48 Hours in Paris
A year ago we were sitting in our sweats watching "Emily in Paris", but this year we're taking over the city ourselves. Yes, we all enjoy long wine-filled evenings and beautiful strolls along the Seine, but it’s the Parisian art that steals the show. Find some of our best art tips for this summer in Paris below.
Bourse de Commerce
After months of anticipation, the long-awaited museum of Francois Pinault: Bourse de Commerce has opened its doors! The museum is housed in a historic 19th-century commercial trading building near the Louvre and across the Centre Pompidou with its inside being completely revamped by famous architect Tadao Ando, the same man behind Pinault’s existing museums in Venice, Chateau La Coste & Art Island Naoshima. Pinault’s private collection fills 10 exhibition spaces, centering around a wax replica of the 16th-century Giambologna statue “The Abduction of the Sabine Women.” Created by Swiss artist Urs Fischer, it was set alight at the museum’s opening on Saturday, May 22nd and will burn for six months, leaving nothing behind. All works in the center space are made of wax and are alight — Bourse de Commerce will literally keep the fire burning all summer long.
For more information, please visit pinaultcollection.com.
A tip from an Art Fixer: When tickets are sold out, get a membership (35 for one and €60 for 2 persons). One of the benefits is that you are granted unlimited direct access to the museum.
El Anatsui in La Conciergerie
Remember El Anatsui, the artist who makes amazing tapestries out of bottle caps, from our episode on Contemporary Crafts? For La Conciergerie, a former medieval royal palace which became a prison during the Revolution, El Anatsui designed an immersive exhibition “Looking for Freedom” that echoes the history of the space in which it is housed. In the middle of the imposing columns of the Conciergerie, two video installations feature rivers, referencing the two arms of the river Seine that surround the Cité Island. These video installations rest on railway tracks, evoking the journey. On the sides, fifty or so rocks are placed on which one can sit to meditate and become a living part of the installation. In the fireplaces and on the walls hang six El Anatsui tapestries created with bottle caps. A truly magical exhibition.
For more information, please visit paris-conciergerie.fr.
Damien Hirst at Fondation Cartier
“Cherry Blossoms” is Damien Hirst’s first museum exhibition in France. The Cherry Blossoms series reinterprets, with playful irony, the traditional subject of landscape painting. Hirst combines thick brushstrokes and elements of gestural painting, referencing both the Impressionism of Monet, as well as the Action Painting of Jackson Pollock. After devoting three full years to the series, Damien Hirst finished the Cherry Blossoms series in November 2020 : “[The pandemic] has given me a lot more time to live with the paintings, and look at them, and make absolutely certain that everything’s finished.”
For more information, please visit fondationcartier.com.
Alicja Kwade, Louise Nevelson and Ugo Rondinone at Kamel Mennour
If there’s two artists from our second episode on sculptures “Can I Touch It?” in one gallery, it must be fun. Add Louise Nevelson to Ugo Rondinone and Alicja Kwade, and it certainly can’t go wrong.
For more information, please visit kamelmennour.com.
Francis Alÿs at David Zwirner
“Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River” is an exhibition of works by Belgian-born, Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs. It relates to an action that took place simultaneously on opposite shores of the Strait of Gibraltar. On an appointed day in 2008, a line of local children, each holding a small boat fashioned from a shoe, assembled on the beach in Tarifa, Spain and a counterpart line of children holding shoe-boats gathered on the beach in Tangier, Morocco.
Attempting to bridge not only continents but also cultures, the two lines of giggling children waded into the waves, trying to move toward each other, while the tide relentlessly pulls them back to the shore, in an effort to answer the question posed by Alÿs: “Will the two lines meet in the chimera of the horizon?”
For more information, please visit davidzwirner.com.
À Bras Ouverts at Galleria Continua
Located on a street corner near the Pompidou Centre, the newest venue of the Italian gallery is still in a raw state. “The space will remain open during the renovations so that people can participate in its renewal,” Lorenzo, one of the founders of the gallery says. “It’ll be a lively project with a cafe, a shop, a library, artists’ talks and poetry readings.” Here you’ll find an exhibition titled “A Bras Ouverts”, translating to With Open Arms. The exhibition celebrates the reopening of cultural places in France and shows works by the artists of the gallery: Etel Adnan, Leila Alaoui, Hans Op de Beeck, Nedko Solakov, Daniel Buren, Chen Zhen, JR, Pascale Marthine Tayou. A real lift-me-up exhibition.
For more information, please visit galleriacontinua.com.
Hiroshi Sugimoto at Marian Goodman
Japanese photographer and architect Hiroshi Sugimoto is one not to miss when in Paris. The Exhibition “Opticks” was created by capturing the photographic transcription of colors as revealed when light passes through an optical glass prism. “Opticks is essentially a series shot using a Polaroid camera, capturing the light that Newton refracted using a prism.
The Polaroids were digitally scanned, flaws were cleaned up and the tone was adjusted. In other words, I resorted partially to digital means in order to erase the visual noise. In my mind, I was quite conscious that I was creating paintings using photons,” says the artist.
For more information, please visit mariangoodman.com.
Louise Bourgeois at Karsten Greve
One of the most extraordinary exhibitions in the Marais is the one of Louise Bourgeois. This museum-like retrospective is made of pieces from 1946 to 2007 which were acquired directly by Mr Greve during their 30 year collaboration.
The theme of the couple is at the center of Louise’s work and is represented in this show by two fountains which connect to each other through a water pipe. Her textile totems are soft and remind us of her upbringing in her parents tapestry restoration studio.
For more information, please visit galerie-karsten-greve.com.
Sean Scully at Thaddaeus Ropac
Sean Scully, the father of contemporary abstraction, has done it again! “Entre ciel et terre”, translating to Between Heaven and Earth, is an exhibition created predominantly during the pandemic. The paintings suggest a connection with nature and an inner world of memory in troubled times. As the exhibition indicates, his art hovers between two realms: the terrestrial, conveying a sense of materiality, rawness and sensuality, and the celestial, opening onto the infinite.
For more information, please visit ropac.net.
Yan Pei-Ming at Thaddaeus Ropac
While in recent years Yan Pei-Ming’s practice has been characterised by his inspirations drawn from the works of other painters – including Velasquez, Courbet and Rembrandt, this exhibition marks the artist’s return to his own style. Created in recent months, the self-portraits and still-lifes in this exhibition are emotionally charged with the feelings of constriction and solitude that were experienced during the artist’s confinement. If you’re looking to do some self-reflection on the last year, this exhibition has your name on it.
For more information, please visit ropac.net.
JR at Place du Trocadéro
JR has done it again! Art Fix’s favorite artist, who will soon open two new exhibitions in London and New York, has dropped another fantastic work of public art right in the middle of Paris. This art installation creates an optical illusion of the Eiffel Tower by covering over part of Place du Trocadéro, one of the most popular vantage points in town. The vision is of two enormous cliffs on either side of a busy street far down below that leads straight to the monument. Keen to live life a little more on the edge? Head to JR’s latest piece.
And as if the Eiffel Tower installation wasn’t enough, JR treats us to another pasting in the same week: a self portrait on the wall of Le Rouquet!
This is one of Art Fix’s fave Parisian hot spots. The food is exceptional, creative, fresh and full of flavour. The perfect spot to indulge in some shared food — order the Crispy Salmon Sushi and the Black Truffle & Fontina Cheese Pizza.
The terrace everybody is talking about: The latest Paris Society project, led by Laurent de Gourcuff, opened at the foot of the Palais de Tokyo. Arranged as an ode to la dolce vita, the Bambini restaurant combines fresh pasta, homemade pizzas and cocktails.
One of the most charming restaurants in Paris. The terrace is great, with plants all around and a beautiful view of the back of Sainte-Clotilde Basilique. The interior of the restaurant has Art Deco decoration. And most importantly: the food is excellent!
They say it’s never too early for a glass of wine in Paris – so head over to this lovely wine bar meets lunch spot to make the most of that. Try the roasted pumpkin and stracciatella salad.
Looking for a pick me up after a full day of art? Head to the quaint Sur Mer for fresh oysters and French wine. Make a reservation as space is limited.
In the summer, perch in the semi-open back seating area to enjoy a moment of quiet at this café — and some superbly roasted and brewed coffee.
Looking to get your caffeine fix pre-gallery hopping? Check out Café Strada, a charming coffee shop tucked away on Rue du Temple at the edge of the Marais. The space is decidedly unpretentious, with eclectic furniture, local artwork, and a busy front counter.
A small, simple café for the best coffee. We recommend enjoying a café crème in-house adjacent to the Palais Royal or take it to go and go for a stroll through the lush gardens and covered galleries. Do not skip the inner courtyard with the Colonnes de Buren featuring 280 black-and-white, striped columns in varying heights.
Hotel National des Arts et Metiers
This buzzy hotel is known for its rooftop bar hosting a rare 360-degree view over the capital. It’s great for all times of the day – from a morning coffee to a pre-dinner cocktail. The rooms are of Parisian size but even our tallest Art Fixer was comfortable.
All sporty Art Fixers — this one’s for you. This hotel in the heart of Paris is built around a 46-meter heated outdoor pool and a 33-meter indoor swimming pool. Conveniently located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, the Molitor is also a short walk from the very exclusive and internationally known Roland Garros tennis stadium.
Hotel des Grands Boulevards
Perfectly located between Opera and Le Marais, this is the most wonderful place to rest up for your art adventure. Only 10 minutes from Gare du Nord, this boutique hotel is a perfect compliment to your weekend of culture.
We give five stars to the decor of the legendary Hotel Costes in Rue Saint Honoré, which has a new addition decorated by minimalist decorator Christian Liaigre and is truly worth a visit. This new addition is totally the opposite of Jacques Garcia’s opulent bar with lowlights and the famous ground floor restaurant. Still the coolest place to be seen brimming with celebs.
Installed in a former art gallery, this concept store features a cool selection of brands from all over the world. Brought over from Seoul in 2004, you’ll find brands like Maison Margiela, Loewe, and Dries van Noten. The space has an artistic feel to it, with the staff saying it’s “a way of upgrading clothes, to show them via art”.
A Parisian institution — this concept store is housed in a reconfigured 19th-century fabric factory. From baby clothes to interior pieces, all trends are shown in real life settings, between other items and draped on real pieces of furniture.
A weekend in Paris is not complete without a visit to the new(ish) Galerie LaFayette on the Champs-Elysées. Located inside an art Deco-style building transformed by architect Bjarke Ingels, the selection promises the best of fashion, food and lifestyle ranges. For a pick-me-up, grab a coffee at Jacquemus’ Citron cafe or some dumplings from Little Zhao in the food court in the basement.
For our final tip, we recommend downloading the app Step — the world’s first global culture map. Follow local Parisians and creatives to find the hottest places they’ve “stepped”. The perfect companion for your last-minute unplanned moments in Paris. Download the app here.