Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris: Love It or Leave It?
Louis Vuitton. The shop on the Champs Elysée in Paris is often decorated extravagantly and rightly so. It is known for high priced accessories, leather goods and luggage. But there is also the Fondation Louis Vuitton art museum and cultural centre which opened in Paris in October 2014.
It’s been the talk of the town and I made a short journey there recently to check it out and decide what all the fuss was about. Would I love it or leave it?
Fondation Louis Vuitton
First, this is NOT a fashion museum. I believe the drawing attraction is simply the building itself which was commissioned by Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of the LVMH luxury goods conglomerate and designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry, who is famously known for designing so many well-known, contemporary buildings including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada.
The Fondation, covered with 12 glass sails, is spacious and there are special exhibits which change periodically. When I visited, there was an exhibition of Chinese artists that didn’t do anything for me (how ironic). What I really enjoyed was walking around the museum and examining the architecture inside and out. As stated on the Foundation website, Gehry wanted to “design, in Paris, a magnificent vessel symbolizing the cultural calling of France”.
If you like modern architecture, you will be in heaven. I realized I prefer the more classic, baroque architecture from the 1600s to the 1700s when many chateaux and palaces such as Versailles were built. However, that’s just me. So did I love it? Not quite. I did like it and am glad I went to see it.
Interestingly, the reviews of the museum are mixed; some love it, some hate it. You be the judge.
Bonus—Jardin d’Acclimatation: I was pleasantly surprised that this amusement park was located right beside the museum. When I went outside, I got some nice views of the building, but then suddenly discovered this amusement park. Being January, not much was going on, but it was a pleasure to stroll around the area which had horseback riding areas, rides, and a umber of animals. So if you go to the Fondation, particularly with children, be sure to check out the Jardin d’Acclimatation.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is on the western edge of Paris in the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement and it is adjacent to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a 49 acre children’s amusement park.
While you could just show up and buy your ticket, I wanted to avoid any line ups, so I ordered my ticket online through Fondation Louis Vuitton.
Easiest Way To Get To The Fondation
I picked up the shuttle to the Fondation at Place Charles de Gaulle (Charles de Gaulle Etoile where the Arc de Triomphe is) on the corner of Ave de Friedland near the Metro exit. The shuttle departs every 15 min and only costs 1 Euro. It drops you off right in front of the museum.
I have to say that you took me there in your post and that’s enough for me! I’m not a huge fan of modern architecture (although I usually love Frank Gehry). Thanks for letting me know about this – at least I can drop it in a conversation sometime!
Guess modern architecture takes some getting used to.
Every time I see a Frank Gehry building it makes me smile. My father-in-law really despises his work. Which is really odd since he has a terrific collection of modern art hanging on just about every wall of his house. When gazing upon the Gehry designed pavilion in Millennial Park in Chicago he shook his head in disgust. I love his work and would love to see the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris can’t believe we’ve missed it!
Wow, “despises” is pretty strong! I didn’t hate the Fondation. I just didn’t love it.
I love Frank Gehry – I have never heard of Foundation Louis Vuitton, but I am glad you took me there. As a fan of the brand, I would probably go there to see it in person. As of now I am honestly afraid to travel to France. It breaks my heart, but that is how I feel. I have visited 6 times over the years and I hope to go back when we get more of a tighter hold on terrorism. Be safe my friend.
Thank you Suzanne. I can’t believe all the things that have been happening in France. Fortunately, during my last trip I stayed in smaller towns.
very good article. I love Frank Gehry. There is a good reason that Frank Gehry is considered to be the most important architect of our day. He is talented and multi-faceted. His art, architecture, and design reflect our modern era, often linking it both to the past and to the future.