Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Baccarat Museum

After two museums on Saturday night you might ask... Did you stop? Did you go home? Weren't you tired? No, no.. and yes. There is one museum that I have really, really wanted to visit but was turned off by 7 euro for admission ... the Baccarat Museum. So my husband and the kids headed home and my girlfriend, her two boys (her husband wasn't with us so she didn't have the same option) and I took the metro back to the 16th and got out at Iena.

When we popped out of the metro we noticed a huge line for the Guimet Museum. That place always has the longest lines on free Sundays (the first Sunday of the month) or when there is a special exhibit. There had to have been 150 people on the line at 10:30pm. We passed right by them hoping that there would be no similar line at the Baccarat museum.

Well, we walked right in to Baccarat which is really a museum, boutique, restaurant, and showroom. About two years ago, Baccarat left its original premises on rue de Paradis for a prestigious mansion on Place des Etats-Unis -- once the home of Marie-Laure, Viscountess de Noailles (1920-1970) and art lover. Baccarat then hired Philippe Starck to redecorate the 3000 square meters of this 1895 building.

The ground floor is the show room. My friend and I were a bit nervous about her boys in the showroom -- although they were welcomed by the staff -- because many pieces were in glass displays with no protection. You could actually reach out and grab that 3,000 euro glass pitcher. It made us a bit anxious. There is a jewelry showroom with sitting tables and hand mirrors in case you wanted to try on a piece before purchase.

On the landing of the beautiful staircase you are surprised by a two meter high glass chair designed by Starck.

Upstairs you'll find Baccarat jewelry, furniture, and lighting collections. On display everywhere...glasses of exceptional craftsmanship, showing ornamentation by cutting, wheel-engraving, enameling and gilding. There are famous pieces, like the tsar Nicholas II's candelabra and prestigious commissions from international celebrities like Josephine Baker. My friend and I also admired the simple black crystal collection by Starck. Another room, which looked like a reception room, reminded me of the hall of mirrors in Versailles.

There is a restaurant, the Cristal Room, in the museum. I believe it was closed and we didn't look in... but I understand eating there is an amazing experience. Here is a review by a fellow Parisian blogger.

As we left the museum, we looked around the foyer. One particularly interesting sight is a Baccarat chandelier plunged in an aquarium of water. It wasn't working the night I was there, but friends have said that when the lights are on that it's a feast for the eyes.

I never thought I'd say this, but with so much to see, it's almost worth the 7 euro admission.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
6:09 PM



You know, I am really going to miss all your insights into the fabulous things to do in Paris if you should move back to the US. Your posts always give me a moment of 'armchair travel' time to my favorite city.

# posted by Kelley : 8:03 PM  

I agree with Kelley. You make it so real, I can almost believe I've been there.

# posted by kenju : 12:13 AM  

I bet that museum was breathtaking. Too bad you had to miss that chandelier. I bet that was awesome!

# posted by mommy d : 4:25 AM  

How cool is that?!

So glad he finally lost that tooth. My ds just lost one a week or so ago.

# posted by BohemianMama : 6:27 AM  

Hi Auntie !

My friend and I were a bit nervous about her boys in the showroom -- although they were welcomed by the staff -- because many pieces were in glass displays with no protection. You could actually reach out and grab that 3,000 euro glass pitcher. It made us a bit anxious.

Now, now. (smile) Relax. You are in France. It's different here.

There's an excellent chance that you are insured. When you signed the lease to your apartment you agreed to take out adequate insurance en bon gestionnaire de famille. You took out -- if you signed up with a French company -- what is termed an assurance multirisques habitation, i.e., MRH. Along with all the usual fire, water damage, window breakage, inclement weather, breakin/theft, and who-knows-what-else coverage, you have responsabilite civile. This should cover you and your children and your pets, as well as any person to whom you entrust the care of your kids or pets (unpaid babysitter, unpaid dogsitter). Typical coverage should be la responsabilite personnelle des enfants ou de toute personne vivant habituellement au foyer; de toute personne a laquelle l'assure confie la garde benevole de ses enfants ou de ses animaux.

You are responsible for the kid(s) until her/his/their majority, so if one of them -- or you, for that matter -- had knocked over that Baccarat pitcher, you would have been covered. (You might have been covered even if it was done deliberately. There was a famous case on this about a kid who was shattering street lights with a slingshot: his parents' civil responsibility insurance finally took care of it, although not without some court time. Check with the consumer magazine Que Choisir ? for complete info).

You do want to check your current policy to see just how much civil responsibility coverage you have, though, to make sure, and under what circumstances it comes into play. (smile) If you went with a French company, you have responsabilite civile coverage, whereas if you went with a foreign company (British ? Jersey/Guernsey ? Isle of Man ?), perhaps via a group policy through an employer, you might not have as much coverage as the French company would have offered, only some minimal coverage, to save a bit of cash to please the nickel-and-diming beancounters. Check your policy for peace of mind. If you purchased your apartment, you took out insurance, too: check the policy.

Thanks for this great museum tour. You must've been museumed-out that night. (smile)


# posted by L'Amerloque : 9:27 AM  

Thanks l'Amerloque for the insurance coverage info... I am SO glad I know all that now !

# posted by magillicuddy : 11:28 AM  

I love that PICTURE! It's so elegant!

# posted by mrsmogul : 1:26 PM  

That's funny, I didn't think of the Baccarat Museum that night, but the next day it occured to me that we should have gone there instead of Galliera. I've been a couple of times, and I think it's lovely. I've heard the restaurant isn't great, but that afternoon tea is worthwhile. I'd like to do that before we leave.

# posted by Lisa : 1:38 PM  

Actually I am that friend, and I wasn't bothered that much! honestly - and we know how to run!

# posted by Anonymous : 3:42 PM  

Kelley and Kenju, Thank you!
Mommy D, I'm trying to figure out if I can see the chandelier some other time without paying admission. It is located in the foyer before the museum entrance.
BM, It was much cooler than I thought it would be!
L'A, I always appreciate your knowledge on these types of things. I agree with Magillicuddy -- thank you for passing the info on to us.
Mrsmogul, Paris isn't so far from London... when are you going to visit?
Lisa, I've never been to Galleria -- that would have been a good choice too.
A, I suppose you are right, but it's good to know insurance will cover these accidents!

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 3:54 PM  

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