Paris is the capital of art collections. You will find all forms of art, from all times, from all around the world. The gates of Babylon and the famous winged bulls, the most beautiful Apsaras from Angkor Wat, the Mona Lisa and the most representative works of the 20th century, they’re all in Paris !
Unfortunately, you shall not have enough time… so here is what we think you should see…
Musee d’Orsay – The Museum d’Orsay is THE must-see museum in Paris thanks to the single most impressive collection of Impressionist period paintings on earth! Wander from room to room and gawp at the works from the most famous of artists including Edouard Manet, Claude Monet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Within the former railway station there are also works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Camille Claudel and many many more!
Centre Pompidou – The Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers designed Centre Pompidou (also known as ‘Beaubourg’) is one of the most iconic and colourful pieces of architecture in Paris. Inside you’ll find the largest collection of modern art in Europe – some 50,000 works of art by 5,000 artists, representing Primitivism, Fauvism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, American Color-Field painting and Abstract Expressionism, of which only a fraction – about 600 works – can be seen for real at any one time.
Avoid the queues by coming after 6pm (the museum is open until 9pm – sometimes later during temporary exhibitions).
Musee de l’Orangerie – It’s an art gallery featuring various impressionist and post-impressionist works and above all Claude Monet’s famous Water Lilies. Some of the huge paintings are exposed in the same room, in order to see Monet’s point of view in his own garden in Giverny at different times of the day.
This imposing building is located beside the Tuileries Gardens on Paris’ Place de la Concorde.
Notre Dame Cathedral – The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral has featured in many films thanks to its handsome Gothic architecture, which was built between the 12th and the 14th century. Catch mass here, admire the intricate gargoyles and climb the 400 steps up to that “infamous” belltower.
Sacre-Coeur – Sitting proudly atop the Montmartre hill is the mighty Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre, aka Sacre-Coeur. Admire the panoramic views of Paris below and if you’re feeling energetic climb the basilica’s dome for an elevated view.
Pont Alexandre III Bridge – Walk over the historic Pont Alexandre III arch bridge that crosses the River Seine and connects the Champs-Élysées district with the Invalides and Eiffel Tower district. The bridge was built in 1896 and reflects the architecture of the Grand Palais which is located adjacent to the bridge. Featuring lavish lamps in Art Nouveau style as well as winged horses the bridge was named in honour of Russian Tsar Alexander III.
Le Fumoir – French&International cuisine. There aren’t many places in Paris which can compete with this elegant local institution: neo-colonial fans whirr lazily and oil paintings adorn the walls. A sleek crowd sips martinis or reads papers at the long mahogany bar (originally from a Chicago speakeasy), giving way to young professionals in the restaurant and pretty things in the library. It feels a wee bit try-hard and resolutely well behaved, but the cocktails get tongues wagging soon enough, and food is consistently top notch. Price : 35€ / person + drinks (20-30€ for a bottel of wine). 6 Rue de l’Amiral de Coligny, 1er Paris.
L’Ilot – Seafood. Here, you don’t have to pay Parisian prices for the best catch of the day. The venue is tiny but beautiful, with big slate menus, earthenware pots and white parquet, a bay window, a few photos on the walls and a terrace for nice days – it all has a solid, comfortable charm. Perch yourself on a stool and order your white wine, then browse the menu: €5 for a serving of taramasalata or tuna or salmon rillettes, €4.50 to €9.50 for pink or grey Madagascan prawns, €6.50 for whelks and €8 for a half crab (€14 for the whole). 4 rue de la Corderie, 3e, Paris.
Le Flamboire – Barbecue & Meat. Lovers of barbecues and long-braised meats, Le Flamboire is for you. Located on Pigalle’s Rue Blanche, it’s no New-York-style trendy new opening, but a straightforward meat lover’s paradise with kitsch flames painted on the walls and a no-nonsense carnivorous menu that really delivers. Price : between 30-40€ pers person + drinks. Highly recommended. 54 rue Blanche, 9e, Paris.
Club Haussman (Doctor Love) – This is the place for young people to party ! 23 rue Taitbout, 9e.
Concrete – This is the thing for real electronic music ! Events all around Paris (check http://www.concreteparis.fr) and the headquarters is on a boat : 69 Quai de la Rapée, 12e.
Bario Latino – If you are not very young neither an electronic music fan you can check out the Bario Latino. 46 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 12e, Paris. http://www.barrio-latino.com/
We let you decide
The Eiffel Tower – Parisians live a whole life in Paris whithout climbing up in the n°1 tourist attraction. Still, climbing up in the tower will give you twos sets of incredible sight perspectives above Paris and La Defense Skyline. The only hinch is that it’s a 4 hours deal, IF there is a medium queue.
Things that you will do the next time
The Louvre – Well, we think you should leave the Louvre for the next time (unless you are an Art Historian). Otherwise, you will spend a whole day inside and you will remember one painting, the Mona Lisa. Maybe Venus De Milo. And you shall certainly forget the other 399.998 works of art exposed in the Louvre.
Disneyland – Well, you got plenty of time for that in the US !