Tours

Paris Art Galleries: A Guide to the Best Exhibitions and Hidden Gems

Paris is home to some of the world’s greatest museums and galleries. Paris is full of must-see attractions, from famous palaces to lesser-known galleries. To name just a few examples, you can find avant-garde exhibitions that cater to modern art aficionados, galleries that present art related to nature, and gorgeous homes from the 17th century that house works by notable artists.

History of the Paris Art Galleries

Paris is not only the city of love, but also the city of art. This universally adored city is known for being the art locale for famous artwork and artists for centuries. “Breathe Paris in. It nourishes the soul,” says Victor Hugo. He is right. Many world-class artists have breathed in the inspirational air of the city, producing unique artwork which has continued influencing and inspiring people today. 

Whether you would like to explore the alleys of creativity or purchase some of the marvelous works displayed in some of the best art galleries, exhibitions, and museums in Paris that we have thoughtfully picked for you, rest assured that there is something for everyone. Be it classical or contemporary, artwork of renowned artists, or hidden gems waiting to be discovered, we have thoughtfully picked the best locations for you.

Top Art Galleries in Paris

The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum in Paris

Come on now, who hasn’t heard of the Louvre? Of course it’s going to be the first place on the list, and rightfully so. The Louvre is known for being the world’s most visited museum, followed by the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. The Louvre is not only popular, but it’s also huge in size being the largest museum in the world. It’s a place where you can see the evolution of the French art culture in all its glory. Originally, the place was constructed as a fortress to protect the city from outsiders in the 12th century and has continued to expand over time. Currently, the museum is housing a collection of 480,000 works of art that spans ancient civilizations from the 6th century BC to the 19th century along with some of the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures that may be found in the Louvre. A few examples include the Mona Lisa, the Venus of Milo, the Code of Hammurabi, the Regent Diamond, and Napoleon I’s Coronation. The Louvre is also home to a collection of monumental and iconic masterpieces from Western culture.

The nearest metro stops to the art museum are Louvre Rivoli and Palais Royal Musée du Louvre. 

Musée d’Orsay

Musée d'Orsay in Paris

This globally renowned Parisian art museum is famous for its rich collection of Impressionist art. The stunning building was converted from the old Beaux-Arts Orsay railway station in the 1800s, and as you are walking around you will realize that it makes an ingenious gallery space. Due to the amazing natural light from the gigantic glass ceilings, you can enjoy the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces by painters such as Claude Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin, Berthe Morisot, Édouard Manet, Cézanne, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and more. A wide range of 19th-century sculptures is also available for its audience. Temporary and permanent art exhibitions are available. Make sure to drop by the museum’s café and enjoy a cup of coffee in this serene environment.

The nearest metro stop to the museum is Solférino station.

Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou Paris

Another must-see Paris art gallery would be the radical building for contemporary art, Centre Pompidou. Named after the French President Georges Pompidou and designed by the architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. This place is a modern art gallery and an architectural masterpiece itself. Being the richest collection of art in Europe, the museum’s exhibitions display around 120,000 works of art for its viewers to see. Here you can roam around the iconic masterpieces from famous painters such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miró, Andy Warhol, and Frida Kahlo.

Here you can find paintings as well as collections of sculptures, a film museum, a public library, a music center, an architecture and design center, and a Children’s Gallery which hosts various activities and art exhibitions for young ones interested in art. The gallery not only holds spectacular temporary and permanent art exhibitions throughout the year but also live performances such as musicals, dance, performance art, workshops, and many more. Centre Pompidou supports emerging artists and contemporary art, which empowers their creativity and productivity.

The nearest metro stop to the museum is the Etienne Marcel station.

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris

Are you a fan of impressionist art? Then you must pay a visit to the iconic Musee de l’Orangerie. Here you can discover a spectacular collection of 20th-century art by globally known artists. Be it the famous Water Lilies -Nympheas- by Claude Monet, impressionist art collections The Paul Guillaume and Jean Water Collection, mesmerizing artworks by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Amedeo Modigliani, Andre Derain, Henri Rousseau and many more! Take your time strolling around, savoring this astonishing Impressionist art gallery. There are permanent and temporary art exhibitions available to explore. 

The nearest metro stop to the museum is The Concorde station.

Musée National Rodin

Musée National Rodin in Paris

For all the sculpture lovers out there, Musee Rodin is a must-see! Dating all the way back to 1919, this art museum’s purpose was to display and preserve the artworks of the founder Auguste Rodin and famous artists who are well-known in their field of sculpture art. There are two main buildings to display the collections, Hotel Biron and Villa des Brillants in Meudon. Receiving around 700,000 yearly visitors for thousands of brilliant sculptures and other forms of art, Musee National Rodin is one of the most popular art galleries in Paris. 

Auguste Rodin- an artist himself – had an immense interest in different forms of art including paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics, and antiques which resulted in a diverse collection of these forms of art in the museum. Additionally, guests can view famous artworks by Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh in this famous art museum. 

Not just the buildings themselves but also the garden embodies magnificent pieces of art including great works of Rodin and other famous sculptures. There are separate tickets available to view the garden collection. 

The nearest metro stop to the museum is Varenne station.

Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum in Paris

Another one of the best art museums in Paris is the famous Picasso Museum. This beautiful 17th-century mansion is devoted to the works of the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, who spent most of his life creating unique artwork in France. Here are displayed 255 paintings by the iconic artist. Be it artwork from his Cubist period, Surrealist period, or “Spanish Civil War” themed paintings and sculptures, you will certainly get a deeper look into the life and mind of Picasso. The famous art museum keeps permanent and temporary art exhibitions. 

If you’re in for some shopping, you can check out the boutique of the museum across the street. You can also grab a bite at the rooftop café of the museum.

The nearest metro stop to the museum is the Saint-Paul (Le Marais) station.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris

The Louis Vuitton Foundation, designed by Frank Gehry, is a unique work of art itself. With its magnificent glass architecture, the famous art museum consists of temporary and permanent art exhibitions with 11 galleries for the visitors’ disposal. In these galleries, you can find works of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gilbert & George, Jeff Koons, and more.

The museum offers other services such as a bookshop and a restaurant too if you’re in for a nice meal. Make sure to take a stroll in the beautiful Jardin d’Acclimatation after your visit, which is right next to Fondation Louis Vuitton!

The nearest metro stop to the museum is the Les Sablons station.

Hidden Gems: Off-the-Beaten-Path Art Galleries

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature translating as Museum of Hunting and Nature is a private art museum that can be visited by metro stopping at the Rambuteau Paris Métro station. As the name suggests the theme of the art museum includes a variety of weaponry from the 16th to 19th centuries, stuffed animals, paintings about hunting and nature from historically symbolic artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Alexandre-François Desportes, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Jean Siméon Chardin, Claude-Joseph Vernet, also the contemporary artists such as Jan Fabre, and Jean-Michel Othoniel. This unique art museum is a hidden gem for curious art lovers to explore.

The nearest metro stops to the museum are Temple, Filles du Calvaire, and Rambuteau.

Atelier des Lumières

Atelier des Lumières in Paris

Unlike other museums with paintings hanging on the wall, Atelier des Lumières takes a special approach to offer art to its audience. Being the first digital and immersive art exhibition center in Paris, the guests can experience a whole different perspective on some of the most famous paintings of globally known painters such as Van Gogh.

With the venue’s spacious alleys filled with light, visitors can freely sit or explore the different digital art displayed on the floors and walls with digital projectors. The Atelier has industrial architecture due to the original structure of the building, as it was restored from a 19th-century foundry via Culturespace into a digital art center. To ensure that visitors have the best experience, the venue provides interactive areas as well.

The nearest metro stops to the museum is Rue Saint-Maur, and Père Lachaise.

Galerie Patrick Seguin

Galerie Patrick Seguin

Photo Credit: @GaleriePatrickSeguin

Galerie Patrick Seguin is an art gallery, unlike the others, we have listed here. The gallery displays the furniture pieces and demountable houses of Patrick Segiun while promoting the artwork of French designers such as Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé, Jean Royère, Pierre Jeanneret, and Le Corbusier. Some of the works by Seguin have been part of art exhibitions held in some of the best art galleries in Paris such as Centre Georges Pompidou, and Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Monographic books are also available in the galleries’ exhibitions for visitors to see.

The nearest metro stop to the museum is Bastille.

La Galerie Dior

La Galerie Dior

Photo Credit: @LaGalerieDior

Not only the city of art and love, but Paris is also the city of fashion! Great names have created their haute couture in this city, and one that we all know is the iconic fashion designer Cristian Dior.
La Galerie Dior is a private museum where you can witness the astounding history of Dior.

Let’s go through some of the essential parts of the museums that you must go through;

Starting with the famous stairs – which were originally made to portray a model descending to show the new designs-here you can view 1872 marvelous creations of Dior around the stairs. Due to the color coordination, the displays are incredibly visually pleasing to take in.
You must roam through the rooms of incredible gowns, see the inspiration behind these marvelous pieces in the earlier designs as well as in Cristian Dior’s office room and view the designer sketches which shed some light into the imagination of this creative man.

The nearest metro stop to the museum is Franklin D. Roosevelt.

How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Paris Art Galleries

Tips for planning your visit;

  • Since Paris is a popular touristic location, visiting the city off-peak season in the months April and October, would be a better choice. This way, you can avoid big crowds in famous art museums and the best art galleries.
  • If you plan on visiting a lot of art museums, the Paris Pass is a no-brainer. This will allow you to skip the line in 75 attractions and museums for 4 days. You can also check the Paris Museum Pass to get access to the best art museums such as The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou and the Palace of Versailles.
  • Make sure to always check the opening times of art museums, and galleries in advance to not have any unwanted surprises.

Strategies for navigating the galleries;

  • First strategy would be booking a gallery tour. Gallery tours can increase the speed of your entrance to the best art galleries, and knowledgeable guides would know the best way to show you around in each art gallery.
  • If you want to explore the best art galleries without a tour guide, make sure to pick up a leaflet before entering the art museum which would include locations of collections, allowing you to plan where to look first. This is important since some art galleries -such as the Louvre – are so big that seeing it all is not possible.
  • Some art galleries and museums provide Audioguides for a small fee, they are incredibly useful if you want to gain more information about the pieces while exploring. Make sure to ask the receptionists at the entrance for such service.

Gallery Tours

woman in paris art gallery

Advice for making the most of your time in each gallery;

  • First and foremost, make sure that the art galleries and exhibitions you want to visit are open on the days you are visiting. Also check the gallery opening and closing times. French people are known for their holidays and national celebrations, so you wouldn’t want to have any surprises.
  • Be an early bird and go to the best art galleries before their opening time. But be careful because tourist groups will likely do the same. You can fit visiting a couple of smaller galleries in your schedule if you’re early.
  • If you intend to visit a lot of art galleries and museums you should consider getting a Museum Pass which would allow you to visit many famous art museums and attractions, and as a big bonus you can cut through the lines.

Buying Art at Paris Art Galleries

There are many locations in Paris that you can purchase artwork from. There are a variety of art galleries, auction houses, and markets. You can check out the most famous neighborhoods for the best art galleries: Saint Germain-des-Pres, the Marais -for contemporary galleries- and in the 8th arrondissement. The Marche de la Creation and the Parisian Flea Market are also very nice outdoor markets where you can roam around for beautiful art work.

Tips for first-time buyers;

  • Get a feel of the market before you make a purchase, talks to the sales people in auction houses and art galleries.
  • Initially, gain knowledge about what you’re looking for and the prices on the market.
  • Purchase something that you want to purchase, not something you’ve been suggested. Art is about feeling.
  • You can gain more knowledge in public art galleries by talking to the owner of the displayed art. Don’t be scared to ask questions about the art work or the prices, to your surprise they may be negotiable.

You can check out the most famous neighborhoods: Saint Germain-des-Pres, the Marais and in the 8th arrondissement. Here, the Gallerists will guide you to find the right galleries or art works you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for art on the streets, Paris has also lot to offer. For more information you can check out our blog on Paris Street Art!

FAQ

What are the 3 main art museums in Paris?

  • The Louvre
  • Musee D’Orsay 
  • Centre Pompiou

How many art galleries are there in Paris?

There are a 140 art galleries in Paris.

What is the famous art gallery in Paris called?

The most famous art gallery in Paris is The Louvre.

Are galleries free in Paris?

There are free galleries as well as paid galleries in Paris.

Where can I see Monet paintings in Paris?

You can see Monet paintings in Musee d’Orsay, Musee l’Orangerie, Musee Natioanl Rodin
5/5 - (4 votes)

Ceren Altuntaş

I enjoy traveling to new destinations, exploring foreign cultures and writing about them.
Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button