Paris is absolute heaven for art lovers. You could spend day after day looking at world-class collections of painting, sculpture, photography and drawing in the City of Light, with work by some of the best creative minds in history on display. When I was in Paris, I felt giddy with the sheer abundance of cultural wealth before my feet, like an all-you-can-eat banquet for the eyes and the mind.
Of course, the first and most obvious stop on an art gallery tour of Paris is the famous Louvre. This mega blockbuster gallery is one of the best in the world and it is not just home to the iconic Mona Lisa (which is smaller than you expect) but also to a mind-blowing collection of art and artefacts that spans thousands of years. There are 35,000 pieces in the Louvre, so even if you only spent 30 seconds looking at each one it would take you almost 300 hours to view the entire collection.
But the Louvre is not the only art gallery in Paris. It is definitely worth looking beyond the Louvre during your Parisian trip, to see some of the excellent smaller museums that the city has to offer.
On a sunny afternoon, take a stroll through the sculpture garden of this excellent museum – dedicated to the works of Auguste Rodin. His heavy, monumental works suit the luscious green surroundings and this is the ideal quiet space to enjoy a picnic lunch. The indoor museum also includes some paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet which were in Rodin’s personal collection.
Also, the Rodin museum is one of the most accessible museums in Paris – located near the Varenne Metro stop.
Located on the left bank of the Seine, the Musée d’Orsay is my favourite museum in Paris. It is housed within a simply stunning turn of the century railway station and includes a great collection of paintings, sculptures, photography and furniture.
It is home to the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in the world, so it’s the best place to enjoy the works of Manet, Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Gaugin and Van Gogh. Walking through this gallery felt like I had stepped into the pages of my art history textbook – a wonderful experience.
Centre Georges Pompidou
After looking at historic masterpieces, fast-forward to the contemporary era at the Centre George Pompidou. The building itself is an attraction, with all of its brightly coloured pipes and ducts exposed on the exterior. Inside you will find a collection that spans from Picasso and Matisse, through Surrealism and into the latest hot trends in video and installation art. The museum also has a great design shop and a trendy art bookstore.
When you are staying in Paris, if you are an art lover like me and you want to go on a gallery hopping binge during your trip to Paris, these are a few of the other galleries that you can enjoy besides the Louvre.