No other city sparks our imagination or stirs our passions more than Paris. It would be easy to spend all our time marvelling at the architecture and gardens, strolling through the Marais eating croissants, and drinking red wine into the early hours of the mornings. But no trip to the City of Lights is complete with a visit to one of the city’s numerous art galleries. Here, we list some of our favourites.
Musée de L’Orangerie
The Orangerie exemplifies the importance of how art is displayed as much as the artwork itself. The drawing card of the Musee D’Orsay’s petite, modern offshoot is the display of Nymphéas (Water Lilies) - Claude Monet’s masterpiece. In twin pristine white oval rooms, Monet’s paintings softly hug the gentle curves of the walls, enveloping the viewer in his extraordinary study of light and colour. Downstairs in the museum’s subterranean bunker, you’ll find works by post-impressionist artists such as Modigliani, but Monet’s work is a tough act to follow. No visit to the Orangerie is complete without a subsequent walk through the Tuileries to really let your mind absorb Monet’s genius way with colour and light.
Pablo Picasso reportedly once said “Give me a museum and I’ll fill it”. Regardless of whether he did say this or not, fill a museum he has. The Musée Picasso displays Picasso’s almost absurd levels of creative output with over 400 individual works. Included in the mix is a smattering of work by his favourite artists including Chardin, Degas, Cézanne, Gauguin, Braque, Miró, Matisse and Henri Rousseau. The Baroque 17th Century mansion that houses the collection is one of Paris’s most beautiful, and each room is a portal into a different crevice of his extraordinary mind. A carefully curated gift shop creates an elegant conclusion to an experience well worth an entire afternoon.
Housed within the Hôtel Biron - a jewel of Parisian rocaille architecture built between 1727 - 1732- the Musée Rodin is one of the most popular galleries in Paris. It’s not hard to see why, given the chance to explore the immaculate gardens and over 300 works on display. But for us, it’s the joy of seeing Rodin’s prodigious abilities with sculpture and his prolific drawings first hand that draws us back each time we are here. Also on display are paintings by Eugène Carrière, Vincent Van Gogh, Auguste Renoir, and Claude Monet. Inspiration at large.
Palais de Tokyo
We have to say it: after a few days, the sheer volume of classical artwork in Paris can be overwhelming. Humming with the electric energy of Paris’s undeniable creative spirit, a visit to the contemporary Palais de Tokyo provides just the reprieve needed in order to stay engaged. Palais de Tokyo is the largest centre for contemporary artistic creation in Europe. Emerging and established artists in performance art, fashion, craft and more are championed through thematic and monographic exhibitions. Trailblazing in its commitment to the avant garde, the Palais de Tokyo is playful, provocative, and infinitely interesting.
A visit to the Palais Galliera expels any doubt that fashion truly is art. A museum dedicated to preserving and displaying fashion from the 18th Century right through to present day, the collections on display champion the power of fashion as a reflection of society, as a cultural touchstone, and as an evocative and emotionally charged exploration of creativity. From Comme Des Garcons to Vivienne Westwood, to the exuberance of 18th Century clothing, each piece helps to highlight the ways in which fashion touches us all, ties our memories together, and acts as a conduit for our own personal story.