Laurent Le Bon, former director of the Centre Pompidou Metz, returns to Paris, his native city, to take up the chairmanship of the Picasso Museum.
Situated in the heart of the Marais, the museum is due to open to the public on 25 October 2014 after 5 years of work. Visitors will be able to rediscover all the wealth of the work and the genius of the artist Pablo Picasso.
Musée Picasso Paris, Hôtel Salé, 5, rue de Thorigny, Paris 3rd
Unique collection composed of 5,000 pieces by Pablo Picasso, personal archives, and his own collection of works (Matisse, Cézanne, Le Douanier Rousseau, etc.)
Parisinfo.com : Your first Parisian memory ? Your first Parisian memory?
Laurent Le Bon : The Jardin de Bagatelle. Fate would have it that it was there that I learned how to walk.
The monument which in your eyes is most symbolic of Paris?
Without any sense of originality, the Eiffel Tower. But especially because of the fact that such a building has survived. It should be remembered that originally it was a temporary project for the World Fair
A new place that you would recommend?
An about-turn, but unequivocally, the musée national Picasso. It is anything but new, however as this institution is being born again it deserves to be revisited.
The first piece of advice you would give to a friend from abroad visiting Paris?
Don’t be influenced by preconceptions. Paris is full of them.
The best district to live in in Paris?
I would say Greater Paris, this famous 21st arrondissement vital to the future of Paris.
A place in Paris where you would not think that you were in Paris?
The Petite Ceinture, especially where the rails have been taken up. You then really have the impression that you are in a completely wild setting.
Your favourite time of day in Paris?
At nightfall, to try and catch that green ray, which of course is not visible in Paris, except for in our imagination.
A favourite address for dinner for two …
At the moment, I particularly like the restaurant Saturne. A good compromise between the traditional bistro and culinary innovation.
Are you more … Left Bank or Right Bank?
Both, because I’ve spent all my life crossing the Seine.
Are you more Louvre or Palais de Tokyo?
Pass! I’ve been too involved in nominations in these institutions to answer.
The height of elegance in Paris … ?
An hôtel particulier (town house), for the capacity of this model of architecture to transcend the ages.
Do you like to walk in Paris?
Yes, very much. It seems to me a city that is perfectly suited to this way of getting around.
A song or film that immediately evokes Paris?
I am more of a morning person, therefore without hesitation: the song, Il est 5 heures, Paris s’éveille, by Jacques Dutronc.
A sentence which for you best sums up Paris?
It is not by me but by Balzac: ‘Paris est un véritable océan. Jetez-y une sonde, vous n’en connaitrez jamais la profondeur.’ (Paris is a veritable ocean. You may try, but you will never be able to plumb its depths).
And Paris in one word… ?
Quite simply the word city, because I believe that it is THE number one city.
Interviewed by Olivier Reneau