Exploring the Art of Paris

Paris - Monday, May 11th, 2015

Paris, France is known as the City of Lights (“La Ville Lumière”), which is a reference not only to it being one of the most cultural enlightened city centers in Europe but it was the first major European city to install gas lights. This city, which is the country’s national capital, has a population of 2.2 million and is one of the largest cities in the European Union.

Paris has been the host of the world-renowned fine arts salon, a practice that began nearly 350 years ago in 1667 as the official art exhibition of the French Academy of Fine Arts (“Academie des Beaux-Arts”). The salon is an annual to biannual event that the Academy hosted until 1890 when it gave way to the stylings of the avant-garde movement, has been at the forefront of the Parisian art scene.

Here are some of the art venues you should consider visiting when in Paris. In addition to the famed Louvre museum, there are many offbeat and lesser known places you should check out that capture the essence of the art scene in this city of lights.

The Louvre

The famous of all art locales in the city of Paris is the world-famed Louvre museum. It is located on the right bank of La Seine River and is a central landmark within the city. The museum was once both a fortress and royal residence up until the time of the French Revolution in the late 1700s. It is now the home of more than 35,000 individual works of art.

You enter the museum just outside the iconic glass pyramid that was designed by architect I.M. Pei. Once inside the Louvre you may visit the famous Portrait of Lisa Gherardini (Mona Lisa) by the artist Leonardo da Vinci and Venus de Milo by Greek sculptor Alexandros of Antioch.

The Musee d’Orsay

Where the Louvre is situated on the right bank of the Seine River, the Musee d’Orsay is directly opposite on the left bank of this important waterway. The museum was built as part of the 1900 World Fair and Exposition held in the city. It had previously served as a railway station and among its collections are featured Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and James McNeil Whistler’s Mother.

Musee Rodin

Fans of French sculptor Auguste Rodin can visit the former Hotel Biron to see his entire collection at the Musee Rodin. The museum is located due west of the Louvre and is accessible by car or via the metro, taken to the Varenne subway stop. Rodin donated the collection to the museum in 1908 a decade before his death and visitors can experience the wide number of individual pieces in the building and throughout the grounds, including “The Thinker” statue that has been in its original location since the opening of the Musee Rodin to the public in 1929.

Other Art Venues of Interest

If you are looking to venture away from the more popular tourist haunts when in Paris and focus on more non-traditional art ventures, you should try any of these locations in order to explore the art of the city. There is the Galerie Gagosian, a state-of-the-art contemporary art museum that is accessible via the Franklin D. Roosevelt subway stop; Le Trianon is located at the foot of the Montmartre and is a concert venue that has hosted the likes of former French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (the Anvers subway stop serves Le Trianon); and, the Guignol, a world renowned theater that features adult and child puppet shows in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Without a doubt, Paris is a must-see destination for any lover of the arts. Whether you stick to the most popular museums or search high and low for the more low-key art venues, learn more about what the City of Light has in store for you by following along the travel writings of Dale Dunlop, The Maritime Explorer. Follow along as the Canadian Travel Explorer visits the city of Paris, sharing his tales of adventure through his adventure blog entries. Whether you’re set to embark on your own Paris adventure or just looking for some motivation for your next trip, follow along the travel writings of The Maritime Explorer for more information on the world’s must-see destinations.


  • Francis Mataruka


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