In hindsight, it’s all quite obvious. When Barkitecture visited Paris, a little bird whispered in our ear the truth about the future of the Quai Branly Museum.
Locating the “museum” in the 7th arrondissement was a brilliant stroke. It lies near the tourist heavy Champs de Mars, home of the Eiffel Tower. Yet, the arrondissement has also been home to the French upper class since the 17th century.
The building complex sits around and above a garden which fills the site. The garden is largely protected from the street, with a three-story glass wall facing the Seine, and a moat facing the small street to the south. The guests can enjoy the peaceful greenery at their leisure. There’s a sunken auditorium in the garden for shows when it’s warm. There are more stages in the lower level for magic acts, and Wayne Newton, or perhaps Johnny Hallyday.
Several buildings make up the museum complex. The outer buildings could easily be converted to hotels. There’s the now-famous wall facing the Quai, all covered in vegetation, which is just one side of a narrow building that is more suited to guest suites than offices. Then there’s the small glass building on the south-west corner of the property, which could offer much quieter rooms.
It’s the main building though, where it is clearly a big gambling hall in the waiting. It looks like a tanker with shipping containers poking out of its side, and could be reminiscent of a gambling cruise ship. It’s dark, mysterious, and even has a theme. Vegas has proven that theme casinos work very very well.
As it is with the museum, most casinos have their tables spread out on a single floor. All one would need to do here is replace the display stands with black jack, craps and roulette tables.
There are two mezzanine levels which would easily accommodate the high-rollers.
How this all came to be is a question outside the purview of this journal. One could speculate that Chirac foresaw the troubles with the Euro, but knew that until that happened, he would only be able to convince his constituents that a new cultural institution would be worth their investment. Once his successor deems it necessary to raise funds to support the French economy, he will be able to host an international crowd of movers and shakers in the delirious James Bond-like world of his own making.