Travel

France Museums and Galleries

Museum/Gallery city
Centre Pompidou
Place Georges-Pompidou, 4th
This postmodern building revolutionized the world of architecture—and turned the rarified concept of a museum into something that could be unintimidating and fun. Designed by Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Gianfrancho Franchini, the Centre Pompidou is marked by an exterior lined with colorful tubes that hold the center's plumbing, electric, and circulation systems—inside, it's just as interactive. Home to a public library, a center for music and acoustic research, and the Musee National d’Art Moderne, since its inception in 1977 some of the most important modern art in the world has graced its walls, including pieces from Dali, Pollock, Warhol, and Picasso.
Château de Versailles
Place d'Armes, Versailles
Located on the Western edge of Paris, which requires a brief train trip or drive, Louis XIV's over-the-top pleasure palace is so ridiculously ornate, you'll want to get dressed up for the occasion, if only because every surface is reflective, from the gilded mirrors to the glittery chandeliers. The gardens are just as impressive as the palace, and, in the summer, offers train rides, rowing, and biking. Don’t miss the Petit Trianon, which were Marie Antoinette’s private quarters. Photograph by Thomas Garnier
Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 Ave du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, 16th
Located in the Bois de Boulogne, Frank Gehry’s gleaming, some say boat-like structure for the Fondation Louis Vuitton is the latest gem to dot the Parisian architectural landscape. Though Bernard Arnault’s foundation opened late last year to much ado—mostly because of its splashy glass construction—it’s really only now that you get to see the collection. Currently, "The Keys to a Passion," packs a punch with major works of art by Edward Munch, Constantin Brancusi, and Matisse on loan from major institutions around the world. Since opening, the museum has been slowly revealing more of Arnault’s own collection—including contemporary works by Tacita Dean, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Bas Jan Ader—the third stage of which opens next month. The staged reveal makes a welcome excuse to return again and again. Photo: Iwan Baan. Courtesy Fondation Louis Vuitton.
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