We love getting a sneak peek into Parisian artists’ studios, and the best time to do that is during Portes Ouvertes (Open Doors), usually organized by neighborhood. There is the annual Portes Ouvertes Ateliers d’Artistes Anvers-aux-Abbesses, covering a large area of the 18th and 9th Arrondissements, where artists open their studios normally in November. As with most open atelier days, there’s a map of all the participating artist studios available at the main gallery, and a collection of postcards representing each atelier.
Top Parisian Galleries
The following contemporary art galleries were selected based on recommendations from professionals in the Parisian contemporary art scene, as well as on general reputation and presence at the most prestigious international art fairs. This is the Girls’ Guide’s compilation of the hottest contemporary art galleries in Paris at the moment. Check individual gallery websites for lists of artists represented.
In the 1st
L’Association 59 Rivoli
59, rue de Rivoli. Tue–Fri, 1–8 p.m.; Sat, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sun, 1–8 p.m. Closed Mon.
One of Paris’s most beloved sites for contemporary art is l’Association 59 Rivoli, a daring arts collective inviting you into their artists’ studios and gallery. This former “squart”—a squat dedicated to art—features 30 international artists working in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film/video, collage, performance, fashion and more. A must-see for contemporary art lovers.
In the 3rd
Galerie Chantal Crousel
10, rue Charlot.
Established in 1980, the Chantal Crousel gallery strives to exhibit the work of a diverse range of international and French artists dedicated to the dialogue surrounding contemporary art and society.
79, rue du Temple.
Before the establishment of her Paris gallery or even her New York gallery, Marian Goodman became internationally recognized for publishing the work of artists such as John Baldessari, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Smithson and Andy Warhol. In 1977 Goodman opened her gallery in New York with the first exhibition of Marcel Broodthaers in the United States. After opening her first Paris location in 1995, in 1999 she moved to her current exhibition space on rue du Temple.
108, rue Vieille du Temple.
With locations in New York City and Paris, the Yvon Lambert gallery has established itself as an international hot spot for a diverse range of artists. Lambert opened his first gallery in Paris in 1967 and later opened the New York location, in 2003.
Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin
76, rue de Turenne.
Emmanuel Perrotin is known for being quirky and fearless. He represented artists like Sophie Calle and Takashi Murakami before their works sold for millions of dollars. Besides owning a gallery in Paris, founded in the late 1980s, Perrotin also owns a gallery in the hip Miami district of Wynwood.
Galerie Schleicher + Lange
12, rue de Picardie.
This young gallery was founded in 2004 by two Germans, Julia Schleicher and Andreas Lange, and has quickly earned a reputation for ambitious exhibitions featuring a diverse group of emerging artists.
Galerie Michel Rein
42, rue de Turenne.
Galerie Michel Rein is an important link in the contemporary art world of Paris. In addition to working with already established artists, the gallery is starting to show emerging artists from Eastern Europe.
In the 6th
Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA)
14, rue Bonaparte. 01 47 03 50 00.
Located in the gallery district of the left bank, ENSBA holds exhibitions, programs and talks, and produces various publications throughout the year. The exhibition hall is located at 13, quai Malaquais , in the 6th, and is open daily except Monday. Admission is 4 euros, or 2 euros reduced. The cour du Mûrier is a pleasant courtyard in which to read or chat on a sunny day.
Galerie Albert Loeb
12, rue des Beaux-Arts. 01 46 33 06 87.
Named after its curator, Galerie Albert Loeb has been around for decades. Loeb’s main interest as a collector is primitive art, though the gallery represents several contemporary artists from all over the world. Every year it takes part in Parcours des Mondes, an international tribal art fair.
Galerie Di Meo
9, rue des Beaux-Arts. 01 43 54 10 98.
In the gallery district of St.-Germain, Galerie Di Meo displays works by some of the best-known artists of the 20th century—Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso and Joseph Sima, among others. The exhibitions change regularly.
Galerie Pascal Lansberg
36, rue de Seine. 01 40 51 84 34.
Having opened in 1992, Galerie Pascal Lansberg is relatively young for a Parisian gallery. It specializes in contemporary work and represents major currents of 20th-century art, including 1950s abstract, Pop and new realism. There is sure to be something for every contemporary-art buff.
Parcours Saint Germain
St.-Germain-des-Prés. 01 40 46 86 56.
For a cultural fix of seasonal, contemporary art, check out Parcours Saint Germain, which takes place each spring in the gallery district of St.-Germain-des-Prés. Artists create installations in cafés, galleries and shops, and even on the street for passersby to observe, critique and absorb.
In the 13th
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Quai François-Mauriac. 01 53 79 59 59.
In addition to a massive collection of books, the BNF hosts a variety of exhibitions, including photography and painting. The modern architecture of the building jumps out of the skyline and is worth seeing.
Air de Paris
32, rue Louise Weiss.
Originally established in Nice by owners Florence Bonnefous and Edouard Merino, Air de Paris moved to Paris in 1994 and has since become renowned for its edgy exhibitions, which can also be found at Air2Paris, a hot new experimental space opened in 2003.
20, rue Louise Weiss.
Opened in 2001, GB Agency is known for exhibitions of conceptual art that challenge the idea of the gallery as an artistic space.
In the 14th
261, blvd Raspail. 01 42 18 56 50.
A contemporary-art center, the Fondation Cartier was designed by the Paris-based architect Jean Nouvel in 1994, with the goal of blurring the boundaries between inside and out—seen in the huge green plants that overtake the interior of the boxy, clear-glass building.
In Neuilly sur Seine
24, rue de la Ferme. 06 87 06 58 26.
Founded in 2006 by Laurent Picard, an art director in the advertising industry, LO4ART is a mobile art gallery and agency that represents contemporary international artists through prestigious exhibitions at fun venues throughout Paris. In 2007 LO4ART partnered with the New York–based agency G&O Art, further enhancing its US portfolio of artists. This is great for a guaranteed fun night out!
LO4ART is a Girls’ Guide Travel Club member. Read more.
Where to Find More Galleries and Art Spaces
Rue de Seine, as you travel south from the Seine in the 6th Arrondissement, offers more of an Old World grouping of galleries, but there are a couple of interesting spots to peruse. Also look on rue Mazarine, rue Bonaparte and rue Jacob, nearby in the 6th.
There is an art center called Point Ephémère (200, Quai de Valmy, on the Canal St. Martin) that is quite hip, offering both art and music.
A new extremely large art center called 104 has opened far out in the 19th Arrondissement. Their aim is to allow artists to use the space there as long as they open up their ateliers for a certain number of hours each month. So you can go and see artists in action. They also have a small café as well as a few spaces that will have regular gallery shows. This is a new place that we expect to get better and better.
You can pick up Exporama, a handy guide to what’s showing at most of the more fashionable galleries in town, free at any gallery or Costes-owned restaurant or hotel.