From classic cinema to contemporary art, Paris is a cultural wonderland for all tastes. Here’s your guide to the best of Paris culture.
With a vibrant art scene and colourful history, it’s little wonder Paris is a global destination for culture lovers. The city of lights is exciting day or night, and offers plenty of museums, galleries and activities to inspire and entertain you.
The Louvre & the Musée d’Orsay
In Paris, art is life. It’s been said it would take at least three months to view every piece of art the Louvre has to offer. Housed in a former fortress, the mammoth museum has over 30,000 artworks on display, dating from prehistoric times to the present. Paintings and sculptures are the most popular, with millions lining up every year to catch a glimpse of art superstars Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, among scores of other gems.
For a romantic vibe, visit the multi-floored Musée d’Orsay, inaugurated in 1900 and housed in a onetime railway station. Here visitors can enjoy artwork from impressionist period masters such as Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet, whose works are located on the top level, while other floors are dedicated to sculpture, Art Nouveau and Naturalism.
Centre Pompidou & the Grand Palais
Centre Pompidou offers Europe’s largest collection of modern art, both inside and out. Immediately recognisable, the Centre Pompidou’s postmodern façade is characterised by colourful exposed air ducts, piping and outside elevators. Inside, it has an exhibition area, a cinema, a library, a performance area and, since 2000, Georges, an ultra-mod top floor restaurant.
Don’t miss The Grand Palais in Paris, a dramatic building at the Champs-Elysées with glass barrel-vaulted ceilings. Opened in 1900 as an exhibition space, it became a warehouse for Nazi tanks in WW2. Rejuvenated after an 11-year renovation in 2005, the Grand Palais today celebrates culture with events and exhibitions in photography, music, cinema, dance, fashion and of course, fine art.
Paris culture for kids
Paris has many options for small culture-vultures too, like the Louvre’s impressive collection of Egyptian mummies, tombs and artefacts. The Centre Pompidou hosts a kid-friendly gallery for children aged six and up, with exhibits and workshops for a fun educational experience. The Grand Palais also offers themed tours for kids for different ages and interests.
For mini adventurers, the Parc de la Villette offers irresistible activities like a Chinese dragon slide, a hands-on art centre and whimsically themed garden spaces. On sunny days, a rickety ride on the Petit Train de Montmartre takes kids from the base of the famous Moulin Rouge up to the panoramic views of the Sacré Coeur Basilica.
For your entertainment
Paris is in love with film, with more cinemas per capita then just about any other European city. Notable ones include the Japanese-inspired Cinema Etoile Pagode, the high-tech hemispherical screen of La Geode, and La Peniche Cinema, where documentaries and short films are screened in a boat. But if you love a live spectacle, book a seat at the Moulin Rouge or the Lido for modern takes on classic turn-of-the-century Parisian cabaret.
Feeling inspired? Start planning your cultural odyssey in Paris!