Look up the word ‘culture’ in a dictionary and there should be a picture of Paris there, so synonymous has the city become with the arts. From the classic to the avante-garde, Paris has a wealth of art spaces, events, museums and galleries from which to choose. Here are just a few.
1. Louvre Museum
The crowds in the Mona Lisa room at the Louvre tend to detract from the painting itself (you could lose an eye to a selfie stick) but the rest of this magnificent space is crammed full of fascinating objets. Eschew the Mona and admire The Raft of the Medusa instead.
2. Musee d’Orsay
Just across the Seine from the Louvre is that other repository of classical art, the Musee d’Orsay. Not only is the building itself a work of art it’s chock full of them, too. Paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, graphic arts, photographs. You could lose days in here.
3. Pompidou Centre
Loved and loathed in equal measure for its hi-tech style of architecture, the Pompidou Centre near Les Halles is a multi-purpose arts complex that houses a public library, a museum, a cinema, a space for contemporary art and live music.
4. Musée Picasso
No serious art lover could visit Paris without stopping by the Musée Picasso in the Marais district (Hôtel Salé, Rue de Thorigny). It opened again in 2014 after a five-year, multi-million euro renovation and contains more than 5,000 of Pablo Picasso’s paintings, ceramics and sculptures.
5. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
The history of the art movements of the 20th century are the main focus of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Found just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower the museum is in the east wing of the Palais de Tokyo and has works from just about every significant artist of the last century.
6. Le Batofar
As live music venues go Le Batofar is one of the more unusual. An old lighthouse boat, moored on the Seine, which plays progressive music and features both DJs, dance parties and cutting-edge live bands. During the day it is a restaurant.
7. La Maison Rouge
Situated in an old red farmhouse, La Maison Rouge near the Bastille is a contemporary modern art gallery with an attached bookshop and organic café - the Rose Bakery - which changes its décor with each exhibition. Good for keeping abreast of what’s new and interesting and experimental in the modern art scene.
8. Maison Européenne de la Photographie
Tucked away in lovely 1706 hotel in a small street in the Marais, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (aka La Mèpe) is a sadly little-known venue for exhibitions of photography as well as a superb permanent collection.
9. Le Lucernaire
Le Lucernaire is a former factory which incorporates three theatres (Théâtre Noir, Théâtre Rouge and Paradis), several movie screens, a bar, a restaurant, a bookshop and an exhibition space. Shows everything from classics to avant-garde art - a cultural hub loved by locals.
Paris has had a long-time love affair with cinema so to choose one movie theatre over another seems churlish. Accatone, Le Champo, La Cinémathèque Française, Cinema du Pantheon and La Pagode all show independent, arthouse and classic movies. Don’t make me pick one.