Make a Cultural Pilgrimage
Most travelers are willing to go that extra mile to see something remarkable. But art and architecture enthusiasts are in their own league. Just for them: four of-the-moment, if rarefied, cultural destinations well worth the legwork.
You've Made It!
Le Corbusier's masterpiece, the concrete Church of Saint-Pierre, with a towering truncated roof outfitted with three light cannons, wasn't completed until 2006, some four decades after his death. The section designed for parish activities is now a Le Corbusier mini museum. Nonprofit group Le Corbusier de Firminy leads visitors on guided tours of key sites (including a look at the private Unité d'Habitation roof garden).
sitelecorbusier.com, guided tours from $7.
WHAT: Instituto Inhotim
WHERE: Brumadinho, Brazil
A 3,000-acre park in southeastern Brazil's mining country, Inhotim is leading Latin American collector Bernardo Paz's quasi-utopian experiment in art appreciation. Located nearly 300 miles inland from Rio, the complex is half museum, half green space, filled with botanical gardens, eucalyptus forests, and 15 pavilions showcasing Paz's extraordinary post-1960s holdings.
Fly from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo to Belo Horizonte (the capital of Minas Gerais), a one-hour flight via Tam Airlines (tam.com.br, from $153 round trip). From there, catch a bus (Saturday and Sunday only, saritur.com.br, $15) or arrange for private transport via Pampulha Turismo (011-55/31-3057-1111, pampulhaturismo.com.br, $110) for the 75-minute ride to Inhotim, in the town of Brumadinho. Stay nearby at the 16-suite Pousada Fazenda Nova Estância, which has $11 daily van rides to the park (pousadafazendanovaestancia.com.br, from $103).
You've Made It!
Rare tropical plants and five ornamental lakes provide the setting for large-scale installations by Chris Burden, Olafur Eliasson, Jorge Macchi, and Hélio Oiticica. The grounds are meant to give meaningful context to—and call into question—art's relationship with its environment. But the backdrop isn't just for looks: A team of on-site scientists and conservationists also works to preserve rare plants like elephant foot trees and cycad palms from Brazil's Atlantic Forest and tropical savanna.
inhotim.org.br, open Thursday–Sunday, admission $6.