From the biggest museum in the world featuring the worlds most famous paintings to beautiful galleries specialising in photography and incredible street art murals, Paris offers some of the world's best art. Whether you're an avid art critic or dipping your toe into the art world, your trip to Paris won't be complete without visiting these impressive galleries and areas...2022 October 21
Paris is known as the City of Lights and the City of Love but it could well be named the City of Art too! There’s no doubt that art lovers would be left in awe in by Paris’ art scene, whether they’re strolling down the street and pass walls upon walls of street art and alternative murals, they visit a world-renowned art museum (of which there are many!) or pop into a smaller, but no less impressive, art gallery. No matter what kind of art you’re into, you’re sure to find an art gallery that is perfect for you.
Located in a former train station, visitors will first be impressed by the stunning building which houses this art museum. Nice and airy, with lots of natural light, this venue is the perfect space to display its huge art collection. The style of art on display varies, but it mostly offers artwork (in numerous forms) created in the 19th and 20th centuries, from the realist movement to impressionist and post-impressionist artwork. In fact, Musee d’Orsay presents the largest impressionist and post-impressionist collection in the world, featuring artists everyone knows and loves (even if you’re not into art, you’ll recognise these famous pieces). With ample paintings in their permanent exhibitions by Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Renoir and more, if you’re looking to see famous art in Paris, you won’t be left disappointed. Don’t forget to check out their temporary exhibitions too, as they are usually a great combination of older, more famous pieces and recent artwork that ties into the same theme. Highly recommended!
Hop across La Seine and you’ll stumble upon the famous glass pyramid that indicates that you’re at the Louvre, the biggest museum in the world and home to the famous Mona Lisa. With 4 floors of artwork, individual rooms dedicated to statues and sculptures and every style of art you can think of, the Louvre is an art lovers HEAVEN. Visitors can spend hours in the Louvre, without getting bored, and still not have seen everything. Plan your visit so that you get to tick off all the most famous masterpieces and you can explore the lesser-known pieces in your preferred style of art.
Top tip: Yes, you should definitely see the Mona Lisa, but you’ll be swallowed by a sea of phones and cameras, so take your time to explore the other collections and exhibits too!
If you’re not arted out once you’ve left the Louvre (unlikely), take a leisurely stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries, and towards the back left of the park (side nearest La Seine), you’ll find a beautiful art gallery called Musee d’Orangerie. A little smaller and less well-known that its classic counterparts, but t less impressive, this museum houses 8 of Monet’s famous Nymphéas [Water Lillies] series. These paintings were in fact created and designed by Monet for this gallery, as a gift to the state. They fall perfectly along the curved walls of the gallery and the natural lighting that pours in from the windows gives life murals life as the clouds and light above creates the impression of moving water. This museum also features many other iconic artists such as Modigliani, Picasso and Matisse and frquently holds fascinating temporary exhibitions. A visit to this gallery is a one-of-a-kind experience and will complete what we call the “artistic triangle” incorporating Musee d’Orsay, Musee d’Orangerie and the Louvre.
A bit different from the others I mentioned, The Pompidou centre, specialises in modern and contemporary art... and you can tell! Their impressive collection is housed in a once-controversial but architecturally intriguing building located in the stylish and hip neighbourhood - Le Marais. Classics are classics, whether it’s old classics such as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (as seen in the Louvre) or pieces quintessential to modern art, such as Mondrian’s famous cubist creations. The Pompidou has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe, and is second to only one other on a global scale. If you want to experience the crème-de-la-crème of modern art and the world’s most renowned contemporary art, the Pompidou Centre is a must visit.
Opening in 1997, this gallery is relatively new compared to the other art galleries mentioned in this travel guide and focuses (as the name might suggest) in photography, in all its forms. This gallery holds impressive temporary exhibitions that vary in genre and style but whose featured work always comes from world-renowned or budding photographers from around the world. Whether you’re a huge fan of photography already or are learning to appreciate this art, this museum in not one to miss.
A stone’s throw from Les Invalides and a stroll away from the Eiffel Tower, Musée Rodin is the perfect place to spend an afternoon if you’re south of La Seine. Wander around the stunning 18th century building, while admiring the beautiful architecture and the impressive collection of statues that shimmer in the sunlight that streams through the grand windows. Then, venture out into the gardens, where statues created by Rodin himself can be found. If you're a movie buff, you may also recognise the stunning gallery, as it features in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.
A mere 10-minute walk from Musée Rodin is Musée Maillol, where you can find not only the largest collection of works by Maillol, but also many masterpieces by famous artists such as Rodin, Kandinsky, Gauguin, Rousseau, Picasso, Matisse and more... The impressive permanent collection on display often goes hand in hand with amazing temporary exhibitions that shouldn’t be missed.
We understand art galleries in Paris come with a bit of a price tag, especially if you want to visit more than one. Sometimes visitors want to experience Paris’ art scene for free, which is easy to do! Let’s take a look at the best area for street art in Paris...
Known as the most artistic neighbourhoods in all of Paris, Montmartre has not only been home to but also been the inspiration of many artists over the years. The neighbourhood is alive with art to this day and, although you might want to avoid the touristy square filled with caricaturists, you can spot hidden artwork on every corner of this beautiful area as well as famous murals such as the romantic Le mur des je t’aime. The artwork here is forever changing, so take your time to explore and see the very best of Paris’ street art whether you’re visiting Paris for the first time, or the fifth.
Canal St. Denis became one of the street art hubs of Paris when, during the Euros 2016, street artists took to the walls and decorated the banks of the canal. So, the area between Parc de la Villette, through Aubervilliers and ending in Stade de France in St. Denis, acts as an open-air street art gallery. One of these art murals (Rosa Parks fait le mur) is, in fact, the longest art mural in the whole of Paris at over 500m long. If you’re into your street art, maybe even take a guided tour or a cruise along the canal to experience the artwork from a different perspective.
So, there you have it - an art lover’s guide to Paris. Whether you’re after the best art galleries in Paris or where to find the coolest street art, use this guide to help you plan your visit. If you're flying into Paris, don’t forget that you can stay at our amazingly located easyHotel Paris, which is a great gateway to the city.
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