Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Visit The "Little Taj Mahal of France"

I learn something new about Paris nearly every day. It is an ever changing, steeped-in-history city.

An historical building in the Parisian suburb of Courbevoie, most recently used as a gardener's "shack", was nearly destroyed and sold in pieces. Fortunately, it was rescued and has now been restored to its former glory. It is referred to as the "Little Taj Mahal of France" but officially it is the Pavillon des Indes (Pavilion of India.)

The Pavilion of India
The Pavillion housed in the Exhibition hall in 1878
This "Pavilion of India" was originally housed in a huge exhibition hall as an attraction during the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1878. It stood where the Eiffel Tower is now.

The future King of England (King Edward VII) wanted to showcase the precious objects and jewels he'd brought back from a trip to India in 1876.
Pavilion of India
The Pavilion of India in the turn of the century neighborhood
Later it was bought and moved to Courbevoie by Prince Stirbey for his step-daughter, artist George Achille-Fould. It was put onto land adjacent to the Castle Becon (now the parc Becon.) He added a brick structure in the back for the artist to use as her workshop.

Now, this historical property has been renovated at a cost of 2.5 million Euros. The pavilion's director, Emanuelle Trief-Touchard explains “It’s a vision that we had of India, of the far-east, at that time. We’ve freely mixed the styles, forms and colour to give an idea of the exoticism at the end of the 19th century.”

The Pavilion of India
The Restored Pavilion of India 
The small building features beautiful carved wood, painted ceiling panels, amazing windows, colonial era paintings, and most noticeably domes covered with 10,000 gold foils. The brick addition once again houses an artist in residence and her works.

If you want to visit this piece of colonial history, you must reserve a place as only 15 people at a time are allowed to tour the building. To do this, call 01 71 05 77 92.

For more information, here is the official page (at the moment): It's in French so you may want to translate it.

You'll find the schedule for visits as well as amazing photos and a video (in French) about the renovation project.

Need more information about planning your trip to Paris, visit ParisMadeSimple.

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