Art and Architecture Tours of Paris
Meeting Mona Lisa and The Thinker
France is a wonderful vacation destination for everyone, but for art and history buffs, Paris is a destination like no other. Here you will find the Louvre Museum which, as the most visited museum in the world, needs little introduction.
Home to the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ Une Odalisque, the Louvre also houses an excellent collection of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Islamic art.
Lovers of Impressionist and Expressionist art will enjoy the Musée d’Orsay, on the Left Bank of the Seine. Why not spend a day in the company of the giants of the Impressionist and Expression era. Monet, Manet, Gogh, Degas, and Gauguin are all here, and the best way to meet them is with a private guided tour who will fascinate and entertain you with tales of the eventful lives of these past masters.
These are but two of Paris’ most celebrated art museums. There are many others including the National Museum of Modern Art at Centre Pompidou, the medieval Musée de Cluny and the beloved Musée Rodin, the garden of which is a splendid place to spend a quiet hour or two.
The Architecture of la Ville Lumière
Art lovers flock to Paris art galleries for the treasures they hold, but the building themselves are often works of art and historical importance. The Louvre, for example, started its long history in 1190, as a fortified garrison, sited, as it was at the time, at the outer limits of the city. It has been a royal residence, a seat of power and home of French heads of state until 1870.
The Musee D’Orsay although much more recent is also housed in an iconic building – the old Gare d’Orsay railway station, designed by architect Victor Laloux in 1897. And the Picasso Museum is housed in a 17th century Marais mansion.
With its flying buttresses, ribbed vaults and rose windows, Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral is a wonderful example of French Gothic architecture. Another famous feature of Notre Dame is the menagerie of gargoyles and grotesques that inhabit the exterior walls.
You can get a very spiritual appreciation of Notre Dame by attending a classical concert there to experience the compositions of Beethoven or Bach, an organ recital or an evening of Gregorian chants ring round its mighty stone walls.
Paris has examples of architecture that span every period from the Middles Ages to modern day including Gothic, French Renaissance, Classical, Belle Epoque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and postmodern.
Contemporary Architecture of Paris
Enthusiasts of modern architecture have much to see in Paris too. A good example is Le Grande Arche in the La Défense district of Paris, originally designed by the architect Johan Otto V. Spreckelsen and renovated by Valode & Pistre.
This modern architectural landmark is part of the “historical axis” of Paris, also known as the “Triumphal Way”. The historical axis runs from the Louvre all the way up the Champs Elysees and past the Arc de Triomphe before ending at the Grande Arche.
Another contemporary gem is the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac which houses an impressive collection of indigenous art and its lovely winding gardens, designed by Gilles Clement. Botanist Patrick Blank created the vertical garden which includes 15,000 plants from Japan, China, the Americas and Central Europe.
Getting the best from your art tour of Paris
Paris itself is a treasure chest, and the best way to appreciate all her riches is by appointment with a private guide. Discuss the elements of France’s vast art collections and history that interest you the most with an experienced expert. Decide how many days you want to spend in the City of Lights and what other aspects of this spectacular destination you want to enjoy. Then sit back and let our experience Paris guides custom plan an itinerary for you.
The art galleries and architecture of Paris are fascinating but while in Paris, it would be a shame not to enjoy some of the other attractions of this beautiful city. Here are a few ideas that you might wish to discuss with your travel expert.
France has many excellent five star hotels, but there is a select few that are given an even higher accolade, called Palace Hotels. Le Meurice, Le Royal Monceau Raffles and the Shangri-La Paris are all great examples of this exclusive breed.
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week happens twice each year in venues throughout the city. Big names such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy will show their collections in the most prestigious locations such as the Louvre or the Espace Eiffel while the shows of lesser known designers can be found in trendy nightclubs or urban locations.
Dining Out in Paris
You will build up a good appetite as you roam the city’s famous galleries and where better to satisfy your hungry than in Paris, one of the greatest culinary destinations in the world. Street cafes, patisseries, salon du the and fabulous five-star Michelin starred restaurants, all await your pleasure.
If you are in Paris to see it’s wonderful collection of old masters, then you must send at least one night in Montemarte where the spirit of many artists and writers lives on including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Salvador Dali
Impressions of Normandy
Birthplace of Impressionism, resting place of allied soldiers of WWI and WWII, home of the Bayeux Tapestry, Calvados brandy, Camembert cheese, beautiful beach resorts and the best dairy in France. What is not to love about Normandy?