standing 40 metres high and covered in 3,600 specially designed, curved laminated glass panels the City of Paris, changed building regulations to ensure it’s completion.

After 13 years in the making, the architect saw his building come into fruition.

 

LVMH commissioned the 85 year old, Frank Gehry who has the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Dancing House in Prague, and the recently opened Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, a new wing at the Sydney University of Technology, just to name a mere few, under his belt.

 

Foundation Louis Vuitton (Fondation Louis Vuitton) is a private museum for contemporary art owned by the LVMH group also known as LVMH Moët Hennessy.

In 1987 Louis Vuitton the fashion brand and Moët & Chandon and Hennessy, (who had merged 10 years earlier) merged, becoming a massive multi-national group owning over 60 high end luxury brands and employing over 83,000 people.

Some of the brands that they own or manage major shares of include; Veuve Clicquot, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Givenchy, Guerlain, Dior, Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Sephora, DFS Galleria, for next time you are buying duty free, the high end department store Bon Marchè, the former La Samaritaine department store, which they are in the process of developing into an exclusive shopping centre, hotel and apartments and wait for it all you Australian’s out there; the iconic riding boot company; R.M. Williams.

Without further ado, let’s take a look around…

 

Water cascades down stairs on the ground level, spilling into a pool of water.

The graduated higher levels can be reached by glass lifts or stairs offering panoramic views.

The business district of La Defense can be seen looming over Paris, as can the Eiffel Tower.

 

 

And that, is just the outside.

 

 

Although the line up to get in snaked around the side of the enormous building, the wait wasn’t long.

Entering the spacious, sun drenched foyer through glass revolving doors, I missed the giant flower you see here until I was on the higher levels of the galleries.

 

Flat screen monitors above the reception desk, offer cloak rooms, free wi-fi and apps to download for an enjoyable experience.

A museum shop to the left and a restaurant straight ahead at first seems overwhelming until you get your bearings.

I highly recommend taking one of the maps available to help you navigate your way around, they are available for free in a multitude of languages.

To the right is lifts and an auditorium and to the left; the art galleries.

* * *

 

 

At the time I visited Foundation Louis Vuitton I was lucky enough to not only visit a retrospective at The Pompidou Centre on Frank Gehry’s work but also to view a temporary exhibition of the models he created as part of his design process for the museum.

Frank Gehry is famous for his architectural process of building a large collection of models for his clients, allowing them to view all aspects of the structure.

 

 

Viewing the Foundation Louis Vuitton’s models at the Pompidou Centre was an enticing entrée before my visit to the real thing and observing more at the Foundation helped put the entirety of the building into perspective.

Here you can see Frank Gehry’s vision of the restaurant. A magnificent glass enclosure, allowing views to the outside, with fish sculptures floating from the ceiling, again, suggesting a water theme.

 

 

 

 

And here, the final result.

A stylishly elegant, contemporary museum restaurant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The galleries offer a few permanent pieces but the museum’s focus is temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

Danish-Icelandic artist; Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Contact’ was part of the opening celebration’s temporary exhibition and may give you a taste of what is to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fabulous exhibition certainly added to the wow factor of the museum.

Contact can be a smile, a greeting, touch or simply reaching out to someone, artist Olafur Eliasson says.

As we were lead through a series of rooms, with his use of light and shadows, it was like an other worldly experience.

Trés cool!  Superb!

If this is any indication of what is in store at Foundation Louis Vuitton, I will certainly be back.

 

The bus you see pictured below is what to look out for if you want to take advantage of the shuttle service. It runs every 15 minutes for the cost of 1 euro each way.

 

The bus stop is situated on Avenue de Friedland; one of the 12 streets that fan out from the Arc de Triomphe, which is the street after the Champs Elysées heading north (see map below).

 

 

I spent most of the day here, because I wanted to observe what happened when the changing light bounced off the building before and after sunset. Here is what I saw.

 

fondation louis vuitton

Foundation Louis Vuitton will no doubt become another iconic structure in Paris and is well worth a visit.

If you have found this information useful or interesting, please leave a comment or follow me here on facebook for daily tips, photos and anecdotes. Your feedback encourages me to keep this site up to date.  Merci!

Paris Adèle’s Information Nécessaire:

Fondation Louis Vuitton – Official Website in English and five other languages.
8, Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi
Bois de Boulogne 75116

Opening Times:
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday
12 noon to 7pm
Friday
12 noon to 11pm
Saturday & Sunday
11am to 8pm
Closed Tuesdays
Cost: €14

Avoid queues by purchasing on-line or purchasing at ticket machine located between ticket booth and main doors, takes credit cards only.

Closest Metro:
Les Sablons – Metro Line 1
Take the Fondation Louis Vuitton Exit
600 metres 10 minute walk – MAP

By Shuttle Bus:
Take metro to Charles de Gaulle Etoile Metro Station
Take Avenue de Friedland Exit
Bus departs from Avenue de Friedland – look for bus signage – MAP
Buses depart every 15 minutes
Last bus leaves the museum 7 minutes after closing
Note: bus leaves the museum from the same spot it arrives (not from over the road)

Cost: €1 each way

By Velib (city bicycle for hire)
bike station located in front of museum

Wheelchair acces

Olafur Eliasson – very cool official website

 

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