The (Lesser Known) Art in Paris

Find the hidden gems of the Paris art scene

by Alice Griffin

The French capital has plenty of big-name institutions to satisfy your creative self. Well, Paris is one of the top cultural cities of the world after all. If you’re not feeling the crowds though, or want to see something a little different, then you’re in the right place. Grab a tea and take note – we’ve got a list of art spots that you won’t have to jostle tourists and their selfie sticks to get to. The art in Paris. you bet ya! 


Get thinking of The BAL

From a ‘20s dancehall to France’s largest betting shop for horse racing post-WWII. The BAL gallery has had an intriguing past. Its present incarnation isn’t so dull either! The provocative gallery focuses on showing exhibitions that disband and disrupt the social and political constructs that we live among every day. Art is shown in image form only, displaying works of photography, video, film and the new media. 


See some street art

art culture paris things to see

Photo by Aleyna Rentz on Unsplash

Outside of the main tourist areas, street art in Paris ain’t hard to come by. Some of the best pieces you should check out are.

  • Place Igor Stravinsky in the arty Marais district is home to that Salvador Dali portrait.
  • Belleville’s rue Dénoyez: This short street is covered, head to toe, in artworks. Pieces change so quickly here that even if you’ve visited before, it’s worth going back every few months to see what’s new. This street is also one of the few places where it’s legal to create works in Paris, so head on down here at all times of day and there’s a good chance you’ll see a street artist doing their thing.

Worship at the altar of Yves Saint Laurent

YSL museum

Photo by Aatish Nat via Conde Nast Traveller

These days, couture fashion is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Designer pieces are viewed as artworks in their own right, with the ability to shape or speak to, the world around them. If you know your sartorial stuff at all, you’ll know one of these artists as Yves Saint Laurent, the prolific designer whose work in recent years has been enshrined in his old couture house. The Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris is well worth a drop in, especially if you love your threads.


Check out the largest open-air museum in France

The largest business district in Europe is also home to a dazzling amount of artworks. 67 monumental works sit in the outdoor space, with pieces from the likes of Calder, Mirò and César forever turning heads. You can check out the works whenever you want (the area’s open 24/7) and, best of all, it’s free of charge.


Try and make sense of the Centre Pompidou

paris art culture

Photo by MEAX on Unsplash

Parisians were left scratching heads when architectural duo Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers made their inside-out design for Centre Pompidou a reality, placing all the logistical (usually hidden) parts of the building – air-conditioning, lifts, escalators, pipes, that stuff – on the outside exterior for all to see. The building is far from your classic Parisian architecture, and it’s all the more fun for it. The largest home of contemporary art is well worth checking out, even from afar.

Art in Paris goes way beyond the Louvre. There’s so much to see if you take the time to seek it out. Now you’ve got your list it’s time to get out there and explore.

Have you got a gallery or art installation we need to mention? Tell us in the comments and we’ll make sure to add it in. Oh, and visit it.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.