Visits today brought back memories of working on the Buffalo Architectural Guidebook. We went in search of contemporary architecture, starting with an old favorite right in our neighborhood, L'Institut du Monde Arabe. The day was just bright enough to make most of the solar screens close up and to allow Peter to get this neat photo looking through to the Pantheon and Montparnasse in the distance.
From the austere elegance of the Monde Arabe we moved on to the gargantuan Bibliotheque de France. The central courtyard was planted with natural undergrowth and trees three-stories high, and since people weren't allowed in this forest, it felt like something out in the wilderness, a powerful contrast to the rectangle of four L-shaped towers making up the building around it. Across the entire front of the library was the largest set of stairs we ever saw, like huge bleachers from which to view the Seine.
Crossing the river from the Bibliotheque, our final stop was Frank Gehry's American Center, sadly vacant and in need of cleaning, but with the wonderful curves and intersections seeming to foretell later buildings like Bilbao. Hopefully plans to reopen it as a museum for world cinema will be successful because it has a fabulous setting right on the edge of Parc de Bercy.