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Trip Report The Newly Reopened Picasso Museum in Paris

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The newly reopened Picasso Museum was at the top of our list on our visit to Paris last week. Thought I would share a few lessons learned.

We had always ranked the previous incarnation of this museum at the top of our list of world museums for its integration of the art and the explanation of the artist's life, symbolic meaning of subjects and other features like no other museum we had been to.

The newly renovated and reopened museum took 5 years, opened the space apparently double or triple the previous and totally reorganized the presentation.

The critics have not entire approved.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/arts/design/the-picasso-museum-reopens-in-paris.html?_r=0

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/france/parisandaround/11180061/Inside-Pariss-reopened-Picasso-Museum.html

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/art-and-design/2.642/overblown-budgets-scandal-and-intrigue-picasso-museum-reopens-in-paris-1.1982142

But we decided to have an open mind.

The space is lovely, open, lightfilled even on a gloomy November day.

But you should know if you enjoyed the previous incarnation that the new version is completely different. Not arranged chronologically. Without any labeling except the name of the piece and date and media of composition. So the entire "context" aspect of presentation has been almost entirely removed.

We had advance purchase timed tickets for the first time of the day (1130 am). I would not go without them. At the beginning of the day at least before the doors to the courtyard open you form one line around the corned and down the block, whether you have advance purchase tickets or not. Once the courtyard opens the line files in with one waiting area for those who already have timed tickets and another for those who don't.

We did not have advance purchase audio guides. That was a big mistake. At least the day we were there audio guides were available only for those who had advance purchase of them. You could not walk up, pay and take one. Maybe because the museum is new, only open one month, and they don't have enough yet for anyone who wants one. Don't know. There is a little booklet available for free near the front door that does provide some explanation and context. So don't miss grabbing one of those if you don't get an audio guide.

There is also an app for your smart phone you can purchase. I think $2.99 (maybe euro 2.99) but we found he English language version dreadful. It seems to me a mechanical translation of something French with very large vocabulary words and just not that interesting or helpful as a result. So I would skip that.

And it was rather crowded. Maybe not like the Louvre or D'Orsay (don't know as we didn't visit either this trip). The individual rooms are mostly small. A little too crowded for my enjoyment. It was the American holiday of Thanksgiving (a Thursday) and we did see some Americans but not that many that would explain the crowds on such a weekday. Most were French, German, Italian, Spanish and I think South American.

But, overall it was great to see the new version, not the same as the old version, and with a few "growing pains" for its reopening. But still absolutely worth the trip. Hope what we learned can help you.

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