Paris Adventures Part 14 – Cité Chaillot

This post has been a long time coming — I actually visited this museum before the first class of LCB Intermediate (so… over a month ago) — I just never had the time to get around to actually writing it!

Instead of going to Art Ludique as I had originally planned and seeing the Marvel Exhibition there (I went with my brother when he got here a week later), I decided to go to Cité Chaillot, a museum of architecture located at Trocadéro, where you can get the best view of the Eiffel tower.  It’s also one of my favorite places in Paris.

I had no idea what to expect from this museum.  All I knew that it had something to do with architecture, that it was at one of my favorite places in Paris, and that for me it was free (yay for french nationality!).

So I walked in, marched to the ticket booth, got a slightly skeptical look as I presented my very sketchy-looking carte consulaire, picked up my ticket, and entered the museum.

The first word that entered my mind was (and I’m slightly ashamed to admit this): huh?

The museum wasn’t the type of museum I had been expecting: I had expected paintings and photos of buildings, or at the very maximum blueprints, but instead what I was faced with was this:

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From Moissac, L’Église Abbatiale Saint-Pierre


I initially thought that the museum had imported parts of churches that had collapsed/where collapsing, but upon further inspection I found out (via a sign on the wall) that rather than importing stones, these were molds of churches, the vast majority of which thankfully still exist, although some are in worse state than the molds.

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Romanesque Architecture in Burgundy

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Southern Gate of Église Saint-Lazare in Avallon

There was a lot of really cool stuff, and for a good hour or so I just walked about on the ground floor marveling at the detail on the churches.  To think that people would spend so much time to make something so intricate, so beautiful, in honor of an unknown power (who we can’t prove exists), astounds me.

Interesting side note: today I was listening to Alan Watts’ “The Nature of Consciousness” while going for a walk and he said something about how if people truly were Christians, they would be running around on the streets screaming.  But that’s today’s world.  Maybe things were different back then.


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Western gate of Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur, Aix en Provence, early 16th Century

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Arches, at the beginning of the Renaissance: more fluid, symmetrical.

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Front doorway of Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Chartres, Mid 12th Century. I actually visited this cathedral some 2 years ago. Part of the first gothic churches, very well known for its stained glass

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The view from inside the museum

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How the backs of these molds look… much less impressive

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Center doorway of l’Église abbatiale Saint-GIlles, Saint-Gilles du Gard, Late 17th Century

It’s too bad that I didn’t come here with someone that was actually into architecture.  I’m sure I could have learned a lot from somebody who knew how to better appreciate the intricacies of not only the architecture but the artwork on the buildings as well, since I’m sure that every gate’s artwork refers to some passage in the Bible or some interpretation of the religion at that time period.  Instead, I just walked around, read some stuff on the signs on the side, and enjoyed the pretty artwork. 🙂

I then found out that there was actually a second floor to the museum, so I went there!

It was more what I had originally been expecting: small scale models, lots of pictures, some blueprints of much more modern architecture.


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Modern-style apartment buildings in Paris (13th Arrondi)

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Centre Pompidou in Metz!

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How’s this for modern architecture, eh? 😉

There was also a pretty creepy section that followed, which was completely dark, almost completely isolated, displaying the interior artwork of some of the churches that we had seen below.  It actually replicated in the insides of the typical church (at least the ones I’ve been to in France) – cold and dark – but it was even darker because there really wasn’t any natural sunlight.  I walked through pretty quickly because I was a little bit scared, but I managed to get some pics!


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Room full of paintings on The Passion – the final periods of Jesus Christ’s life.

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This was one of the rooms I was in. I think it was the crypt of Cathédrale Saint-Étienne in Auxerre, but I’m not sure.

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Stained Glass window of Prophet Joël, Cathédrale Saint-Étienne, Bourges, 13th Century.

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Painting on the ceiling of Castle in Ravel (Puy-de-Dôme), 13th Century. Each of the symbols was a family crest. Which ones, I’m not sure

This would be a very fun trip for an European History teacher!

But for me personally, the highlight of the museum (besides the architecture and the view of the Eiffel tower) would have to be this:

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If you can’t see clearly, here’s a zoomed-in photo:

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Museum guard sleeping on duty!  Tsk tsk tsk.  At least he woke up when I got cl0ser.

One final shot of the Eiffel tower before I headed home.  Because a trip to a museum of architecture should have some authentic pieces.

One final shot of the Eiffel tower before I headed home. Because a trip to a museum of architecture should have some authentic pieces.




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