Not only does Paris, city of light and romance, offer its visitors a wealth of paintings and sculptures in the city’s many museums, it also treats them to hidden art gems all over town. Simply walking around Paris is a joy for the architecture and history. Art is all around you in Paris says former tour guide Natascha Gordeau.
An artistic entrance
When you think about art in Paris, the metro may not be what first comes to mind. But Paris wouldn’t be Paris without its metro stations. Some of the entrances are a work of art in their right, as is the famous Metro sign, marking many of the entrances.
The famous sign is even on display at one of Paris’ most famous museums, the Musée d’Orsay. This former train station houses a large collection of impressionist works from renowned artists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir and Degas. However, at the museum’s central level a wing is dedicated to the Art Nouveau movement.
In 1900, Paris held the Exposition Universelle, a world fair. To be able to transport the many visitors, the city created the metro system. Hector Guimard, a famous French architect at the time who was responsible for several large restoration projects all over France, was asked to create an entrance that would make it inviting for people to go underground and use the new form of transport. Guimard designed the still present green Metro sign.
The Kiosque des Noctambules
In 2000, to mark the metro’s centennial year, French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, known for his monumental glass and aluminium sculptures, was asked to create a work of art for the metro. Two glass and aluminium balled crowns can be found on top of the Palais Royal metro entrance near the Louvre museum. The ray of blue, red and yellow glass balls are known as the Kiosque des Noctambules.
A futuristic metro station
The Arts et Métiers metro station is a piece of art on its own, named for the eponymous museum you can find above ground. It’s unique interior makes this a place worth visiting. Its Steampunk style, copper-covered walls, and submarine style windows, pays homage to a fictional form of art that refers to a time where steam power was still the main source.
Street art in Montmartre
When you’re looking to find a picture perfect place in Paris, Montmartre is your go to area. Its cobbled streets and gorgeous architecture are striking. Wander the Rue des Trois Frères, ‘street of the three brothers’. Under the typical blue and green street sign three red and orange coloured smiling sculptured monkeys by famous street artist Zorm look down at you. These fun monkeys can be seen in other cities all over France.
Street art at the Moulin de la Galette
Sacré Coeur, Place du Tertre… the landmarks of Montmartre are many. The Moulin de la Galette, now a restaurant, was in the late 1800’s, the centre of all the buzz, dance and fun. Its lively vibe inspired several artists including one of Renoir’s most famous paintings, the Bal du Moulin de la Galette.
Across the street from the former windmill, you can find a colourful graffiti painting that perfectly captures the lively atmosphere that lures visitors to visit Montmartre and full under its spell
Former tour guide, Natascha Gordeau has a huge passion for travel, photography and storytelling. Living in the Netherlands she never misses an opportunity to travel to France where her ancestors are from. instagram.com/tash_travel_pics/