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Take a Tour: Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris

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In every country around the world, there are museums to visit and explore. In Paris, there are so many large museums that can take up to a week to go around, while there are smaller museums that you can probably finish in a day or two. Paris is a hub for culture and the arts that… if Rome has churches in every corner, the City of Lights has several handfuls of museums, art galleries and historical buildings catering to anyone’s aesthetic fancy.

One particular museum that’s worth going to (even just for a couple of days) is the Musée des Arts Décoratifs along rue de Rivoli. In fact, the museum is one of three sites that people can visit on a regular basis. The Les Arts Décoratifs is an organization established in 1882 and lives by the motto of introducing “Beautiful into the Useful.” They’ve been collecting all sorts of objects of design from the Middle Ages up to the present day. Aside from the museum, they’ve also preserved a grand home of a Count, and set up a design school for interior architecture. If you’re thinking of putting a theme on your travel to Paris, a tour of design would be great, and you can start with Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

The museum with collections of French furniture, carpets and porcelain from different periods in history, in addition to numerous works of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. There are also “period rooms,” and visitors can enter beautiful copies of homes of some of France’s great designers. There are also three wings: Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Musée de la Mode et du Textile, and Musée de la Publicité–these wings contain a total of 336,000 objets d’art. If you’re just visiting to sit down and read, you can head to the Library des Arts Décoratifs.

Art from every period are here in the museum

Tapestries in one of the period rooms.

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After going around the museum, find some souvenirs in 107Rivoli.

The second stop in Les Arts Décoratifs tour is the Musée Nissim de Camondo along rue de Monceau, considered to be one of Paris’s “most sumptuous homes in the early 20th century”. This elegant house was built in 1911 by Comte Moïse de Camondo for his collection of furniture and art. It became a museum in 1935, and there are three levels open to visitors: Les Cuisines (Kitchens), the Formal Rooms, and the Private Rooms. The garden is also open for strolling.

The whole house was inspired by Petit Trianon at Versailles, a small chateau for Louis XV’s mistresses. The museum doesn’t serve that purpose; it’s home to some 1,000 objects of French art, French style, and French history (the great muses of man, or so they say).

The Grand Salon

The Grand Salon.

Design students and enthusiasts can go to the last site in boulevard Raspail: École Camondo. The design school specializes in spatial and object design. Students spend 5 years studying interior architecture and product design. Prospectives often visit École Camondo as part of their tour of France, and most of the time, it’s the reason why they stay.

The school isn’t really well-known outside of the designers’ circle, but there have been notable students that have stepped out of École Camondo and revolutionized design as we know it. These are: Pierre Paulin, the designer of the Orange Slice Chair and Jean-Michel Willmotte, a great French architect whose influence is found in the interiors of the Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea, the street lighting and furniture along the Champs-Élysées, and the interiors of LVMH, the Louis Vuitton | Moet Hennesy HQ.

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Designers-to-be working on a project

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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.

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