Paris has hundreds of relatively unknown little galleries, crammed full of exciting new exhibitions, young artists and exclusive showings. Perfect if you’re on vacation with a family who don’t want to be taken round the Louvre. The fun thing is that they are often hidden in leafy courtyards behind imposing wooden doors, adding an element of discovery to the experience. So if you get to the address only to find the door is closed, press the buzzer and push!
Let’s start with the smallest first. The Nivet-Carzon gallery is the size of a postage stamp. You could have a good close-up look of every piece and not have to move your feet. They exhibit mostly contemporary art, for example they’re currently showing Woody Allen versus Monkey Alien. I won’t say any more, you’ll just have to see it for yourself…
2 Rue Geoffroy l’Angevin, 75004
The Passage des Gravilliers has three galleries packed into one little courtyard, one of which is the Isabelle Gounod gallery. You don’t need an invitation to go to any of the vernissages (opening nights) so pop along and mingle with Paris’ art crowd.
13 Rue Chapon, 75003
Remember those closed doors I mentioned earlier? The Daniel Templon gallery is hiding behind one on the Rue Beaubourg, a stone’s throw from the Pompidou Centre. So you have the choice between queuing for hours to see Lichtenstein, or breezing around an empty room looking at pieces by David La Chapelle. Here’s a video to tempt you : http://youtu.be/cP8uo9P9370
30 Rue Beaubourg, 75003
Full marks go to the gorgeous little courtyard that you’d walk straight past if you weren’t looking for the Georges-Philippe and Nathalie Vallois gallery on the Rue de Seine. Each time I’ve been here the staff have been really friendly and happy to explain the exhibitions. They are particularly keen on nouveaux réaliste art.
36 rue de Seine, 75006
Moving away from the busy parts of Paris, there’s a little gem located in the 14th arrondissment, just down the road from Montparnasse station and the theater district at Gaité. The Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation (NOT the Cartier Foundation, which is fantastic but crowded) is tucked down a side street. They exhibit photography, paintings and sculptures. The space, set over two floors, is light and airy, and the sound of a children’s playground next door makes you feel a million miles away from Parisian petrol fumes and car horns.
2 Impasse Lebouis, 75014
If these little galleries give you a taste for the big ones, be smart and Skip-the-Line with us!