Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection
2 rue de Viarmes/15 Rue du Louvre, 1st, M° Châtelet-Les Halles/Louvre-Rivoli
Open daily except Tuesdays, 11am – 7pm (Friday until 9pm)
Late opening and free access on the first Saturday of the month 5-9pm.
Entry €14, advance booking required online or onsite.
Opened in May 2021 within the completely remodeled Bourse de Commerce, the Pinault Collection is “an original and passionate perspective on art from the 1960s to the present day” from the private collection of the French billionaire businessman, François Pinault, amassed over the past 40 years.
History of the Bourse de Commerce
The Bourse de Commerce, or Commodities Exchange Building, is a unique circular building in Paris’s Les Halles district. The strange, 31m-tall freestanding column next to the building is the only surviving vestige of a 16th-century palace belonging to Queen Catherine de’ Medici that once stood here (supposedly it was used by her Italian astrologer Ruggieri to observe the stars).
It was replaced by the circular Wheat Exchange building in 1767, the Halle aux Blés. The 25 arcades of the inner facade and the magnificent double helix staircase (just like at Château de Chambord, in the Loire Valley) are all that remain from this original construction. The original wooden dome was destroyed in a fire in 1802, and replaced with the gorgeous metal and copper dome in 1812 (glass panels replaced the copper plates in 1838).
The building caught on fire again in 1854, and rebuilt to house the Paris Stock Exchange in 1889, when the panoramic fresco was commissioned from the artist Alexis-Joseph Mazerolle for the base of the dome. It portrays world trade on a massive 1400m² canvas, with symbols of technical progress alongside a rather Colonialist view of the peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia, Mediterranean Europe, the Scandinavian countries, and Russia.
In 1949 it became the Paris Chamber of Commerce, open to the public from time to time for expositions. In the late 1990s the grand fresco was restored. In 2016, the City of Paris granted François Pinault(s company a 50-year lease on the building to present his personal art collection of over 10,000 works to the public. It was completely remodeled by the Japanese architect Tadao Andō to mix the old and the new…the most striking aspect being the immense concrete “curtain” in the main hall rotunda that serves as a backdrop to the contemporary artworks.
A Museum Dedicated to Contemporary Art
“The opening of the Bourse de Commerce, a new site in the heart of Paris to display my collection, marks a new phase in the execution of my cultural project, which is to share my passion for contemporary art with the widest possible audience.” – François Pinault
François Pinault is a French billionaire born in 1936 who started his business empire in the logging industry before moving onto luxury retail with the Kering group (which owns brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and Bottega Veneta). His archrival at the head of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, opened the Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Bois de Boulogne in 2014 to show off his own personal contemporary art collection, so of course Pinault had to open his, too. Nothing like a little competition between billionaires to get some fresh new museums in Paris!
The collection features over 10,000 works by almost 400 artists: paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, audio works, installations, and performances, dating from the 1960s until today. There are ten exhibition galleries in total, including a Studio dedicated to video and audio works, an auditorium for conferences, screenings, and concerts (in the first month there are African jazz and rap concerts; tickets for these events sold separately from the museum tickets) .
The rotunda exhibit, which you can see from the mezzanines on each level above it, opened with what looks like a classic marble sculpture in its center (surrounded by a scattering of different kinds of chairs). However, this is actually a giant wax candle by the sculptor Urs Fischer that will be burned during the opening hours of the museum until the end of the exhibition (December 31st, 2021).
There are quite a few fun double-takes in the Pinault Collection, like the very real-looking pigeons (by Maurizio Cattelan) perched on the balustrade of the rotunda, or the “soft” pillows and clothing placed on chairs throughout the museum that are actually carved from marble by the artist Tatiana Trouvé.
On the second floor is an exposition completely dedicated to the human figure in different formats. The opening exhibition (called “Ouverture”, typically French double-entendre) ends on December 31, 2021.
Some things will remain the same no matter what’s showing in the galleries. Like this magnificent double helix staircase, designed when the second floor of the Halles aux Blés was used to store corn, making it easier for the workers to go up one side and down the other when carrying the heavy sacks.
Another happy surprise is the views from the windows throughout the building. Here is an interesting juxtaposition of two other contemporary wonders, the Centre Pompidou and the undulating Canopée of the Forum des Halles.
The Halle aux Graines Restaurant
A fancy art museum with an owner from the world of luxury retail isn’t going to put a snack bar in the Bourse de Commerce. Instead, we have the Halles aux Graines, a contemporary restaurant-café on the top floor run by the Bras family of Michelin-starred chefs.
There are several private dining rooms of different sizes on the right and left as you enter, and the main seating area at the far end next to the bar. Views from the windows are fabulous!
They will be serving lunch (noon-3pm; €54-98 menus), afternoon service (3-7pm; €15-22 pastries), and dinner (7:30pm-midnight, €78-98 menus). You don’t have to be a museum visitor to reserve a spot at the restaurant (there’s a separate entrance). Reservations are taken within 30 days for lunch and dinner only (afternoon service first-come, first-served). Note: if you don’t see the online reservation button in the English version of the site, look in the French version.
Some of the house branded products — gourmet chocolates, tartine spreads, vinegars, biscuits, chocolate bars — are displayed in the restaurant bar. Some are availble in the bookstore boutique.
Grains (which is also French for seeds) of all kinds are the star of the cuisine and gourmet products alike. Here, chocolates made with seeds from pumpkin , hemp, sunflower, black sesame and buckwheat.
Address: 2 rue de Viarmes/15 Rue du Louvre, 1st; M° Châtelet-Les Halles/Louvre-Rivoli
Hours: The museum is open daily except Tuesdays from 11am-7pm; until 9pm Fridays. Free entry and late opening the first Saturday of the month. Closed May 1st.
Price: Regular entry fee is €14 (€10 for 18-26 years old and students; free for kids under 18). There’s a special “Day out with Friends” rate of €50 for 5 tickets. Guided tours are an additonal €5.
Reservations: Bookings resuired, even for free entry, either online or onsite at the ticket office (see below). Lunch resrevations disappear the fastest!
Services: In addition to the top-floor restaurant-cafe, there’s also a ground level bookshop with a few gift items for sale, and free lockers to store your coat and bags.
Ticket Office: If you want to get your tickets right away (assuming there’s space) or want to reserve ahead of time in person, the ticket office is actually in a separate building across from the main entrance (see photo below), at the intersection of the Rue du Louvre and Rue Adolphe Julien. You can see on the left, behind the columns, the automatic ticket machines.
Exclusive Bonus Content for Secrets of Paris Community Members
Want to receive access to exclusive bonus content like the video of Heather’s pre-opening visit to the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection? Consider becoming a supporting member of the Secrets of Paris Community, where you get access to exclusive weekly videos and behind-the-scenes posts, as well as invitations to the monthly Q&A Zooms with Heather (and special guests). Memberships start at just €4.50/month for annual subscriptions, and help keep Secrets of Paris website and newsletter 100% ad-free! Learn more…