Atelier des Lumières
L'Atelier des Lumières offers immersive sight-and-sound exhibitions in a former Parisian foundry. It's a delightful experience for adults and children alike.
In April, 2018, the ("Studio of Light") opened in Paris. The arts space, located in a repurposed 19th Century foundry, uses 120 digital projectors and 50 strategically-placed speakers to present immersive exhibitions based on the works of famous artists from the past and today's digital creators.
We attended the opening exhibition, which included three programs: Gustav Klimt, Hundertwasser: In the Wake of the Viennese Succession, and Poetic_AI. The first two programs incorporated paintings by two celebrated Viennese artists of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, while the latter was a short work that was generated by an AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm.
What to expect:
When you arrive at the Atelier, you'll either buy tickets or proceed past the ticket counter to the auditiorium's entrance, where you'll hold your printed ticket or a PDF ticket on your smartphone against a scanner.
Once you're admitted, you'll go through an airlock-style set of doors into the darkened interior, where the programs run continuously throughout the day and evening.
Although your ticket will specify an entry time, you can stay as long as you wish. We spent about an hour and a half inside the auditorium, watching each program twice.
The auditorium is simply a large space, with a handful of jogs and circles plus a staircase that leads up to a mezzanine. You can walk around, sit on the floor, or lie down if you'd like. We even saw a small group of elementary-school girls dance as they crossed the room.
The video projection moves around the walls and floors, so you'll see each program in its entirety regardless of where you wander.
Upstairs, there's a bar (which was closed during our visit) and a mezzanine overlook with seating along the edge. You'll also see a couple of pools from the old foundry, with projections in the water.
Reservations and tickets:
The Atelier des Lumières is open seven days a week, with performances from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. (The ticket office closes one hour earlier.)
You can buy tickets at the door, but because only a certain number of tickets are available for each 30-minute admission time, we suggest buying tickets in advance at the Atelier des Lumières Web site. This is especially important if you plan a visit on the weekend, when the ticket office is closed altogether.
On the Atelier's Web site, click "Your Visit" and select "Tickets Online." You'll be able to see how many tickets are available for each performance.
Once you have your tickets in PDF format, you can print them out or save on your smartphone for scanning at the venue.
Reaching the Atelier des Lumières:
The Atelier is at 38 Rue Saint-Maur in the 11th arrondissement, near three Métro stops and four bus lines. For more information, see "Getting to the Atelier des Lumières" on the official Web site's Practical Information page.
BELOW: The Atelier des Lumières is on the Rue Saint-Maur, a few blocks south of the Avenue de la République and west of the Père Lachaise Cemetery in the 11th arrondissement.
BELOW: The Atelier's lobby has labels (in French and English) about the current shows and the history of the foundry, which opened in 1835. You'll also find toilets down the hall.
BELOW: Girders, pools, and other structural elements from La Fonderie du Chemin-Vert are incorporated into the performance space.
BELOW: The most ambitious of the Atelier's opening works was Gustav Klimt. (April 13 - November 11, 2018.)
BELOW: A visitor took photos during Poetic_AI, a contemporary creation. (April 13 - August 31, 2018.)
You're welcome to shoot pictures and video with your camera or smartphone, but flash is forbidden.
BELOW: Hundertwasser, in the Wake of the Vienna Succession was another program in the Atelier's opening exhibition.
BELOW: After the performance, be sure to visit the Atelier's bookstore and gift shop. (We wished they'd sold the leather foundry aprons worn by the staff.)
Video of L'Atelier des Lumière's opening exhibitions:
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