• Pauline Chardin in Brazil, wearing Tory’s Clemente one-piece

  • “The vegetation provides an unparalleled setting for the art at Inhotim”

  • “The surreal presence of Hélio Oiticica’s giant installation”

  • “You can actually swim in Jorge Macchi’s pool installation, a feature I’ve only seen in Brazil!”

  • ”Inhotim also organizes botanic tours and has an incredible orchid greenhouse”

  • Chardin lounging in Tory’s Terry tunic

  • “Concrete and tropical vegetation at the University of Brasília”

  • ”The art on display at Itamaraty Palace adds a lot to the place”

  • “The stairs at Itamaraty left me speechless”

  • Brasília: “The view from the top of the Digital TV Tower, with the Eixo Monumental Avenue in the middle”

“Trips to Brazil often revolve around Rio and its surroundings, along with the very famous Iguazu Falls. Being an art and architecture fan, I envisioned a slightly different itinerary. I put at the top of my list the utopia-turned-city of Brasília and Inhotim, a contemporary art park lost in the middle of the state of Minas Gerais.  

“This was a bold choice since none of these places are really touristy, but the outcome was way above my expectations. This gave me the opportunity to see a totally different face of Brazil. It was a thrilling experience to walk in the steps of visionaries in both these places.” — Pauline Chardin, Founder of travel blog The Voyageur

My Must-See List for Brasília

Itamaraty Palace
To me this building is the crown jewel of the city. It really brings together Niemeyer’s modernism and Brazil’s inherent sensuality. The staircase of the main hall is simply one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen! Send an e-mail ahead to book a visit, and if you’re lucky, like us, it will end up being a private one.

Sanctuary of Dom Bosco
Lesser known than the Cathedral of Brasília but far more impressive, I believe, this incredible building has a myriad of blue-stained glass windows that create an out-of-this-world light inside.

University of Brasília
If you’d like to know how it feels to study among brutalist buildings and lush tropical vegetation, this is definitely a must. It’s a more lived-in vision of the city’s modernity and a very unique place.

Digital TV Tower
I’m generally not too crazy about viewpoints, but in the case of Brasília and its one-of-a-kind plane-shaped plan, this is something you don’t want to miss. Go up the tower and take a minute to try to fathom how unreal the city is.

Cláudio Santoro National Theater
One of the many Niemeyer buildings on Eixo Monumental Avenue, the National Theater has a striking neo-Egyptian look that will have you wondering where on Earth you might be.

My Must-See List for Inhotim

Inhotim park is pretty much a tropical Eden with turquoise lakes, orchids, giant flowers and every shape of leaves you could imagine. This is definitely more a garden than a forest, which seems rather miraculous when you consider the size of the place. Works of art and galleries are scattered in the middle of all that beauty, creating a privileged dialogue between art and nature.

There are many things to see, but here are my favorites:

Galeria Adriana Varejão
Galeria Cildo Meireles
Galeria Cristina Iglesias
Jorge Macchi, Piscina
Hélio Oiticica’s Invenção da cor, Penetrável Magic Square # 5, De Luxe, 1977
Edgard de Souza, Sem Titulo

I hope this will inspire you to venture a little bit inland. And once it’s done, remember you’re just a short flight away from lying on golden sand in Trancoso, Bahia, another true Brazilian delight….

Follow Pauline Chardin at The Voyageur on Twitter and Instagram.

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Photographed by Pauline Chardin

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