Art Tripping: traveling with the intention of seeking art
It is impossible to avoid art in Paris. It is literally all around you–from graffiti to commissioned works to small but charming works in homes. Thus art tripping in Paris is a breeze.
If you are into graffiti, Paris is one of the major cities in the world that welcomes public expression, as you would expect in a city where rioting is practically a public art form. One of my favorite artists, Space Invader, can be seen all around the city. Space Invader is from Paris, so he manages to magically place tile mosaics in the most conspicuous of places. Look for his work near La Bastille, Le Concergerie, and pretty much anywhere around town. Less known graffiti artists generally work to impress through the medium of height, so don’t neglect looking upwards to see some impressive feats of graffiti.If you enjoy public art, look for the work of Niki de Saint Phalle, a Parisian sculptor. One of her most visible works is a fountain at Les Halles.
Impressionism seems to be one of the many art movements the world associates with Paris, and the museums of Paris do not disappoint the Impressionist fan. First, try the Orangerie (if it is not under construction) in the garden of the Tuileries. When the Orangerie is closed, many of the works move to the Musee d’Orsay, which is a muse-see museum in general, especially if you love painting and sculpture (and Rodin). If your interests extend into Realism (Le Courbet being a favorite) go to the Petit Palais, which houses a lovely collection that is not chronological and yet houses works that are chronologically relevant to each other.
For the intellectuals who seek conceptual art, the Centre Pompidou is a must. The Pompidou’s permanent collection contains Fountain by Duchamp, several Matisse’s, Rothko’s, Gursky’s, and other works by significant modern artists. The design of the Pompidou is High Tech, and the exterior escalator allows for spectacular views of Paris.The top level contains rotating exhibitions mostly from contemporary artists. The exterior courtyard of the Pompidou functions as a popular spot for performance art.
Of course, one cannot write about art in Paris without mentioning the Louvre. The Louvre has everything you want and, bonus, the design provides corn-maze-like entertainment. I can never seem to find particular works of art in the Louvre, but what I do manage to see, I love. The Louvre is for everyone, because it houses everything. If you love the Old Masters or the Baroque and Rococo, the Richelieu wing is divine.If your interests lie with the details of decorative art, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs is next to the Louvre in the Tuileries garden. This museum is more than one would expect. They have rotating exhibitions that vary- once I saw the history of cars there. Their collection of furniture and sculpture is overwhelming and decadent.
For those with architectural interests, Paris is a playground. A trip to Versailles is advised, and the trip to Poissy to see Villa Savoye is also not too long. Going to Montmartre to see Sacre Coeur and the view of Paris is just as important as seeing Paris form the Eiffel Tower. The interior of the Opera Garnier is one of my personal favorite spaces and is for those who love eclecticism and the Neo-Baroque.
The best way to come across art in Paris is to walk around. I recommend walking in graveyards to see sculptural works, especially the graveyards of Montmartre. Bring some comfy, yet fashionable, shoes and enjoy art as you walk through the streets of the historic art capital of the world: Paris.