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Paris is in a class of its own. The city still remembers the time when it was the center of gravity for artists across Europe and the birthplace of such avant-garde movements as impressionism, fauvism, cubism or surrealism. The thought of impoverished artists living, working and partying with their peers in Montmartre and Montparnasse, supported by art dealers and prosperous art patrons, still evokes a romantic image of bohemian life.

When Paris lost its position as the leading art city to New York, after the Second World War, the art scene in the city on the Seine became much quieter. Until recently, the image most art lovers had of Paris was dominated by classics like the Louvre, and not fresh hip contemporary art. But today Paris has a surprising amount to offer of the work of living artists. This is not only due to the many top-class galleries, but in particular to the FIAC International Contemporary Art Fair, which reestablished Paris as a global player in this field.

Museums & Exhibition Spaces

The following listing appears in alphabetical order. Museums or Collections which the first time visitor should not miss are marked with ***.

Centre Georges Pompidou***
Centre Georges Pompidou Conceived by former president Georges Pompidou, the Centre is a multifunctional cultural institution: it houses one of the most extensive collections of European modern and contemporary art, a vast public library, a cinema, concert halls and a research institute for music and sound (IRCAM).

The eye-catching building was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. Supporting structures - ventilation, plumbing, electrical and safety systems - are not hidden as usual, but are moved to the outside of the building to form a striking feature of the external architecture. The functional distinction between the various elements is accentuated by their contrasting primary colours.
Location: Main entrance: Place Georges Pompidou, Paris (map)

Architect Renzo Piano also recreated Brancusi’s studio on one side of the Place Georges Pompidou, in front of the Centre. Originally, Brancusi’s studio was located near Montparnasse. In accordance with the artist's wish, the interior of the studio has been reproduced in every detail. Visitors can see the sculptures, photographs, and the tools as the artist left them.

Jeu de Paume
Jeu de Paume
Jeu de Paume is a renowned exhibition space for photography, video and film from the 19th to the 21st century. On display are works by established artists (Richard Avedon, Martin Parr, Robert Frank, Lee Miller...) as well as new talent (Mario García Torres, Denis Savary, Cyprien Gaillard...).

Jeu de Paume is located in the Tuilleries (northwest end), on the rue de Rivoli side, overlooking the Place de la Concorde.

Location: 1 place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris (map)

Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
This museum has a permanent collection of works by the Fauvists, Cubists, Surrealists, and the School of Paris. Modern art, contemporary art and its latest trends complete the collection. In addition, significant temporary exhibitions are regularly hosted. The museum is also known for monumental works by Matisse (two “dance” triptychs) and Raoul Dufy (large mural, “The Electricity Fairy”)

Location: 11 avenue du Président Wilson 75116 Paris (map)

Musée Auguste Rodin***
Musée Auguste Rodin The Rodin Museum brings together a collection of Rodin’s sculptures, sketches and photographs, as well as sculptures by his former pupil and later mistress Camille Claudel. Also exhibited are works of art and items of furniture which Rodin collected himself.

Among many other sculptures, visitors can admire such iconic works as The Thinker, The Kiss, The Age of Bronze, The Walking Man, Burghers of Calais, Balzac, and of course the Gates of Hell which was cast after Rodin’s death.

The vast collection is housed in a beautiful - chateau-like - building (Hotel Biron) surrounded by a garden. Rodin bequeathed his collection to the state and it was at his wish that the Rodin Museum was set up in the Hotel Biron. Today the Rodin Museum is one of the most popular museums in France.

Location: 79 Rue de Varenne 75007 Paris, (map)

Musée du Louvre***
Musée du Louvre This museum, with over sixty thousand square meters (15 acres) of display space, houses an immense collection of superb works of art spanning ten thousand years of world culture, from ancient civilizations of the Near East through Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman works to 19th century European art.

The most prominent work of art is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. This priceless painting with a size of only 77x53 cm (2'6x1'9) is protected by thick bulletproof glass and security guards. With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre the most visited museum worldwide.

Location: Palais-Royal / musée du Louvre 75001 Paris (map)

Musée National Picasso
The Picasso Museum mainly exhibits works from its vast collection of paintings, drawings, ceramics and sculptures created or collected by Pablo Picasso. The core of the collection was established by “dations” - donations of some of the artist's most important works, by his heirs, in fulfilment of inheritance tax.
The Museum is currently closed for renovation and will reopen in 2012.

Location: 5, rue de Thorigny 75003 Paris (map)

Musée de l´Orangerie
The Musée de l'Orangerie is best known for the Nymphes - Monet’s large scale paintings of Water Lilies ( Nympheas). The works are installed in two oval rooms on the ground floor and give the visitor the impression of being in free nature - in Monet’s garden in Giverny.

The Museum also has another impressive group of works to offer: the Walter-Guillaume Collection including paintings by Renoir, Cézanne, Derain, Soutine, Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse.

Location: Place de la Concorde, Jardin Des Tuileries 75001 Paris (map)

Musée d´Orsay***
Musée d´Orsay This museum was established in 1986 in the elegant late 19th century former Orsay railway station. On display are collections of mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914.

The collection encompasses paintings, sculptures, photographs, graphic, decorative arts and architecture, and is best known for its large collection of impressionist and post impressionist paintings.

The collection includes many works which are known worldwide, among them Eduard Manet’s Olympia (1863) and Luncheon on the Grass (1863), Gustave Courbet’s Origin of the World (1866) and James Mcneill Whistler’s portrait of the artist’s mother, commonly known as Whistler's Mother (1871).

Location: 62 Rue de Lille, 75007 Paris (map)

Private Collections

Gallery Areas

The galleries of Paris are concentrated in the Marais, Saint Germain des Prés and Matignon areas. The picturesque streets of Marais or Saint Germain des Prés are an open invitation to art enthusiasts to stroll around and make their own discoveries.

Marais - Many internationally known galleries can be found in the streets around the Centre Pompidou (map)

Saint Germain des Prés - Between the École des Beaux Arts, Quai de Conti and Boulevard Saint Germain (map)

Matignon - In the Avenue Matignon, Rue du Fabourg Saint-Honoré and Rue Miromesnil (map)


ArtVista Art Travel Guide

Selected Events

Selected Galleries
Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery Frank Elbaz Gallery Chantal Crousel Gallery Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery Claudine Papillon Gallery Nathalie Obadia Gallery
Auction Houses
Christies Drouot Sotheby's Tajan