Marais Museum Chronicles History of French Jews

Musee du Judaisme 9

There are more than 150 museums in the City of Light, ranging from tiny exhibitions to huge world-renowned institutions like the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay. But many Parisian museums fall between the obscure and the famous, and one of the most interesting of these is the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme/MAHJ (Museum of Jewish Art and History). The museum, housed in an historic 17th century Marais mansion, chronicles the rich and sometimes very complex history of Jews throughout Europe and North Africa—with a specific focus on French Jews—from the Middle Ages to present day through its world-class collection of paintings, sculpture, religious objects, manuscripts, textiles and historic documents. Some of the most fascinating artifacts are nearly 800 years old. Continue Reading →

Paris Is Home to Europe’s Largest Science Museum

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Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie, one of the biggest museums in Paris—and, in fact, the largest science museum in all of Europe—is rarely visited by tourists, likely due to its location on the very outer edge of the distant 19th Arrondissement and the fact that there’s not much else to see in the blandly residential district. But that’s a shame, because the museum is terrifically entertaining and even offers occasional IMAX films and planetarium presentations in English (or with English subtitles). And more than 5 million annual visitors can attest to the universal appeal the sleek, modern and highly informative science center has for both adults and children alike. Continue Reading →

A Serious Museum Examining Sex and Sexuality

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Paris is bursting at the seams with museums and galleries. And among the City of Light’s 175 public and private museums are several unconventional collections, including the Musee de l’Erotisme (Museum of Eroticism). And let’s set the record straight: This unusual seven-level exhibition space in Paris’s Pigalle district is a serious museum, not a prurient tourist trap. The artifacts on display, amassed since the 1960s by cultural anthropologists Alain Plumey and Joseph Khalifa, date back to the 1st century A.D. and provide a fascinating examination of the roles that sex and sexuality have played in numerous cultures and civilizations during the past two millennia. Continue Reading →

Marvelous Modern Art at the Pompidou Center

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Modern art is not everyone’s cup of tea. Personally, I prefer avant-garde paintings, sculpture and other futuristic installations over gallery upon gallery of Christian imagery, and I adore the work of Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. To each his or her own, right? But even I sometimes find some modern art pieces to be, shall we say, wanting. There is a museum in Paris, however, that I highly recommend to everyone, even those who normally are turned off by modern art—the Musee National d’Art Moderne, housed in the city’s equally futuristic—and fascinating—Pompidou Center. Continue Reading →

Paris Rooftop Photos Shown at Marais Gallery

Michael Wolfe photo on display

As anyone who has ever rented a Parisian apartment—even for just a short stay in the City of Light—knows, one of the true pleasures of non-hotel living in Paris is the views over the city’s iconic rooftops. The hundreds of tiny clay chimneys. The ornate sloping roofs adorning ancient stone buildings. The skylights and wrought-iron balconies peering out over the entire scene. It’s magical. And now, a photo exhibit staged at Paris’s La Galerie Particuliere, located in the artsy Marais, celebrates those picturesque canopies through the images of renowned photographer Michael Wolf.
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