See, feel, eat: a stroll around the Museum of the Quai Branly in Paris

FRANCE - ParisHave you ever heard of the Museum of the Quai Branly in Paris? This museum opened in 2006 and is dedicated to any kind of art from Africa, America, Asia and Oceania. It was designed and built by the French architect Jean Nouvel in the middle of a large garden, not far from the Eiffel Tower.

Its latest exhibition is called “Tatoueurs, Tatoués”( Tattooers, Tattooed”), depicting the art of tattoo through time and space. From its origins in Africa, Oceania and Asia where tattoo had a social, religious and mystical role and was highly valued as a rite of passage. During the 19th century and the six first decades of the 20th century tattoo became a sign of recognition for criminals: the well known Yakuzas as well as western criminals used tattoos at first as a sign of infamy and later they were proudly claimed. FRANCE - ParisNowadays tattoos have become a corporal ornamentation or a fashion phenomenon, loosing its religious nature. A few tattooers are now considered as real artists and many people are ready to make a long journey to meet them thinking of having a piece of art under their skin.

The exhibition explores all these aspects: photos, Japanese prints, drawings by explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as three dimensions artefacts by 19 contemporary tattooers from all over the world who have created exclusive drafts on that occasion.

This exhibition is not a big one and it won’t take you to long to see it, no time to get bored, but you will get an overall view on this subject. But if by chance you didn’t get enough, take advantage of your visit to see the permanent exhibition of this interesting museum.

During whole July the Museum of the Quai Branly suggests its visitors to attend “Les Siestes Electroniques”. These are Electronic Siestas: every Sunday afternoon from 4pm till 6pm innovative DJ’s will play relaxing electronic music in the “Theatre de Verdure” (the Greenery Theatre). Sitting in this open-air amphitheatre you will be able to enjoy this soothing atmosphere while getting a tan if the sun joins the siesta!

FRANCE - ParisAfter enjoying those cultural and musical moments you might get hungry! Here is a choice of a few nice places that you can easily reach by foot from the museum.

Les Deux Abeilles”(The Two Bees”): this is a charming British style tearoom at less than 50 yards from the museum, where you can have a snack or a meal in an old fashioned and out of time atmosphere. They serve different kinds of salads and hot meals, and delicious pastries: cheesecakes, apple and rhubarb crumble, lemon meringue pie… as well as home made fresh fruit juices and lemonade. Using only fresh produce, except for ice-creams which come, of course, from Berthillon the best Parisian ice-cream maker,  everything is totally homemade by Valeria Arela, her brother Olivier and their mother Anne who owns this charming restaurant since quite 29 years. Don’t tell anybody but “Les Deux Abeilles” is said to be very popular among French actresses.
Les Deux Abeilles, 189 rue de l’Université, open daily except on Sundays from 9am till 7pm. Closed in August. Expect a lunch bill between 30 and 40 €.

FRANCE - ParisChoux d’Enfer” (“Infernal Cream Puffs”): two very famous French cooks Alain Ducasse and Christophe Michalak have created this very first food-truck-restaurant dedicated to cream puffs. Don’t miss their salted cream puffs filled with a cheesy cream, or the spicy ones. The sweet ones are flavoured with chocolate, vanilla, toffee, coffee, citrus fruits…A real treat, crunchy outside with a creamy filling!

To go to the “Choux d’Enfer” turn left when you get out of the museum on Quai Branly street, walk along the Seine River, go by the Eiffel Tower, and after 400 metres, Choux d’Enfer is right on the corner of Rue jean Rey. A nice walk to give you an appetite!
It is open every day from 9am till 8pm. You will pay 6€ for 3 sweet cream puffs, 7€ for 9 salted ones.

FRANCE - ParisRosa Bonheur sur Seine”: directly set on the bank of the River Seine at the foot of Alexander III’s Bridge, this is a unique place. This restaurant has a huge terrace overlooking the river where 150 guests can sit on benches in front of long tables or on bean bags. And now a beautiful barge is moored right in front of the terrace where you will be able to eat tapas, or pizzas cooked in a wood stove and drink rosé wine. If you fill like it, you can dance and party late in the night in a chic ambiance! From the Museum, turn right on Quai Branly street and walk on the pedestrian river’s bank from 10 to 15 minutes.
Rosa Bonheur sur Seine, 37 Quai d’orsay. Open every day.

Text © Annick Dournes
Photos © Frederic de Poligny


About Annick Dournes & Frederic De Poligny

Annick Dournes and Frederic de Poligny are two French tourism journalists who travel the world for many years. They will share with you their very favourite experiences of worldwide travels. Those about France, their native country, will be found on a regular basis in their chronicle “Meanderings through France”. Web