I recommend Les visites particulières, which is a private tours agency in Paris.
They offer private guided excursions throughout several exceptional art locations in Paris. Their passionate guides open the doors of art galleries, foundations, museums, artist workshops and private collections of Paris.
Oh luxury, a personal driver is provided.
I've never lived such an experience anywhere. Paris is the capital of arts, I live there, and I didn't know there was so much beauty.
Take the train from the Gare-du-Nord to Auvers-sur-Oise where Van Gogh spent his last three months. Once there - walk up past the church and pretty backstreets to the cemetery where Van Gogh and his brother Theo are burried, taking in fabulous views of the town and familiar countryside. Carry on alongside the iconic cornfields and drop down into the Absinthe Museum (check opening times)before a delicious meal and genuine absinthe at the Auberge Ravoux where Van Gogh lived and worked. A wonderful day out whether into painting or not.
44 rue Callé, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise
+33(0)1 30 36 83 26
Google map: bit.ly/S6bB9a
Place de la Mairie, 95430 Auvers sur Oise
+33 (0)1 30 36 60 60
Google map: bit.ly/QH1Q10
Encompassing the best of contemporary Parisian culture, this great music venue was the staging ground for my initiation into Paris nightlife. Nestled between the Seine and the urban sprawl of north east Paris this venue caters to a young, arty crowd. In the day the Point Ephemere acts as a gallery showcasing installation art and photography. However, my girlfriend and I stumbled upon this place at night at which point the venue kicks into a higher gear letting rip with some of the best dance and electro music in Paris. We got down to a live set from Freestylers and witnessed a blistering gig with a frenzied crowd that was less propelled by booze and more energized by the atmosphere and people around them. For lovers of big beats, an electric atmosphere and friendly crowds the Point Ephemere is a must and should be your first stop on a night out in Paris.
The Louvre is well worth every cent of the admission price, but it is best to go in with some idea of what you'd most like to see. I'm an art history enthusiast with the stamina of a hiker, but spending a full day in the Louvre seems unfeasible to me: I'm willing to bet the sheer magnitude of the Louvre's collections will wear anyone's appreciation out in about three hours. Hence, grab a map, try to make sense of it and proceed towards the section that interests you the most. Leave while you're still amazed instead of overwhelmed and bored - and come back for more either in the next afternoon or on your next trip.
As for practicalities, the side entrance in the Richelieu wing is far less crowded than the main one under the pyramid. The Paris museum pass is very handy for skipping the ticket lines. It is also worth noting that not all of the many toilets marked on the map will be in working order, so if you come across one that is, best make use of it.
The first Sunday of the month is free, as everybody knows. Therefore, to avoid the crowds, the best time to go is on the day before - everyone's waiting for the free entry the next day!
We went on the Saturday and had the place to ourselves, apart from the usual crowd that is always gathered around the Mona Lisa. We went again on the Sunday and it was hideously busy. We didn't have to queue though: a nice security guard spotted our pushchair and let us jump the queue! It's a surprisingly child-friendly place, and of course the advantage of the free Sunday is that you can take the kids (they are always free on any day) and you haven't wasted the cost of your ticket if their behaviour is such that you have to leave after five minutes.
Every Saturday local artists sell their stuff at this great market. You can find all sorts - clothes, jewellery, photographs, paintings, sculptures. Even if you don't buy anything, it's great for a browse!
Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011, next to the Bastille
Hotel des Academies et des Arts is a three-star hotel in the heart of Paris. Usually whenever you're looking for art in general, you would go to a museum or an exhibition - in this case you just need to go to a hotel!
The French street-art artist Jerome Mesnager made this place his and had carte blanche to paint his 'white bodies' all over the hotel. Same thing with Sophie de Watrigant and two video artists. It is worth a look!
This is a comprehensive guide to all contemporary and modern art, both public and galleries, throughout Paris. Many hidden treasures and biogs of loads of artists. Great weekend with it.
Abbesses is best described as a little 'village' on the edge of central Paris, easily accessible by the metro and possibly my favorite place in the world.
When I first visited Paris I was so disappointed by what seemed to my untrained eye as just another grey city - too busy, too full and too confusing. The moment I stepped off the metro at Abbesses, I saw the Paris I had dreamed of - cobbled streets, little parks, beautiful buildings and most of all a calm yet creative and highly inspirational (to the artist in me) atmosphere.
I don't need to list off the best places to shop and eat here because it is all so compact, you can wander round for hours, without feeling exhausted, and discover the endless hidden gems of vintage stores and cafes that not only have the friendliest staff in the whole of Paris but one of which serves their coffee (or herbal tea if you prefer) in bowls! It's just the nicest, coolest place I've ever been to. Great for the young, and the young at heart.
Central Paris (Eurostar recommended, it just saves so much hassle!) Metro stop: Abbesses
Escape the culture vultures at the Louvre or Musee d'Orsay - head out to the 16th district for the Musee Marmottan.
There, in a peaceful mansion, you'll find the largest Monet collection anywhere. See the entire range of his work, culminating in the Giverny Nympheas, displayed in a wonderful circular gallery.
Admire works of many other Impressionists, including one of the few women, Berthe Morisot, Manet's sister-in-law. Easy to get to (four buses, metro), opposite a delightful park, near good, cheap restaurants - a day out of Paris, in Paris!
If you are under 26, you can visit the Louvre for free on Friday evenings. In an expensive city, this is more than just helpful euro-pinching.
You can arrive as the setting sun catches the top of the glass pyramid (making for the perfect ‘I heart Paris’ portrait) then dash to all the best bits while everyone is making their way out.
As you stand tête-à-tête with the Mona Lisa, you might finally realise what all the fuss is about.
I love this place, they always have some crazy exhibition going on, the shop is full of silly postcards and amazing art books. And the café is definitely worth a visit, go to the terrace outside for fantastic views over the Seine and the Tour d’Eiffel. They also organise special events with DJs and live bands.
Take the metro to Boulogne Pont de St-Cloud, and take a short walk to the Jardin Albert Kahn.
There are very attractive gardens and a little museum which has exhibitions of the photographs and films that he commissioned between 1909 - 1931. This remarkable man sent photographers to remote areas of the world to record the people and how they lived. There has recently been a documentary on television about him and the amazing collection.
It is possible to purchase postcards and posters in the small shop. Unfortunately, the salon de the in the Palm house is not open because the building needs urgent renovation, but there are bars and brasseries next to the metro entrances. This was a fascinating place to visit and is off the usual tourist trail. Highly recommended.
The Dapper Museum is small and beautifully formed. Although its name comes from a 17th century Dutch scholar, it suits it perfectly.
Tucked away on the rue Paul Valery in an architecturally stunning building, the museum features art from the African continent, focusing on single aspects of African art and culture in depth (e.g. Congolese sculpture, Gabon masks).
It also has a gift shop and a wonderful café that serves African dishes. While getting to know a city’s major museums can be hard work, the Dapper is a museum you can learn to love in an afternoon.
No trip to Paris is complete without some celluloid experience. Studio 28 (10 Rue de Tholoze) is undoubtedly one of the best places to watch film in Paris.
Opened in the twenties, its history is closely entwined with the avant garde. It has been upgraded, but keeps its original atmosphere thanks to the impressive light fittings by Cocteau.
The charming garden bar is well worth a visit on it own. If your French isn’t up to it, look out for VO (version originale) which means the film will be shown in its original language with French subtitles.
When time is short don't join the long queues at the front of the Louvre,by the Pyramid, and loose precious minutes, even hours.
It is easier to enter by the side door towards the rear.You can then walk round more quickly to see all the prime exhibits and be out in about an hour. Perfect for a day trip!
Shakespeare and Co. is the English language bookshop in the Latin Quarter, recently featured in the film Before Sunset. The shop sells rare books and offers a bed to aspiring writers and practising bohemians in return for a little work.
Former owners Sylvia Beach, publisher of Joyce’s Ulysses, and Marxist fleamarket devotee George Whitman may have passed on, but the shop still offers a window onto the Paris of the Modernists and the Beats.
On Sundays at three Paris’ Anglophone community gathers for tea, cake and bookish gossip.
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