With all the ice cream to eat and parks to play in, sometimes art can come low on a summer list of things to do in Paris. But it shouldn’t. As always in Paris, there’s an exceptional line-up of big-hitting exhibitions and smaller shows in galleries across the city – unmissable for art lovers, ideal for anyone on greyer days. Discover new galleries, new artists, and probably have a good few coffees or a bit of window-shopping on your way.
So read on for our selection of the best summer exhibitions in Paris. And have a ball!
The best art shows and exhibitions in Paris this summer
Dior, Balenciaga, Balmain: Mark Shaw archive at Galerie MR14
The Melissa Regan Agency, in partnership with the Mark Shaw photographic archive, presents the first of a series of photographic expositions of Mark Shaw’s fashion-based work. Mark Shaw (1921-1969) was an American photographer, chiefly known for his photos of the Kennedy family; as well as numarous portraits in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Life Magazine, Mademoiselle...
Visiting in August? These museums are open
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Taken as a whole (along with the Musée de la Mode et du Textile and Musée de la Publicité), this is one of the world's major collections of design and the decorative arts. Located in the west wing of the Louvre since its opening a century ago, the venue reopened in 2006 after a decade-long, €35-million restoration of the building and of 6,000 of the 150,000 items donated mainly by private collectors. The major focus here is French furniture and tableware. From extravagant carpets to delicate crystal and porcelain, there is much to admire. Clever spotlighting and black settings show the exquisite treasures - including châtelaines made for medieval royalty and Maison Falize enamel work - to their best advantage. Other galleries are categorised by theme: glass, wallpaper, drawings and toys. There are cases devoted to Chinese head jewellery and the Japanese art of seduction with combs. Of most immediate attraction to the layman are the reconstructed period rooms, ten in all, showing how the other (French) half lived from the late 1400s to the early 20th century.
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 magnificent glass-roofed central hall was closed when bits of metal started falling off, although exhibitions continued to be held in the other wings. After major restoration, the Palais reopened in 2005.