There is not a better city for the lover of Art-with-a-capital-A than Paris. You could spend a lifetime exploring the Louvre, and you'd still have half of the museum to get to! And while the Louvre is grand—in every sense of the word—there is so much more to see in the Paris Art scene than just the beloved old standby. For a 24-hour extravaganza of Art in its european capitol, we'll take you to some of the lesser-known but worth-the-trek art hideouts around the city. Ready to get your art on? Let's go.
Take the morning to explore the Musee D'Orsay, with its grand collection of Impressionist and early Modern works from the likes of Monet, Manet, Klimpt, Degas, Picasso, Matisse and other big-hitters from the late 19th and early 20th century. These are pieces you'll be hard pressed to hunt down in the Louvre. The D'Orsay itself is a repurposed train station with remarkable architecture—exposed steel beams and glass everywhere, with a great old clock at one end—worth seeing just for the feeling of being transported back to the turn of the 20th century.
Insider's tip: start on the top floor for the Impressionist collection. The other floors house ancient and early Roman works, and in the interest of the time-and-tiredness-to-impressive-art ratio, we'd suggest skipping over them. If ancient artwork is your thing, then by all means, take a meander through the other three floors.
Before breaking for lunch, scoot over to the Rodin museum, located close to the Invalides metro station. There you can wander the garden of the beautiful old house and admire the statues of one of the 20th century's greatest sculptors.
Pack a small picnic lunch with you (a wedge of brie, a baguette, some fresh fruit) and meander as you snack, enjoying the grand bronzes and marbles, and marveling over the pristine landscape architecture.
After lunch, take the trip across town to the Picasso Museum , housed in the Hotel Sale, the beautiful 1659 Pierre Aubert mansion-turned-museum in the Marais. There you will find a collection of more than 3,000 works by Picasso (presented in a very well-curated, rotating display), which the artist donated at the end of his life.
This collection is balanced and complemented by Picasso's own collection of works by other artists, including Degas, Seurat, and Matisse. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Picasso museum is the amount of clear and informative information that accompanies the works of art, providing ample context and insight one might not encounter elsewhere.
Take a wander through the Marais, and stop for a bite to eat, gather your energy and prepare for the Pompidou.
Open late, the Centre Georges Pompidou is one of the largest Modern Art Museums in the world. Home to an epic collection of work from the 1880s through the present, the Pompidou has a reputation for curatorial excellence, as well as risk-taking. Whether you catch an exhibition of feminist art or a retrospective of Yves Kline, you'll be sure to walk away with a new appreciation of Modern Art. If you're a die-hard art lover, you should stop by their tremendous library on the 2nd floor. There you'll find almost any Art book ever published, and a slew of helpful librarians to assist you in finding whatever you need. Take a trip up the hamster-maze-esque escalators to the observation deck for one of the most breathtaking views of paris, from Montmartre to Montparnasse, and everything in between.
Before you start in on the museum's collection on display, ask the sales attendant about screenings of art cinema or live shows and concerts happening that evening. Tickets are very reasonable, and all of the shows there are designed to delight and inspire. Stop to refuel before the show at the museum's cafe, or step outside for a crepe at a nearby stand. Once the show is out, wander down to the river to Point Des Arts, where young people gather at night to sit with a bottle of wine or a guitar and friends for an evening on the bridge. Find your own corner and rest your museum legs.