Paris The City Where the Past Meets the Future

Paris is such a city that the expectations created by its name alone can cause a psychological syndrome. The “Paris Syndrome”, which at least 20 tourists suffer from every year, can sometimes even turn into a psychosis. Tourists, mostly Japanese, attribute so much hope, excitement and perfection to this city that the homeless people shouting on the streets of the real Paris, the queue in front of the Eiffel Tower that will take you several hours and the crowded subway lines that do not have a pleasant smell damage their neurology.

Even if it’s not right to pin this level of hope on any city, if one city represents excitement and hope for me, it would definitely be Paris. Regardless of the earth tremors (after all, one is human everywhere, even in the city of lights), I have never met a city as thought-provoking as Paris. On the walls of every street are handwritten words of encouragement: “Le monde est si petite, Ne gâchez jamais votre présent, L’amour va tout sauver…*” One can put a smile on one’s face as one walks, accompanied by the kind words of those who have the same difficulties as oneself. Street art is all around you. You can earn points when you take a photo of the pixelated installations of a street artist called Invader and upload it, just like a game, thanks to an app you download to your phone. Or John Hamon, who is famous for hanging his own photographs all over the city, can become the main subject of an exhibition where photography is reinterpreted with the inspiration of different art movements. In short, this city is full of humor, thoughtfulness and art. From the Cafe de Flore, where Picasso and Simone de Beauvoir may have crossed paths, to Jef Aerosol with its famous Dali graffiti, Paris is a magical city where the past and the future fall in love with each other.

*The world is so small, never waste your present, love will save everything.

Let’s take a look at the places where Paris has a full presence in the field of culture and art:

Bourse de Commerce

Bourse de Commerce

Through its exhibitions and events, the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection embodies the collection of contemporary works assembled by the businessman and collector François Pinault over the last fifty years. Drawing on the richness and diversity of the collection of more than 10,000 works by around 350 artists, the artistic and cultural program of the Bourse de Commerce is based on regularly renewed temporary exhibitions: thematic exhibitions, monographic projects and “cartes blanches” are on view in the museum galleries throughout the year.

Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum is a unique museum in Paris, where more than three thousand Picasso works and Picasso’s art collection have been exhibited since 1985.

Located in the Marais district of Paris, in the “Hotel Salé”, which means “Salty Building”, the museum has changed hands several times and has been used for different purposes. It became the Venetian embassy in 1671 and a school building in 1815. The famous French novelist Balzac also studied in this building when it was a school. Acquired by the Municipality of Paris in 1964, the building was designated a historical monument in 1968 and restored between 1974 and 1980. Following a competition, Roland Simounet was commissioned to design the museum sections in 1976.

Picasso Museum

Pablo Picasso described himself as “the greatest collector of his own works”. He also had an art collection that included paintings by artists such as Cezanne, Degas and Matisse, as well as New Guinea masks and bronze sculptures from Iberia. The museum exhibits both Picasso’s works and works from Picasso’s private collection.

Maison Européenne de la Photographie (la MEP)

Maison Européenne de la Photographie (la MEP)

The MEP’s collections represent work in international photography from the 1950s to the present day. The museum, which includes works by some of the most historic names in photography as well as leading figures of the contemporary scene, opened in February 1996 and is run by the association “Paris Audiovisuel – Maison Européenne de la Photographie”. It features exhibitions by important names in the world of contemporary photography such as Coco Capitan and Harley Weir.

Centre Pompidou

One of the architectural icons of Paris, the Centre Pompidou was co-designed in the 70s by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, who were still at the beginning of their careers. Today, the Centre Pompidou is one of the most important art centers in Paris, housing contemporary artworks from around the world. Originally built in 1971 by Piano and Rogers after winning an international competition organized at the request of then French President Georges Pompidou, the building was completed in 1977 and has been one of the most important buildings in Paris – and in modern architecture – ever since.

Centre Pompidou

Like the Centre Pompidou itself, the Museum is always on the move, regularly renovating its rooms and wall hangings to showcase its permanent collection of modern and contemporary art as well as new acquisitions, artists or works on the margins of art history, to share new critical readings, to awaken and stimulate new views.

Cultural Centers of Countries

Even the centers of countries from all over the world are different in Paris. Everyone wants to be able to bring their culture to the streets of Paris in the most sophisticated way, and to leave a trace of their country in the vibrant art scene.

Le Centre culturel suisse

Some of the cultural centers you should definitely visit are the Institut suédois, Centre culturel suisse and Institut du monde car. The cultural centers of Sweden, Switzerland and the Arab world, like other cultural institutes, occasionally host exhibitions of artists from their home countries, organize symposiums and leave a piece of themselves in the multinational cultural fabric of Paris.

Louis Vuitton Foundation

The building was inaugurated on October 24, 2014, the culmination of nearly 25 years of commitment to art, culture and heritage by the LVMH corporate group. Designed by Frank Gehry, the building is so grand and inspiring that the Open Space program, which runs from 2018, encourages students and international artists to create works inspired by the building.

Louis Vuitton Foundation

The foundation’s museum, which includes exhibitions of major names in modern art such as Egon Schiele, Andy Warhol and Basquiat, is also committed to including international exhibitions with artists from every continent of the world.

Louvre Museum

The Louvre, in full the Louvre Museum or Musée du Louvre in French, France’s national museum and art gallery, is located in Paris in part of a large palace built in the 12th century on the right bank of Philip Augustus’ castle. With a collection ranging from ancient civilizations to the mid-19th century, it is the most visited art museum in the world.

Louvre Museum. Photo: Getty Images

If you intend to visit the Louvre, I strongly recommend you to draw a route where you can visit cult works such as Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa without missing them. Some art enthusiasts can even spend 4-5 days at the Louvre. Believe me, a road map you draw for yourself before you visit will reduce your confusion in one of the biggest museums in the world.

Orsay Museum

Orsay Museum

In addition to its building having a rather unusual story, the Orsay is today one of the largest art museums in Europe. Located in the center of Paris, on the banks of the Seine, opposite the Tuileries Gardens, the museum was built on the site of the former Orsay train station, built for the 1900 Universal Exposition. The building itself can therefore be seen as the first “work of art” in the Musee d’Orsay, where art collections from the period from 1848 to 1914 are on display.

Gardens and Parks

Although it resembles a movie set with its historical buildings, Paris is one of the few metropolises in the world. For this reason, it can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially as the world’s most popular tourist destination. Don’t overlook the Luxembourg Gardens, Tuileries or Champ de Mars parks to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the elaborate landscaping with its beautifully colored flowers in spring.


Café de Flore

One of the activities that the French, who have spread the café culture all over the world, know how to do best is to sip their coffee while watching passers-by and contemplating. In fact, their exchanges of ideas with their companions led to the materialization of very important ideas by very important intellectual geniuses. Iconic cafés like Café de Flore and its rival Les Deux Magots should definitely be among your Paris stops.

Musée de l’Orangerie

Located in the Tuileries gardens, the Musée de l’Orangerie is best known for Monet’s Water Lilies, but it also houses a collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. The Musée de l’Orangerie can be considered an entry point into the 20th century, something you don’t often find in Paris.

Musée de l’Orangerie

This colorful collection owes nothing to coincidence. The works on display at the Musée de l’Orangerie come from the Walter-Guillaume collection, two art collectors whose treasures were purchased by the state for public viewing in this national museum in the 1st arrondissement. It includes the post-impressionist collections of Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume and paintings by Matisse, Renoir, Cezanne, Derain, Rousseau, Modigliani, Laurencin, Utrilo and Picasso. In addition to these permanent collections, the art gallery also presents temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

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