I first went to the French architecture museum in Paris when I was 20. One of my best friends had visited a few months before as part of his architecture degree. He’d sent me a postcard which lived on my university bedroom wall, so the museum already seemed familiar. I spent an entire happy day wandering in and out of the gigantic halls, astounded by architectural feats, the permanence of everything.
Immediately it became one of my favourite museums. There’s such a sense of calm there being surrounded by the huge windows that overlook the Eiffel Tower and gardens. The atmosphere is part museum, part library and part reverential sacred space. I’m not sure if it’s the enormity of the building or the many casts of churches and cathedrals, but it’s quite unlike any other museum I’ve visited. Old buildings always fascinate me; what would they say if they could talk? What have they seen? Who have they known? Did the hands that built them know they would be remembered in hundreds of years time? Commemorated, examined by artists and dreamers?
So of course on our most recent and magical trip to Paris I took my friends. We wandered around in silence, speaking quietly in hushed tones so as not to disturb the ancient buildings. And I left with that same sense of wonder, of reverence and of sketching out ideas that might outlast me. Outside the feeling continued on the square tiles of the Trocadero, laid down hundreds of years before, and the “temporary” structure of the Eiffel Tower posing in the background.