Two of my friends live in a Haussmannian duplex overlooking Fondation Louis Vuitton. Last year, they called it an abomination, but now that it's open, I think they really like it. Nearby residents may have objected to Frank Gehry-pocked purlieus, but the way they dressed for the inauguration, lingered in the galleries, and snapped nonstop photos belies overwhelming enthusiasm. "We pulled my son out of school... I used a vacation day for this," confessed one mom. I once heard (from my Parisian husband and friends) that Parisians never come out and say when they like something. On the contrary, they disparage it, pretending not to care while secretly being totally enamored. It's part of the affected nonchalance by which we identify the species.
The museum features exclusive installations by Olafur Eliasson, Gerhard Richter, Isa Genzken, Ellsworth Kelly, Thomas Schutte, Cerith Wyn Evans, Adrian Villar Rojas, and more. I'm kind of a simpleton when it comes to art, but there was nothing I didn't like. The pieces didn't require a page of explanation filled with phrases like "gleeful ascetism" and "freewheeling anti-capitalism." Everything was colorful, beautiful, interesting, and easily appreciated. It's worth the trek to Boulogne for the diverse and well-presented collection alone, but Le Frank, the Fondation restaurant, is similarly spectacular. Transparent, reflective fish hang suspended from a light-filled atrium with vintage Louis Vuitton trunks affixed to the walls. I even met the man himself, Frank Gehry, today. In the amusingly xenophobic tone of another era, he asked if I was "that Oriental from the Guardian," and walked away.