Paris Art Basics

A few facts about visual art in Paris, so you don’t feel compelled to have to see everything. That would be overwhelming and not as much fun as seeing what you like.

The Louvre:

— Art up to Impressionism – about 1860.
— Closed on Tuesday. Open late on (seasonally) Wednesday and Friday
: is a huge museum, former royal palace that’s cool enough to see, set in the gardens of the Tuilleries. The architecture, the plaza, the sculpture in the gardens and the Pyramid by IM Pei can be seen without buying a ticket. Tickets – is an app where you can buy a ticket that lets you skip the line. You buy online, then pick up ticket at a magazine stand (a kiosk) on the Rue de Rivoli just outside the archway to the entrance. This kiosk is not obvious so be sure to Google it’s exact location before you leave good wifi.
While searching online, take a look at what people think are the most important things in the Louvre and decide what you’d like to see: the Mona Lisa? the giant Géricault painting called “The Raft of the Medusa” (pretty impressive)? Roman sculpture ? Saint Sebastians ?

The Louvre is very touristy, and built onto it are a ton of shops but this isn’t the best shopping experience nor is the food at all good. It’s like a food court at a mall. Walk a block away and there will be fantastic food.

Changing exhibitions: from this time period are big productions, but expect nothing more modern than classicism:

Musée D’Orsay

— Art that directly influenced Impressionism, Impressionism and post-Impression to Matisse.

–Open late on Thursday, closed Monday

In a former train station, the place is huge. They have specialty shows usually on the first floor, but upstairs there is a room for every Impressionist you could name. (There are online vendors for tickets here, too)

Bonus: the changing shows:

Musée National d’Art Moderne & Centre Pompidou

— Matisse (everything after Impressionism: Fauvism, Cubism, to now)

–Closed Tuesday. Open late every other day
This museum is located on the top floor of the Centre Pompidou, which was built in the 1970s and is a funky modern building with plaza around it that often have buskers. A center dedicated to film as art is on the entry level, and the escalators to the top floor give a great view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. If there is a modern artist that you really like you might find their work in this museum. It can be just the cream on top of your visit because the changing exhibitions here are top notch, If you’re interested in what they have on, it will be a good show:

Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

— The Most Current, Contemporary

Big shows, and not much of a collection – but its free entry to see it. Check to see that what they have on is something you want to see.
— Calendar of (near)future exhibits:

Paris owns several museums and offers a ticket that lets you get into many for a good price. Here’s the list of their museums:

Smaller, Artist-centered Museums

Many well-known artists have a museum in Paris: Picasso, Maillol, Rodin, and smaller ones like the Zadkine. The first three will curate special shows that are only on for a certain amount of time and are usually on a theme that relates to the artist. Aristide Maillol mostly made sculpture, so they’ll feature a sculptor who was a contemporary of his. The Maillol is in a cool building near the (left bank) Quay of the Seine.

Outside the Pompidou Center is the studio of Brancusi, another sculptor, open to the public. The others are all unique but of a similar scale and concentration.