Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CITE de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine

on Monday, French President Sarkozy finally inaugurated the Cite de l'Architecture, which has been partially open since January. You've probably seen photographs of the location--the Cite is located inside the Palais de Chaillot, just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. It's the ultimate fashion shoot location.

The original Musée des Monuments français was founded in the late 1800s by Viollet-le-Duc. The museum survived until 1997, when the entire wing of the Palais de Chaillot closed for renovation for a decade. Plagued by scandal, the Cite is finally looking gorgeous again. Monday's official ceremony was attended by some of the biggest names in architecture, including Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, and Richard Rogers.

While the Minister of Culture should have had the prestige of opening this museum, Sarko is famous for leaping ahead of his ministers--making their announcements for them, appearing at their ceremonies to upstage them, and being generally lousy at delegating. But in this case, Sarko's presence wasn't inappropriate: most French presidents are obsessed with Paris architecture (think of Mitterand & his Grands Projets), and in June, Sarko announced that he was interested in a new Haussmann vision. What exactly that means remains to be seen...

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