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As you may have guessed (you old sleuth you), the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris is dedicated to the designer behind one of haute couture’s legendary labels, YSL. Enshrined in his former couture house, the stories in the museum surround both Yves Saint Laurent’s life and the works he produced under his eponymous label for over 40 years. They’re well worth hearing; especially if you love your threads.
Run by Cultival Tours, this out-of-hours museum tour jazzes up the sartorial retrospect even more, with meatier anecdotes and greater behind-the-scenes access. With an expert guide at the helm, you’ll explore the many facets of the historic couture house. Some of the best bits include viewing iconic YSL designs up close, exploring the designer’s own studio and learning how haute couture collections actually come together. Finally, fashion feels approachable.
About your guide
Culture experienced differently: this is Cultival Tours’ thing, and boy do they do it well. Over the past 14 years, Cultival guides have got behind-the-scenes tours down to a fine art, telling the stories you don’t hear about Paris’ iconic sites.
Here’s the plan…
You’ll start this tour just as Yves Saint Laurent’s clients did when they arrived for fittings. Enter through the original front door of the couture house, and explore the exquisite salons leading directly on from the hallway. Then, you’ll get straight into it with a viewing of Yves Saint Laurent’s most avant-garde designs. On display are the tuxedo jacket, the Saharienne, the trench coat and the legendary jumpsuit – all pieces that redefined the way women dressed for decades.
On to the rest of the museum. The Musée Yves Saint Laurent holds various, ever-changing retrospectives on the designer. His influences, life story and inspirations are documented through original notes and sketches, videos and voice overs, and mannequins and photographs. You’ll be able to peek through the collection boards, workshops sheets and other bits and bobs that brought his designs to life through the years. More than that, the exhibitions also speak of the history of fashion and the pivotal style moments of the past century. Naturally, your guide will share a thousand and one anecdotes along the way too.
Of course, the best is saved till last. The crème de la crème of this tour comes close to the end of the experience, when your guide takes you through to Yves Saint Laurent’s own studio. This is where every collection from the couture house was first envisaged.
You’ll end the tour among artwork that inspired the designer throughout his life. Take the time out to view pieces from Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh and Henri Matisse, and hopefully a little of this designer’s creative genius will rub off (no guarantees though).
Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (On Selected dates only)Duration
1 hour & 15 minutesStart time
Tour start times vary between 9am-10.30am on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings.
You’ll find the tour group just outside the Musée Yves Saint Laurent (3 rue Léonce Reynaud - 75016). Park up outside ten minutes before the tour starts and scrub up nicely, if you can - this is a French couture house, after all. See you there.
The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details. They’re a nice bunch, and will happily answer any logistical questions you may have. Please give them a call at least 24 hours before your organized activity to reconfirm.
No need to print! You can show your voucher on your smartphone or other devices.
So there’s no last-minute rush please arrive at the start point 10 mins early.
This tour is not recommended for little ones under 12 years old.
The rates and other information indicated here may change at any given time according to the access conditions of the sites and their rate policy.