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Crowds queuing for the Louvre. 

If you’re heading to Paris this year, you’ll make the most of your stay by checking out well in advance what exhibitions will be on.  The French are great exhibition goers, and if there’s something important at one of the many venues in the city, you can bet your life the locals will be there in droves.  Add large numbers of visitors and it’s easy to see why whole weeks, if not an entire season, can be sold out before you even hit town.

Musee d’Orsay. 

There are so many great art museums and exhibition venues in Paris—said to number more than 173—and it’s rare that visitors venture further afield than the usual suspects. Over the years, we’ve discovered a number of gems that are now on our “watch list” that are rarely on the radar outside France.

Once you’ve finalised your Paris dates, browse through the websites of the big institutions such as the Louvre, Quai d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou etc. If there’s something that takes your eye, we strongly recommend booking a timed ticket as soon as you can.  We’ve missed a couple of things in the past by taking pot luck—a case of misplaced optimism!

The Louvre has a blockbuster on at the moment, ‘Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863)’, as well as a special exhibition simply called ‘The Hittite Empire’—a must for fellow classicists!

The Petit Palais. 

There’s an important show at the Petit Palais ’Dutch Artists in Paris, 1789-1914: Van Gogh, Van Dongen, Mondrian’.  We’ll certainly need to pre-book these.

Some of the other galleries we’ve earmarked include:

Musee du Luxembourg. 

‘Young Tintoretto’ at Musée du Luxembourg – until 01 July.  This museum is located just a few doors down the street from the Senate, on the edge of the Luxembourg Gardens.  There’s now an ‘Angelina’s’ salon du thé right at the entrance.

Musee Cernuschi. 

‘Perfumes of China, the Culture of Incense in Imperial Times – from 3rd century BCE to 19th century’ at Musée Cernuschi.  Dedicated to Asian art, the museum is in the former home of the founder, a beautiful 19th century mansion near Parc Monceau in the 8th arr.

Musee Jacquemart-Andre. 

‘Mary Cassatt: an American in Paris’ at Jacquemart-Andre – until 23 July.  This is one of our favourite art museums in the city, located in Boulevard Haussmann in a magnificent former hôtel particulier. Worth a visit just to see the dazzling interior. It also has one of the loveliest salons du thé in Paris–perfect for lunch, but be there around noon if you ever hope to get a table!

The Picasso Museum’s main staircase. 

‘About Guernica’ at the Musée Picasso – until 29 July. Another beautiful former hôtel particulier, the Hôtel Salé, this museum re-opened recently after a five year massive restoration.  Check out the Giacometti pendant light fittings and furniture.

View from the terrace of the Institut du Monde Arabe. 

‘Epic of the Suez Canal – from the Pharaohs to the 21st Century’ at the Institut du Monde Arabe – until 05


We go to anything showing at the Institut. It’s a striking landmark modern building at the end of Bvd. St Germain. The top floor terrace offers the best free view in Paris, looking straight down the river towards Notre Dame.

One fascinating exhibition, ‘Klimt: Voyage at the Heart of the Vienna Secession’ opens later this month at a new space, l’Atelier des Lumieres, in the 11th arr.

Klimt’s ‘Nuit de Chine’ at l’Atelier des Lumieres. 

This is a new museum that has no original artworks, but instead uses a state-of-the-art digital projection system whereby images of paintings are cast onto the walls of the space, together with an original soundtrack.  The overall effect aims to be a vivid, immersive experience.  This is another project by the Fondation Culturespaces, which had an exhibition in the village of Les Baux-de-Provence called ‘Gauguin, Van Gogh, the Painters of Colour’ using the same high-tech system, which we saw a few years ago.  It was an incredible ‘surround image and sound’ experience, and we can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with in the new Paris space.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris later in the year, there are lots of treats in store.

Mussee Rodin. s

Just some of these are ‘Rodin and Dance’ at the Musée Rodin;

‘Water Lilies: American Abstract Art & the last Monet’ at Musée de l’Orangerie;

‘Impressionists in London – French Artists in Exile’ at the Petit Palais;

‘Venice in the time of Vivaldi & Tiepolo’ at the Grand Palais; ‘Cubism’ at the Pompidou Centre;

‘Joan Miro – the Colour of my Dreams’ at the Grand Palais; .

Musee National des Arts Asiatiques – Guimet. 

Or for something a little different: ‘Meiji’ at the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet. Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration in Japan (1868-1912), the exhibition will look at different aspects of the modernisation of Japan and the internationalisation of artistic production, showcasing various Japanese arts and crafts.


Whatever your taste in art, Paris always has a wealth of wonderful exhibitions to enjoy. So to avoid disappointment it pays to plan ahead!

Queues at the Picasso Museum. 



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