Modern & contemporary art museums

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Amélie Dupont / Paris Tourist Office

Art galleries aren’t the only places to display cutting-edge art and photography these days: the city’s museums – big and small – offer some startling collections. From hard-hitting photography exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume, to offbeat multi-media installations at the Gaïté Lyrique, and modern art masterpieces at the Centre Pompidou, prepared to be wowed…

The Centre Pompidou

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

  1. Rue Saint-Martin, 4e
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La Gaîté Lyrique

19th-century composer Jacques Offenbach isn’t usually associated with cutting-edge digital art, but after a 10-year revamp, Offenbach’s former Belle Époque Gaïté Lyrique theatre has been

  1. 3 bis rue Papin, 3e
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Espace Claude Berri

Claude Berri, who died in January 2009, was for many years best known as one of France's most successful film directors and producers - he directed the international arthouse hit Jean de Florette and

  1. 4 passage Sainte-Avoye, 3e
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Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain

Jean Nouvel's glass and steel building, an exhibition centre with Cartier's offices above, is as much a work of art as the installations inside. Shows by artists and photographers often have

  1. 261 boulevard Raspail, 14e
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104 (Centquatre)

It's more than a century since Montmartre was the centre of artistic activity in Paris. But now the north of Paris is again where the action is - albeit a couple of kilometres east of place du

  1. 104 rue d'Aubervilliers et 5 rue Curial, 19e
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Fondation Le Corbusier

Designed by Le Corbusier in 1923 for a Swiss art collector, this house shows the architect's ideas in practice, with its stilts, strip windows, roof terraces and balconies, built-in furniture and an

  1. Villa La Roche-Jeanneret, 8-10 square du Docteur Blanche, 16e
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Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP)

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

  1. 5-7 rue de Fourcy, 4e
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MAC/VAL

Opened just days after the 2005 banlieue riots ended, this contemporary art museum has earned a fearsome reputation for artistic savvy. Its collection offers a stunning snapshot of French art from

  1. Place de la Libération, 94404
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Palais de Tokyo : Site de Création Contemporaine

When it opened in 2002, many thought the Palais' stripped-back interior was a design statement. In fact, it was a response to tight finances. The 1937 building has now come into its own as an

  1. 13 avenue du Président Wilson, 16e
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Jeu de Paume

The Centre National de la Photographie moved into this site in 2005. The building, which once served as a tennis court, has been divided into two white, almost hangar-like galleries. It is not an

  1. 1 place de la Concorde, 8e
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Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

This monumental 1930s building, housing the city's modern art collection, is strong on the Cubists, Fauves, the Delaunays, Rouault and Ecole de Paris artists Soutine and van Dongen. The museum was

  1. 11 avenue du Président Wilson, 16e
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Fondation Dubuffet

You walk up a winding garden path to get to this museum, founded by Jean Dubuffet, wine merchant and master of art brut. The foundation ensures that a fair body of his works is accessible to the

  1. 137 rue de Sèvres, 6e
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Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Opened in 2003, this two-floor gallery is dedicated to the work of acclaimed photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. It consists of a tall, narrow atelier in a 1913 building, with a minutely catalogued

  1. 2 impasse Lebouis, 14e
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Musée-Atelier Adzak

The eccentric house, studio and garden built by the late Roy Adzak, a British-born painter and sculptor who died in 1987, harbour traces of the conceptual artist's plaster body columns and

  1. 3 rue Jonquoy, 14e
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Espace Fondation EDF

This former electricity substation, converted by Electricité de France for PR purposes, is now used for varied, well-presented exhibitions.

  1. 6 rue Récamier, 7e
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La Maison Rouge - Fondation Antoine de Galbert

Founded by collector Antoine de Galberg, and set in a former printworks, the Red House is an independently run space that alternates monographic shows of contemporary artists' work with pieces from

  1. 10 boulevard de la Bastille, 12e
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Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais

Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, the Grand Palais was the work of three different architects, each of whom designed a façade. During World War II it accommodated Nazi tanks. In 1994 the

  1. 3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, 8e
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Musée Zadkine

This is one of the most intimate museums in Paris, a rare peaceful, almost secret corner where you can also get a good dose of modern art. The former studio of Russian-born Cubist sculptor Ossip

  1. 100 bis rue d'Assas, 6e
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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

  1. Place Beaubourg, 4e
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Musée Maillol

Dina Vierny was 15 when she met Aristide Maillol (in the mid-1930s) and became his principal model for the next decade, idealised in such sculptures as Spring, Air and Harmony. In 1995 she opened

  1. 61 rue de Grenelle, 7e
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