Last weekend I found myself back in the Parisian suburb of Rueil-Malmaison, house-sitting for my boyfriend’s parents. Being La Nuit Blanche in Paris (an annual event where everything is open until late, with art exhibitions on display throughout the city) our plan was to go into Paris and explore it under the cover of night. With plans that evening sorted, we just had to find something to distract ourselves until then. Being in the suburbs for the weekend, I wanted to make the most of the local attractions and reminded my boyfriend of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which was just a bus ride away from where we were staying. Although we had passed it many times we were yet to visit this new(ish) architectural feat.
Designed by the architect Frank Gehry, the building, inspired by a sailboat’s sails, emerges from a sea of trees- the Bois de Boulogne. With its colourful checkered design, the contrast between nature and this manmade structure is striking.
After pestering my boyfriend to take photos outside the foundation, we were told that there were no exhibitions on display today. Still curious to explore inside, and lured by the cheaper price, we decided to purchase tickets at 4€ each, which also allowed us access to the gardens- Le Jardin d’Acclimatation.
Even without any exhibitions, the Louis Vuitton Foundation was worth a visit. We saw miniatures of the structure we currently stood in, and learnt about the process of construction, for instance I discovered that 100 engineers were involved during the research stage. This was accompanied by a video montage spread across two large screens, which showed a sped up formation of the Louis Vuitton Foundation.
Even if architecture isn’t quite your passion, the Foundation offers fantastic views of the forrest surrounding it, as well as Paris itself. There are three levels from which to look at the panoramic views (and take lots of colourful photos). You’ll catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, and France’s business district La Défense.
There’s even space to grab a coffee and sit among the foliage dotted around the terrace, and look out towards Paris. As the foundation doesn’t close its doors until 8pm, I can imagine that this time of year it must be magical to watch Paris come alive at night from the terrace.
My boyfriend told me that the colourful design of the Louis Vuitton Foundation wasn’t permanent. The checkered pattern is actually itself an art installation- “An Observation of Light” by Daniel Buren. Before the colourful glass panels return to their transparent, original form, you might want to take a visit and observe the almost stained glass effect caused by the added colour. Oh and take some stunning photos!