La Cité du Vin
What is your assessment of the Cité du Vin after one year since its opening? LC:
The Cité du Vin has well and truly took off in terms of visitors. In 2016 alone- so that’s during its first seven months- there were almost 270,000 visitors, and that’s just in the parts which are open to paying visitors. Then you have to add on the free-to-access areas (the shop, the reading room, the gardens, etc.) and the restaurants. We are especially pleased that the public has taken not only to the Cité’s permanent attractions, but to the workshops, conferences, debates and shows that we offer as well.
Among the various attractions that are on offer at the Cité, how should visitors organise their time? LC:
Everybody has their interests, and the Cité is designed with this in mind. Exploring the building, visiting its main attraction and its belvedere can easily be done in half a day. Nevertheless, the fact that there are 10 hours of content explains why the annual subscription can be useful; it allows you to come and go as you please, while giving you privileged access to our cultural events. If you have a whole day to fill then there is always the option of a workshop and taking a moment to relax in the restaurants or the wine bar, and that’s just an example.
How do you find ways of renewing the cultural aspect of the Cité? LC:
Temporary exhibitions are one of the pillars of the cultural policy of the Cité du Vin, they are what allow us to regularly renew our cultural offering. Until 21st June 2017, the exhibition ‘Bistrot! De Baudelaire à Picasso’ has approximately one hundred works on show that mix paintings, photography, drawings, cinema and literature. Every one of them evokes the place of bistros and cafés in our way of life and artistic creation since the end of the 18th century. Theses places were frequented and represented by the greatest artists, painters, writers, filmmakers. They were places of modernity, ones where the ideas of friendship, love and freedom blossomed.
Thirteen years after designing then running the Musée des arts du cognac, Laurence Chesneau-dupin, a heritage conservationist, now manages the cultural side of the Cité du Vin. She is very enthusiastic in her assessment of the cultural centre’s first year, which has been crowned by the launch of a large exhibition, ‘Bistrot! De Baudelaire à Picasso’ (“Bistro! From Baudelaire to Picasso”); she directed the curation of the exhibition.