90 IN THE SHADE

In Paris, summer seems to bring canicules or heat waves. They spur a special city brigade into action: knocking on doors to check up on those who live alone, bringing them water, fruit juice and fans.

For early mornings and evenings, however, there’s another strategy. That’s to seek some shade of the city’s parks and gardens, like the Sénat’s Jardin du Luxembourg.

When hot weather continues, such spots stay open all night. But the early hours are most refreshing. At least according to several older gents who like a round of chess – or the little dogs out getting a break from their oven-like homes.

• The Jardin du Luxembourg is currently open from 7:30 am until 9:30 pm

THE BEST BLING

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What artist made the best bling in Paris? If you had asked Louis XV or Louis XVI, both might have answered, “Pierre Gouthière“. Gouthière, who lived from 1732-1813, was their favourite goldsmith. A “chaser and gilder”, he worked exclusively for the rich and famous.

The stunning show now at Les Arts Décoratifs combines Gouthière’s work with tributes by modern artists.

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As one of the early pioneers of interior decoration, he made those trendy items royals had to have. but also his hectic life. Included are the warrant for his arrest in the Revolution and the persuasive letter which succeeded in saving his life.

There are three-foot tall books filled with designs for Versailles, ingenious early clocks and delicate gold flowers made for Marie Antoinette. She was a fan – who haunted the estate sales if any Gouthière patron died.

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Best of all is one commission from Louis XV: the gold doorknob which let him into Madame Du Barry’s bedroom.

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Photos 3 and 5 are modern pieces created for the show by Gonzague Mézin, the director of Maison Lignereux

Or Virtuose à la Cour de France (Pierre Gouthière) runs until 25 June at Les arts Décoratifs

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MAGNUM!

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Inge Morath/Magnum; masks by artist Saul Steinberg, New York; 1959-1962

The daredevil men and women of Magnum Photos record historic moments and leave iconic images. This year, their famous agency marks a seventh decade and it’s celebrating with an archive exposition.

The work on show was shot between 1947 and 1977. Although it has famous images, many a photo here has never seen before. It covers two floors, with shots signed by Cornell and Robert Capa, Marc Riboud, David Seymour, Bruno Barbey, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Susan Meiselas and more.

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Bruno Barbey/Magnum; barricade made with marquee, May ’68 in Paris

In a quick-and-dirty digital age, the works are oddly moving. For one thing, each picture serves a larger narrative: an event, social change – even revolution. Every set is shown with thoughts from its photographer. More often than not, they agonize over the task.

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Ian Berry/Magnum; Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 1971

Which isn’t to say the artists agree; their views cover the waterfront, too. Some strive terrifically to maintain an “objective” eye. Others, like Robert Capa, insist no-one reflects conflict without choosing a side. All their views are measured – and they’re all fascinating.

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Leonard Freed/Magnum; PR agency, Manhattan, 1966

Equally interesting is how the work stays bound to its moment. Not a shot in the show is badly framed and some are breathtaking. But each is freighted with the weight of its specific happening… and every shot finds some way to give that happening dignity.

Maybe it’s because their makers really pondered the task at hand. Maybe because they agonized over what photography meant. Whatever, even though they now look small and somber, these dated prints have something unique.

Immediate our current digital landscape may be. Yet, in terms of gravitas, it really can’t compete.

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Susan Meiselas/Magnum; young rebels in Nicaragua, 1978

• The show, Magnum Analog Recovery, runs through at Le Bal in Paris

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Henri Cartier Bresson/Magnum; unemployed young man, Germany, 1952