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Le Bal Museum in Paris

The idea to this reasonably new museum is to present the visual document in all its different forms from photography through to video, etc yet focus on world issues, different stances and ways we look at things via talks, lectures and much more.

A bit of history..

The building itself was originally home to the Chez Isis, which was a have for drinking, eating and dancing during the Roaring twenties, where people would go in droves to let their hair down.

You had the restaurant on the ground floor, a dance floor located in the basement and upstairs there was a ‘no questions asked’ hotel, but after World war II it was turned into the largest betting shop in France, which remained in place until 1992.
From then on the building remained empty and fell into a state of disrepair, that is until the innovative ideas of a few who founded the Association des Amis de Magnum Photos with the support of Magnum photographers, and they submitted their proposal to the city of Paris.

The Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe was enthusiastic about the idea, and the city of Paris purchased the building in 2006, and a competition was organised for the complete renovation, with the work finally beginning in 2008 and after only three years, it was ready to receive the public.

About Le Bal Museum in Paris

The whole concept of the Le Bal Museum in Paris is to seize every possible means like providing exhibitions, talks, publications and workshops in order to provide the public with documentary works that combine different areas such as investigation, experience, recording, analysis, description, etc.

This new museum venue was provided a mission to present the visual document in all its forms, to convey a historical notion and illustrate diverse artistic practice.  Just like Eugene Atget’s documents for artists, through to the near documentary of Jeff Wall, or the visual anthropology of Gilles Peress through to critical realism of Allan Sekula to name but a few exhibitions and themes.

You will find there are discussion sessions organised with photographers, poets and other types of artists that come from numerous different countries like Poland, Spain, etc, and themes such as Staline or Topography on War on a historical side, through to taking pictures and getting them published.  Plus, up and coming artists and photographers are also represented and provide talks about their works, plus much more.

There is also Le Bal Cafe where you can enjoy a fruit juice, tea or coffee, even Earl Grey or Darleeling along with a scone, or cake, plus they provide snack items such as sausage rolls along with soup or a main meal such as veal liver from the Correze in Limousin with sweet potatoes.  Yet one of the most popular dishes is the Oxtail and Guiness stew along with Kedgeree that was brought back from India by Scottish troops.

But there is also Le Bal Books that provides a wide choice of different publications and an international selection, that include classics, reprints, even rare and limited edition books on a diverse array of subjects and photography.

Access to Le Bal Museum in Paris

You will find Le Bal located in the 18th Arrondissement in the Montmartre area close to famous tourist attractions in Paris such as the Place du Tertre and the Moulin Rouge with its distinctive red windmill, which is a popular cabaret in Paris.

This museum is open on a Wednesday to Saturday from noon and closes at 8pm, except for on a Thursday when there is late night closing to 10pm.

On a Sunday, Le Bal is open from 11am through to 7pm, yet is always closed on a Monday and Tuesday along with certain National French holidays, and the cost of entry is €5 as of 2013.

You may also be pleased to know that the museum is accessible to people with reduced mobility, yet the nearest Metro station is the Place de Clichy stop via lines 2 and 13, or the bus numbers 54, 74 and 81 will also get you reasonably close by.

Also, Le Bal Cafe and Le Bal Books are open at the same times as this unusual museum in Paris.

Address and Contact Details

Le Bal
6 Impasse de la Defense
Ile de France

Tel: +33 (0) 1 44 70 75 56

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