On a quiet street near the blaring, traffic-filled intersection of Montparnasse, a flourish of bright red and yellow stands out from the usual creams and grays of Paris streets. It’s fantastic. The glass-enclosed building, a super-modern extension of a preserved 1908 building, was built four years ago by Architecture Studio (which had partnered with star architect Jean Nouvel on the Institut du Monde Arab). Home not to an art institute or cultural institution, the building was commissioned and is used by a private business school. And though the edifice asks for attention, it only goes so far — front door staff sternly admit no visitors.
If you’re not convinced to suffer through Montparnasse just to get to this surprising building, perhaps enormous sculptures and peaceful gardens will do the trick. Just down the street from the red building, the uncrowded Musée Bourdelle showcases Antoine Bourdelle’s art. His workshops have been maintained, with their creaky wooden floors and windows onto gardens, and a vast, light-filled sculpture hall contains his imperial-scale mythological and human heroes. There are also three lush, overgrown gardens, uncharacteristic of a city that tends to manicure its green spaces into sterile green spaces.
location: Rue Armand Moisant & Rue Antoine Bourdelle, 15th