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Le Carnet de France - A perfect time to visit France

By Martine Dulles

As you may be thinking or planning to come to France in the next few months (while there are still very few worldwide tourists), let me tell you about the many different and excellent exhibits offered at the moment. Il y en a pour tous les goûts et toutes les couleurs. (There is something interesting for everyone.)

Reservations are now mandatory in most museums, and even if not required, are advisable.

The exhibits are listed by chronological order as to the closing date:

Ending February 19, 2023

On October 25, 1722, Louis XV, age 13, was crowned king. To celebrate the 300th anniversary of this event, the Château de Versailles is presenting an important exhibit to introduce the personality of the king, his passions and a portrait of the society of his time. While he was more interested in science than in the arts, it was however during his reign that the rococo style in furniture and in the decorative arts was developed. The show exhibits furniture and porcelain sets that will not be seen again for a long time.

The apartment of the Comtesse du Barry, one of his favorites, has just been refurbished and is now opened to the public.

Ending February 27, 2023

Monet-Mitchell is the current “big winner” exhibit at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, in the Bois de Boulogne in Neuilly. It started on October 5, 2022, and it is attracting 5,000 to 9,000 visitors per day! This was not at all anticipated especially since Joan Mitchell was unknown to many French people.

Why organize a retrospective of Joan Mitchell (105 paintings) and incorporate 35 paintings by Claude Monet? Well, both artists painted many canvases in the same village of Vétheuil, at the doors of Normandy, where both lived, but not at the same time. Claude Monet was born in Paris in 1840 and died in Giverny (17 km from Vétheuil) in 1926. Joan Mitchell, was born in 1925 in Chicago, moved to France in 1955 and died in Paris in 1992.

As you know, Claude Monet was French, a figurative artist and one of the first painters identified as an “Impressionist,” whereas Joan Mitchell studied in the United States and was considered one of the major New York School Abstract Expressionist painters.

“The concordance between their works also has formal characteristics: above all, color in all its interactions with light, a preference for a similar palette but with very different intensities, made up of blues, yellows, and greens, combined with red, pinks, and mauves,” as stated in the brochure of exhibit by the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

All canvases are large. For the first time, a triptych entitled the Agapanthus, which took Claude Monet 10 years to complete, is shown in its entirety. (The three panels belong separately to the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.)

It is truly a very well-hung exhibit organized jointly by the Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Musée Marmottan-Monet.

Two tips: Go after 5 p.m. when it is not so crowded, and the easiest way to go to and come back from the Fondation is to use the shuttle bus organized by the Fondation. The little shuttle departs every 15 minutes at the top of the Avenue de Friedland, at l’Étoile (Arc de Triomphe), and it drops you right in front of the Fondation’s entrance.

Ending March 3, 2023

Another link between the U.S. and France, but this time in architecture, is at La Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (1 place du Trocadéro in the 16th arrondissement). The exhibit, “Art Déco France-Amérique du Nord” presents this movement that was created in France in 1920 but which had a significant impact on American architecture and decorative items. Photographs, pieces of furniture, paintings, toys, clothes and more are displayed.

Also, while at the Cité, do not forget that you can still admire the sculptures from the roof of Notre-Dame, which surrounded the central spire and which had been removed 10 days before the fire of April 15, 2019, for a planned restoration. The 12 apostles as well as the symbols of the four evangelists and the iconic rooster can be admired at eye level until completion of the work on the Cathedral. (See the article in June 2021.)

Ending March 23, 2023

As the Palazzo Ca’ d’Oro, which houses the Galleria Giorgio Franchetti along the Grand Canal in Venice, is going through restoration, the Collection Al-Thani at the Hôtel de la Marine (Place de la Concorde), is presenting more than 70 pieces of the Venetian Renaissance masterpieces. Paintings by famous artists such as Gentile Bellini, Andrea Montegna, as well bronze and marble pieces are presented.

And of course, at the same time you want to admire the magnificent restoration of the Hôtel de la Marine which takes you back to the grand style of life under Louis XV. (See the article in September 2021.)

Ending May 28, 2023

You missed it at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London? Don’t worry, you do not need to go to Japan to discover the history of the Japanese “kimono.” The Musée du Quai BranlyJacques Chirac (37 Quai Branly) is presenting this exhibit organized in three parts: the history of the kimono, the kimono in the 19th century during the “Japanism” time when the Japanese art and design influenced the occidental world, and finally, the contemporary times.

As you see, the selection is varied and there will be more suggestions soon.

Le Carnet de France vous présente ses meilleurs vœux pour la nouvelle année. (Le Carnet de France sends you its best wishes for the New Year.)

Martine P. Dulles lives in France. Martine was a docent at the MET in New York and later a licensed tour guide in Charleston for many years. She now organizes Bespoke Tours in France and is a translator for cultural material. You can reach her at


Château de Versaille. Photo by Sophie Louisnard on Unsplash.


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