Le Trocadero

By annesophie | February 25, 2011 | Filed under: Eiffel Tower

The Trocadero area, made up of the Place du Trocadero and terraced gardens, is dominated by the Palais de Chaillot. Built in 1937 for the Exposition Universelle, it’s a rather ugly building, in sober Neoclassical style. The central terrace between its two wings has been kept clear, forming a perfect frame for the Eiffel Tower beyond. The vast building houses the radical Theatre National de Chaillot and four museums, only two of which are currently visitable, the Musee de l’Homme and the Musee de la Marine. Damage from a fire in 1996 closed the Musee du Cinema Henri Langlois, for which a permanent home has still to be found. The Musee des Monuments Français has been closed for renovation and will form part of a planned “Cite de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine”, a vast architectural information resource center.

Trocadéro (photo: stefanopinci.com)

Trocadéro (photo: stefanopinci.com)

As you head east and downhill from Trocadero, you’ll find a handful of museums all within a stone’s throw of each other. The first, on Place d’Iena, is the Musee National des Arts Asiatiques - Guimet. It features a huge and exquisite collection of arts from China, India, Japan, Tibet and Southeast Asia, and much more of the collection will be on display in the future. The original core of the collection, which the art collector, Emile Guimet, brought back  from his travels in Asia in 1876, is exhibited nearby in the small and attractive Musee du Pantheon Bouddhique, at 19 Avenue d’Iéna. At the back of the museum is a small japanese garden, complete with bamboo, pussy willow and water.
The Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary of the Palais de Chaillot, is a short way east of the Pantheon Bouddhique, its entrance on avenue du President Wilson. The east wing houses the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris whose outstanding permanent collection of twentieth-century art includes Dufy’s enormous mural la Fee Electricite, the pale leaping figures of Matisse’s The Dance and Robert and Sonia Delaunay’s huge whirling wheels and cogs of rainbow color. The west wing of the Palais de Tokyo is a Site de Creation Contemporaine, a space devoted to the promotion of contemporary art which promises interesting temporary exhibitions. Opposite the Palais de Tokyo, set in small gardens at 10 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, stands the grandiose Palais Galliera, home to the Musee de la Mode et du Costume. The museum’s collection of clothes and fashion accessories from the eighteenth century to the present day is exhibited in temporary, themed shows. There are two or three per year - during changeovers the museum is closed.
Across the Seine from the Palais de Tokyo, on quai Branly, the temporary structures of the Espace Eiffel-Branly, host to international trade fairs, occupy a space which is to be transformed under Jean Nouvel, architect of the Institut du Monde Arabe, into a purpose-built museum housing the collections from the Musee de l’Homme’s ethnography department and the Musee des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie. The new museum  is open since 2004. In the meantime, a showcase for the museum has been put together and is being exhibited in the Louvre in the pavillon des Sessions.


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