Tag Archives: Paris

Atelier Brancusi

Sitting in the shadow of the flamboyant Centre Pompidou is an easy to miss modest concrete box. This is Atelier Brancusi, the re-created studio of one of the fathers of modern sculpture, Constantin Brancusi.

Sculptures in Atelier Brancusi
Sculptures in Atelier Brancusi

A lifelong Parisian, Constanin Brancusi emigrated from his native Romania to Paris in 1904. After studying sculpture at Scoala Natzionala de Arte Frumoase in Bucharest, he continued his studies in 1905 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. The following year, his sculpture debuted at the Salon d’Automne, where he met the French master Auguste Rodin.

At the age of 30, Brancusi’s career path seemed secure when he joined Rodin’s Paris studio. But after just two months he left the employ of Rodin with the explanation “Nothing grows well under the shadow of big trees.”

Within a year Brancusi’s stone sculpture “The Kiss,” marked this change of direction. His reputation as one of the great innovators of modern sculpture was assured with the first “Sleeping Muse,” a marble ovoid head with delicate stylized features lying peacefully on its side.

The sculptor had settled in Paris but returned frequently to Bucharest and exhibited there almost every year. In 1913, five of Brancusi’s sculptures were included in the Armory Show in New York. Alfred Stieglitz presented the first solo show of Brancusi’s work at his gallery “291,” New York, in 1914.

Tools in Brancusi's workshop
Tools in Brancusi’s workshop

In 1920, Brancusi sent his sculpture “Princess X” to the major Paris exhibition Salon des Independants. It was denounced by a conservative faction as indecent and police removed it from the show.

After the incident, Brancusi’s studio became his gallery and exhibition space. He was so disgusted with the Paris art world that he never exhibited in Paris again for the rest of his life.

Before  his death in 1957, Brancusi willed his studio to the Paris Museum of Modern Art with the proviso that it be preserved intact. The Atelier Brancusi collection consists of of 137 sculptures, 87 bases, 41 drawings and over 1,600 photographic glass plates and original prints. Architect Renzo Piano successfully preserved the intimacy of Brancusi’s workshop studio while protecting it behind glass walls.

While Atelier Brancusi is free, most Paris museums have admission fees. The Museum Pass for Paris is a convenient multi-museum pass available online or at The Paris Tourist Office’s Main Welcome Center at 25 Rue de Pyramides. Skip the queues and visit as many times as you like. The Paris Museum Pass is available for 2, 4 or 6 consecutive days.

Active City Travel Reviews Insidr.Paris

Heading to Paris? Lucky you, especially now that you can dump your over-priced overseas phone plan, guide books and maps thanks to Insidr.Paris, a smart phone rental service loaded with useful apps,  free local phone calls and access to a local community of experts, available in real time via text messaging to respond to your questions on where to eat, what to see and special events happening in Paris everyday.

No cumbersome maps to unfold and no heavy guidebooks to lug around, this phone does it all – it’s the Swiss army knife of travel guides.

Canal Saint-Martin
Canal Saint-Martin

The included citymapper app is the best way to discover ways to get around Paris by bike, metro, bus or taxi based on up-to-the-minute traffic conditions. Still other useful apps on the phone allow you to set up dining experiences with locals.

 One tip: To prevent suggestions from whizzing in fast and furious, try to give as many specifics as possible – I.e. your exact location,  type of food, budget preferences and list what you are not looking for.

And the best thing about this new service?  Ben Forlani from Insidr.Paris will meet you anywhere with your loaner phone and get you set up in minutes with your digital guide to the best that Paris has to offer.

Place Dauphine
Place Dauphine

Full disclosure:  Insidr.Paris  loaned Active City Travel a smart phone for evaluation.