Arts Expos on now in Paris
Paris is just alive with great art exhibitions right now and with the sunnier weather, you can combine your museum visits with parks and playgrounds. Jen Hamerman has been checking out the cream of the current expos and finding workshops and tours (as well as gateaux and nearby parks!) to make them kid-friendly.
Two fabulous Pissarro exhibitions
There are two beautiful exhibitions of the work of Camille Pissarro right now in Paris. The first is a retrospective of his work at the Musee Marmottan Monet in the 16th district. This is a wonderful chance to see his work and understand his influence. My favourite pieces were his paintings of Paris towards the end of the exhibition. This Marmottan exhibition runs until 2 July and is not to be missed. Our kid-friendly tip is to check out the Les P’tits Marmottan workshops that the museum runs for kids and which will have a Pissarro theme over the coming months. While you’re there, don’t forget to pop downstairs on your way out to spend some time with Monet and some of his waterlilies at the permanent collection. It always feels like such a privilege. The Marmottan is situated right in the Jardins du Ranelagh so you are perfectly placed for playgrounds and just a stone’s throw from the Bois de Boulogne. Our suggestion for a post-museum snack is Yamazaki, the delicious Japanese patisserie close to La Muette metro station.
The Musee du Luxembourg has a Pissarro exhibition too, but they have focused in on his life and work at his rural French home of Eragny. This Pissaro a Eragny exhibition is equally exquisite and seeing the two together (perhaps within a couple of weeks of each other) works well. The Musee du Luxembourg is hosting several events to bring the exhibition to life for children. A workshop for kids aged 7+ that has really caught our eye is ‘Create a pop-up landscape’ which is running on several dates in April, May and June. For this on, you’ll drop your kids off and they’ll get a tour of the Pissarro exhibition and then will use different materials to make their own landscapes. If your child is not so keen on being dropped off, they also run a great looking family tour for those with kids aged 6+ called ‘La Ferme de Pissarro’ which takes families around the exhibition to see the rural life that Pissarro loved. Both of these activities will be in French. While you’re at the Luxembourg, make time to have some fun in the beautiful adjacent Jardin du Luxembourg and perhaps a hot chocolate at Angelina.
Jardins at the Grand Palais
What could say Spring more than an exhibition at the Grand Palais entirely dedicated to garden-related art? Masterpieces by Fragonard, Cezanne, Matisse, Klimt and Picasso all feature. I loved this exhibition. It was fresh and soothing and beautifully put together. There were some lovely surprises tucked away, like Beatrix Potter. The trailer will show you how enticing this exhibition is. The Grand Palais is running a related tour and workshop for kids aged 5-7 years and another for those aged 8-11 years.
Vermeer at the Louvre
We have heard a few tales of woe in our time of kids who have been trailled endlessly around the permanent collections of the Louvre to the point where they vow they are never returning. The problem is that it is so vast and we parents overstretch our kids. We simply don’t quit while we’re ahead and keep the visit short. There is, however, an exhibition taking place there that might merit you braving the resistance of your kids. Vermeer is running until 22 May and looks magnificent. You can bribe your kids with the promise of the trampolines, carousel and playgrounds of the nearby Jardin des Tuileries afterwards. Or maybe, just maybe, this is one to leave the kids behind for and attend sans enfants? You will have to book way in advance as most of the coming weeks are sold out.
Carnival in Venice!
Running until 25 June is ‘Serenissime – Venise en fete de Tiepolo a Guardi’ at the Cognacq-Jay Museum. The exhibition celebrates the Venice Carnival through paintings by some of the great masters and is certain to transport you straight back to your Venice mini-break. The museum is hosting some great, related activities for kids, including mask-making, creating portraits in pastel as well as some family tours. You can check out the full programme of activities by month.
Beyond the Stars at the d’Orsay Museum
You can take a sneak preview on this video and we think it looks well worth a visit. It’s running until 25 June and the museum has some family tours of the exhibition for you to sign up to. And while you’re there, don’t forget to go up to Level 5 to visit the Impressionists and take your photo through the clock plus a cake at the Café Campana on that floor. For the perfect end to your day, simply cross the river to the Tuileries.
The story of Olga Picasso is worthy of an exhibition in itself before we even get started on the related art. She was born Olga Khokhlova in Ukraine in 1891 and became a ballerina, before meeting Pablo Picasso in Rome and then marrying him in Paris.
In the exhibition at the Picasso Museum, we see Olga through love, tragedy back in her home country, motherhood and her eventual separation from Pablo, and we see his work through the social and political history of the time. The exhibition runs until 3 September and you can get a flavour of it from this video.
Art Afrique at Fondation Louis Vuitton
After the stellar success of their Modern Icons show, the Fondation Louis Vuitton have decided to showcase African art in their new major exhibitions. The first, ‘The Insiders’, explores the exceptional African art collection of Jean Pigozzi. The second ‘Being There’ looks at the contemporary South African art scene. The third examines the African art in the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s own collection. The Fondation has gone out of its way to bring this season to a young audience.
For kids aged 6-10 years and their families, there is ‘Africa Animated’, a series of family tours and workshops at 2.30 pm on weekends. After a look at the exhibitions, families will make their own animations, inspired by the African art they have seen. For younger kids aged 3-5 years and their families, songs and stories will be used to bring the African exhibitions to life at 11.30 on weekends. Reservations will be needed for these sessions. Don’t forget to use the exit that takes you straight into the Jardin d’Acclimatation afterwards – entry to the gardens is included in your Fondation ticket.
You might not have heard of Alicia Koplowitz. She is one of Spain’s wealthiest women with an estimated wealth of $2.5billion, a fortune she has used to amass an incredible art collection, ranging from Spanish artists such as Goya and Picasso, as well as the Italian Grand Tour artists such as Canaletto and Guardi. Until 10 July you have a chance to see this astonishing collection, From Zubaran to Rothko, at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre . Check out the video of the exhibition in advance and ask for the kids activity book. The museum also has some games online for kids. Remember you are a very short walk from the Parc Monceau, so do consider a post-exhibition picnic and play in the park afterwards.
Tokyo-Paris at the Orangerie
This is a fabulous chance at the Orangerie museum in the Tuileries Gardens to see the collection from the Bridgestone Museum founded by Shojiro Ishibashi, which features masterpieces from Japan and the West.
The museum is hosting some great activities for kids and their families, including paper theatre workshops, origami and also manga. You will need to reserve a spot for your family in advance. Of course this exhibition leaves you perfectly placed for all the joys of the Tuileries, including the trampolines, carousel and playground.
Take full advantage of your time here and explore these fabulous art exhibitions in Paris.