Paris Sails

The newest museum in Paris, the Lous Vuitton Foundation  opened in the Bois de Boulogne in 2014.  As the architect was Frank Gehry, you wouldn’t expect it to look like any building you’ve ever seen- and it doesn’t.  You think of a fish, a bubble, a cloud. Gehry himself compares it to a ‘kind of regatta’ with the ships’s sails billowing in the wind.   

Critics have called the building a vision and a triumph but not everyone feels the magic. Construction was interrupted by legal challenges about its suitability to the site and planning permission restricted the height to two storeys. However, encased in the 12 glass sails, these two storeys soar skyward 46 metres.

The museum, sponsored by the LVMH group, was built principally to house LVF’s corporate collection of modern art. (Ownership of the building transfers as a gift to the city of Paris in 55 years.)  An interior assemblage of 10 white rooms provides space for permanent and temporary exhibitions. There’s a dramatic waterfall inside and terraces outside with views of Paris  glimpsed between the sails. The bookshop offers specially-designed souvenirs in an artistically restricted range of colours and materials.

If you’ve just come to see the exterior, the best vantage point is the park at the rear of the building. If you plan to visit an exhibition, consider buying a ‘Premium Access’ admittance ticket online. Otherwise you’ll need stamina and patience. Queues are long.

The museum is a half-hour walk from Les Sablons metro stop.  A shuttle for ticket holders departs Place Charles de Gaulle, on the corner of Avenue de Friedland, every 20 minutes.

Closed Tuesdays. For full details and to read about ‘Le Frank’, the museum’s restaurant, visit

In the spring of 2017 a new music venue opened on an island in the Seine. Designed by Shigeru Ban in partnership with Jean de Gastines, La Seine Musicale  is a long narrow structure like a boat moored in the river. This, too, features a sail, this time a solar sail capable of producing 80,000 kilowatt-hours a year. It moves on rails around a donut-shaped structure atop the building

  At the heart of La Seine Musicale is a major concert hall and a jewel-like auditorium for classical music performances. Other features: an outdoor screen where the public can watch performances ranging from musical theatre and rock concerts to ballet and classic music and a spectacular roof garden, open to all, Wednesday to Sunday from 11 until sunset. 

Website in French:

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