BY GLORIA GROOM
Editor’s Note: The Dalai Lama might have said it best: “Home is where you feel at home and are treated well.” For the Art Institute’s Gloria Groom, Chairman of European Painting and Drawing, Paris is not only a place where she has curated major exhibitions—as home to fascinating friends, it is a destination of the heart. Captivating as a speaker, charming as a friend, and brilliant as a scholar, Gloria shared her list of Paris haunts with us.
During my three years in Paris as a graduate student, I lived in several arrondissements: from the tony 16eme to the very working class 14eme. My favorite residence was a 6-floor walk up at the corner of the rue Birague and Saint Antoine, a tiny street leading into the Place des Vosges in the Marais (4eme), which was where I was living when Art Institute Director, Jim Wood, and curator Rick Brettell visited me and requested my research services, which eventually led to my coming to the Art Institute. So, my favorites are not necessarily haute culture but those that bring back wonderful memories of la vie en rose in my favorite city.
Since joining the Art Institute, I have returned many times to Paris but always for one or two days. And my list has expanded to include favorite art galleries, other points of professional interest around the Musée d’Orsay and in the gallery district off the Faubourg Saint Honoré, and even a favorite Starbucks.
Even with these shorter stays, however, I always manage to hit my favorite shoe shop (Arche) and at least one of my favorite museums for 19th century art.
Places to Stay
- Grand Hôtel Mahler in the Marais (reasonable and great location)
- Hôtel d’Orsay (down the street from the museum) – my regular due to work
- Le Meurice (a Sustaining Fellows favorite for a trip I organized)
Places to Eat
- Chez Georges, 1 rue de Mail (2eme)
- Tea room at La Duree (rue Royale)
- Gaspard de la Nuit (in the Marais)
- Restaurant at Grand Palais (especially on the terrace)
Places to Shop
- Arche (les Halles, Saint Germain, Marais and other locations)
- Catherine B (consignment) – 3 rue Guisarde, Saint-Germain-des-Pres
- Zara (Paris offerings vary from Chicago)
- Philippe Ferrandis (rue Bonaparte)
- Marché rue de Buci (Photo by Dirk Laureyssens)
- Marché avenue Président Wilson (also called Marché Place d’Alma) – in center of boulevard
- Musée d’Orsay, jeudi nocturne
- Louvre, Richelieu Wing of Decorative Arts (especially fine on Friday evenings when it is open till 10:00)
- Musée Carnavalet
- Musée Victor Hugo
There are so many! Here are a few—I know I will be in trouble by not naming all of them.
- Galerie J. Kugel (because it’s a mini-museum of high luxe)
- Talabardon et Gautier (19th)
- Eric Coatlem (Old Masters)
- Brame et Lorenceau (dating back to the 1820s and historically important for “modern” art of the Barbizon and Impressionist schools)
- Rue de les Francs Bourgeois
- Walking from the metro at Palais Royale to Les Halles via Rue Saint-Honoré
- Anywhere on the Île Saint-Louis
- Rue d’Echelle, across from Musee des arts décoratifs
- Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, 15 Avenue Montaigne, 8eme (with murals decorations by Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Ker-Xavier Roussel and cupola by Maurice Denis)
Favorite Suburban Museum
- Musée Maurice Denis (Musée Départemental) – A beautiful car ride or easy RER to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, featuring works by Nabi artists Edouard Vuiillard, Pierre Bonnard Félix Vallotton, Maurice Denis but also a wonderful collection of the School of Pont Aven with works by Gauguin, Emile Bernard, Paul Sérusier among others