More cultural hubs in Paris

The Musee de l'Homme and Rodin Museum re-open and Les Caves du Louvres is new

NEW YORK • Last year brought not one but three new or updated cultural hubs to Paris.

The six-year-long revamping of the Musee de l'Homme (Museum of Man), completed last fall, almost did not happen.

During his presidency, Mr Jacques Chirac ordered many of the museum's ethnographic collections moved permanently to the Musee Quai Branly, the newer anthropological museum that he made his marquee cultural project. The European collection was moved to the MuCEM in Marseille, signalling to some the Musee de l'Homme's demise.

In reaction, the Museum of Man's curators narrowed their focus. Now, they challenge visitors to question how humans have evolved, how they have shaped their habitat and where they are heading.

A temporary exhibition exploring the museum's history runs through June.

Rather than simply restore the Rodin Museum's building to its purported state in 1732, its five-year renovation recreates the atmosphere it was said to have had during Rodin's time there in the early 20th century.

"It was an architectural challenge for us to renew the building and honour the magic of the previous structure," said Ms Catherine Chevillot, the museum's director.

Aside from new features such as elevators, restrooms and enlarged door frames to accommodate disabled visitors, the museum now presents a chronological evolution of the sculptor's life.

A thematic exploration of his work and private collections feature 600 new pieces, including never-before-shown landscape paintings and plasters.

Les Caves du Louvres is an immersive new museum concept created by author and sommelier Olivier Magny and by Nicolas Paradis of O'Chateau, the city's largest wine bar.

Visitors explore the A to Z of wine through an interactive experience set in an 18th-century vaulted hotel particulier (a listed monument with cellars that predate the private mansion by several centuries).

The structure underwent a three-year-long design overhaul to create a clever visual play on volume, light, texture and scent that enriches a mobile app, available in 10 languages, that guides guests through a sensorial tour covering about 6,500 sq ft of rehabilitated underground space.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 03, 2016, with the headline 'More cultural hubs in Paris'. Print Edition | Subscribe