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Fondation Louis Vuitton, Bois de Boulogne, Paris Fondation Louis Vuitton, Bois de Boulogne, Paris Iwan Baan

Two Paris museums opening this week

Fondation Louis Vuitton opens its doors and Picasso gets a make-over


Paris Editor

Last week, Paris was thriving with art events that took place across the city, with bien sûr the FIAC at the Grand Palais at the centre. The art week came to an end over the weekend with the prestigious Bal Jaune at the Hotel Rothschild, but more importantly with the reopening of one of the city's major landmark institutions: the Picasso Museum. And that's not all. The much awaited reopening is twinned with the inauguration of the LVMH Fondation Louis Vuitton, a veritable temple of contemporary art, where architect Frank Gehry's creation is a showstopper.

Opening today: Fondation Louis Vuitton
Crouching in the grasses of the Bois de Boulogne (Boulogne woods) in west Paris, the city's newest art venue reminds more of an alien creature than anything the city has ever seen before. Composed entirely of curved glass, the unusual contraption was designed by superstar architect Frank Gehry who is also behind the Bilbao Guggenheim.

This unique building is not only a sanctuary of contemporary art but also marks a brand new chapter for Paris. Exuding peace and tranquillity the enormous galleries of the foundation give the impression of space without being daunting. The foundation opens with works like Rose II by Isa Genzken in the foyer, the 6 Septembres by Christian Boltanski, A Journey that Wasn't by Pierre Huyghe and one of the largest galleries dedicated to the work of Gerhard Richter. More works are on their way and include pieces by Giacometti and Penone.

While the outer shell of the building is the main defining feature of the new Fondation Louis Vuitton, and the artwork shown within will comprise some of the best contemporary art exhibitions in the French capital, another major highlight is the east and west terraces boasting near 360° views of Paris that stretch to La Défense business district and even to the Eiffel Tower. In the foyer, the foundation also has a chic restaurant, 'The Frank' which serves contemporary brasserie fare.

Fondation Louis Vuitton – 8 avenue Mahatma Gandhi Paris 75116, metro Les Sablons, line 1.

Musée Picasso

Picasso: 'The Minotaur and the Dead Mare' 1936Picasso at grand Hôtel Salé, Paris

Originally opened in 1985, the museum was forced to close for renovations. Five years down the line, and several administrative disputes later, the world's largest collection of Pablo Picasso works is once again open to all.

Reopened last weekend on 25th October, also Picasso's birthday, the museum's exhibition space has been more than doubled, meaning that it now lends itself better to showing the 5,000 Picasso works that include paintings as well as archive photographs, sculptures, etchings and the artist's own private collection of paintings by great masters like Modigliani, Matisse and Rousseau.

The labyrinth of galleries winds itself around the grand Hôtel Salé, a quintessential 17th-century Parisian townhouse with a cobbled courtyard stretching out front and a garden in the back in the Marais neighbourhood.

The five floors of the mansion serve to aptly divide Picasso's works into periods, from the early 1900s to the sixties, with his private collection shown in the attics and photographs and sculptures in the cellars. Picasso, who was born in Spain but spent most of his life in Paris, was one of the most avant-garde artists of the 20th Century. The artist's prolific and extremely diverse body of work, which ranges from painting to assemblage, collage to sculpture, is now on show at the Musée Picasso where the exhibitions will change annually.

Musée Picasso – 5 rue de Thorigny Paris 75003, metro Filles du Calvaire, line 8.

Read more about the best art exhibitions this autumn with our guide to Exhibitions and Auctions A/W 2014