• David Bowie Descends on Paris

    by  • March 2, 2015 • City Breaks, Exhibitions, Music, Paris

    Combine a City Break in Paris with the Creative Musical Genius of Bowie.

    Dedicated followers of the Cities Direct blog site may recall that last year, I wrote about the phenomenal ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition as it arrived in the German capital on the latest leg of its worldwide tour. Berlin and Chicago done, the exhibition has now returned back to Europe and opens its doors tomorrow (March 3rd) at the Philharmonie de Paris, encompassing the former Cité de la Musique as of the beginning of 2015.

    Today part of the musical powerhouse that is the Philharmonie de Paris, the Musée de la Musique is world renowned for its collection and presentation of over 7,000 musical instruments and artistic objects, with over 1,000 on show in the permanent collection halls. Paying testament to centuries of musical instruments from all four corners of the globe, the museum presents a history of Western music from the 17th century to the present day as well as an overview of the main musical cultures of the world. Indeed the rich and varied collection includes a piano once belonging to Chopin, as well as a guitar formerly owned by Brassens.

    Complementing this fascinating historical musical overview is the Philharmonie’s programme of temporary exhibitions and the ‘David Bowie is’ offering explores “one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times”. This fascinating international retrospective seeks to uncover how, in addition to being a prolific force in the world of music for the past five decades, David Bowie’s work has both influenced and been influenced by the world of contemporary culture – art, design and theatre in particular.

    Focussing on his creative processes, the exhibition retraces Bowie’s career from the early days of David Robert Jones and his time as an artist in London, through to the globally-renowned iconic superstar known today as David Bowie and revered the world over. Presenting over 300 objects directly associated with this icon of popular music, from original costumes, set designs and photographs to handwritten lyrics, album artwork and rare performance material, visitors and loyal fans will be able to immerse themselves in the weird and wonderful world of Bowie. There’s some 60 stage costumes on display (including the iconic Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit) as well as music videos, film and concert clips and a wealth of photographs by Herb Ritts, Terry O’Neill and Brian Duffy, amongst many others. Diary entries, notes, unpublished storyboards, handwritten set lists, song lyrics and drawings complement further this unique collection of memorabilia.

    Not complete with presenting a visual retrospective to Bowie, the Philharmonie de Paris is also offering a musical homage to this legendary artist, with special events taking place throughout the exhibition’s duration (March 3rd to May 31st). In its opening week for example, ‘And then I asked Christian to play the intro to Ziggy Stardust’, a cross-genre show combining both music and theatre, offers “an exhilarating exploration of the Bowie phenomenon”, whilst Philippe Decouflé’s WieBo is a big glam rock celebration of the multi-faceted Bowie legend.

    Closed Mondays, the exhibition is open from 12pm until 8pm from Tuesday to Thursday, 10am until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 10am until 8pm on Sundays. Entrance to the exhibition costs 12€ (6€ for those aged 26 or under, or free for under six).


    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.