Unless you’re like me, you probably don’t organize your holidays around art exhibitions. Which means, it can be a bit of a gamble what you might see when you finally arrive at an art gallery or museum. I find nothing more frustrating than discovering that an exhibition I would have been interested in seeing finished the day before, or starts the day after I leave. But luckily, no matter what exhibition is on, there are some museums in Paris that are worth visiting all year round. Whether it be stunning architecture or impressive permanent collections, these museums never fail to impress!
For all the architecture nerds out there, Centre Pompidou was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers and is a prime example of ‘constructivist’ architecture. The skeleton of the building is exposed, revealing all of its inner structure, functions and mechanics. Visitors zig-zag their way up the building via the external escalator.
Fondation Louis Vuitton was designed by none other than Frank Gehry and is a spectacular piece of architecture. Glass ‘sails’ cover the building, an assemblage of blocks described as the ‘iceberg’. With a cascading water feature at the base, the overall effect is of a large ship soaring above the treetops of the Jardin d’Acclimatation. Inside, the gallery spaces are unconventional and mesmerizing: some small and intimate, others with vast ceilings and twisting skylights.
Aside from its ground-breaking architecture, Centre Pompidou offers stunning views of Paris and one of Europe’s best collection of modern and contemporary art. Likewise, Fondation Louis Vuitton allows visitors to explore its rooftop mezzanines and admire the building’s magnificent glass sails, as well as different views of Paris.
Permanent collections are often overshadowed by the big, crowd-drawing blockbuster exhibitions. But Musée Picasso and Musée Rodin are both beautiful museums with impressive permanent collections that cannot be missed. Mind you, this is Paris we’re talking about, and you can still expect to queue so do time your visit and get there early.
Renovated in 2015, Musée Rodin is housed in the 18th century Hôtel Biron, which Auguste Rodin himself chose to present his work. The museum features the biggest collection of Rodin’s works as well as the artist’s diverse personal collection. Many of his sculptures can also be found dotted around the beautiful garden, including the iconic Le Penseur.
Musée Picasso – in the heart of Paris’ Marais neighborhood – is housed in the Hotel Salé, which is a classified Historical Monument. The museum has the only collection in the world of both Pablo Picasso’s paintings, sculptures, engravings and illustrations, and documents of the artist’s creative process. It contains both the artist’s estate and other renowned artworks from the 20th century.
These museums are sure to satisfy every art lover, no matter what time of year.
Centre Pompidou – Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004. Metro: Châtelet (ligne 1, 4, 7, 11 & 14). +33 1 44 78 12 33
Fondation Louis Vuitton – 8 Avenue Mahatma Gandhi, 75116. Metro: Les Sablons (ligne 1). +33 1 40 69 96 00
Musée Rodin – 79 Rue de Varenne, 75007. Metro: Varenne (ligne 13). +33 1 44 18 61 10
Musée Picasso – 5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003. Metro: Saint-Sébastien-Froissart (ligne 8). +33 1 85 56 00 36
- Check out our picks for summer art exhibitions in Paris.
- For Paris’ 12 most unmissable museums, head over to TimeOut.
- Love photography? The Culture Trip rounds up the best photography galleries in Paris.