Museums and galleries in the Marais

A thriving art scene in Paris's pretty historical centre

© Photo : B. Fougeirol

Museums

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

Critics' choice

A two-year overhaul turned the three-floor hunting museum from a musty old-timer into something really rather special. When it reopened in 2007, it had kept the basic layout and proportions of the two adjoining 17th-century mansions it occupies, but many of its new exhibits and settings seem more suited... 

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The Marais

Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme

Critics' choice

It's fitting that a museum of Judaism should be lodged in one of the grandest mansions of the Marais, for centuries the epicentre of local Jewish life. It sprung from the collection of a private association formed in 1948 to safeguard Jewish heritage after the Holocaust. Pick up a free audio-guide in English to help you navigate through displays illustrating ceremonies... 

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The Marais

Musée Carnavalet

Critics' choice

Here, 140 chronological rooms depict the history of Paris, from pre-Roman Gaul to the 20th century. Built in 1548 and transformed by Mansart in 1660, this fine house became a museum in 1866, when Haussmann persuaded the city to preserve its beautiful interiors. Original 16th-century rooms house Renaissance collections, with portraits by Clouet and furniture and pictures... 

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The Marais Free

Musée des Arts et Métiers

The 'arts and trades' museum is, in fact, Europe's oldest science museum, founded in 1794 by the constitutional bishop Henri Grégoire, initially as a way to educate France's manufacturing industry in useful scientific techniques. Housed in the former Benedictine priory of St-Martin-des-Champs, it became a museum proper in 1819; it's a fascinating, attractively laid out... 

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The Marais

Atelier Brancusi

When Constantin Brancusi died in 1957, he left his studio and its contents to the state, and it was later moved and rebuilt by the Centre Pompidou. His fragile works in wood and plaster, the endless columns and streamlined bird forms show how Brancusi revolutionised sculpture.

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Opéra Free
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Galleries

The Centre Pompidou

Critics' choice

The primary colours, exposed pipes and air ducts make the Centre Pompidou one of the best-known sights in Paris. The then-unknown Italo-British architectural duo of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers won the competition with their 'inside-out' boilerhouse approach, which put air-conditioning, pipes, lifts and the escalators on the outside... 

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The Marais

Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP)

Critics' choice

Probably the capital's best photography exhibition space, hosting retrospectives by Larry Clark and Martine Barrat, along with work by emerging photographers. The building, an airy mansion with a modern extension, contains a huge permanent collection. The venue organises the biennial Mois de la Photo and the Art Outsiders festival of new media web art in September.

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The Marais

Galerie du Jour – Agnès B.

‘We say gallery, but we could also say a place for showing the other faces and the side issues of things’ explained Agnès B. in November 1984, when she launched La Galerie du Jour a few steps from the Centre Pompidou. The designer and founder of the wildly successful eponymous label shows here anything that pleases her – painting, sculpture, contemporary art and... 

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Les Halles Free

Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève

Critics' choice

Suzanne Tarasiève opened her vast Loft19 in 2008, part of the rapid artistic expansion of the Belleville neighbourhood, within a few years became the favourite destination for young alternative galleries in Paris. Her second space, opened in the Marais in May 2011, is a stronghold for the most powerful representatives of the Parisian art market... 

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3rd arrondissement Free

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Critics' choice

Ropac's main base is in Salzburg, but he also runs this attractive Paris gallery, featuring American Pop and neo-Pop by Warhol, Tom Sachs and Alex Katz, along with European artists such as Ilya Kabakov, Sylvie Fleury and Gilbert & George.

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The Marais Free
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