Contemporary art afficionados visiting Paris should go to the newly renovated Palais de Tokyo – which is as enjoyable for the often cryptic art it showcases as for the building’s architecture itself. Designed by architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, it’s conceived as a bit as a art ‘hub’ so you can not only see art but also skate, read, eat and drink until midnight at the nice outdoor bar or one of its two excellent restaurants (the upscale Monsieur Bleu and the affordable canteen Tokyo Eat).
Unlike other galleries where there are clearly defined parametres between the opening and closing of exhibitions the Palais de Tokyo appears to be in a continual state of flux, with exhibitions coming up and seemingly disbanding in an organic sort of a way which creates all kinds of quandries for the visitor. (Q: Is that an art work or a rubbish pile? A: Rubbish pile.) We love the perversely dystopian feel to the architecture – it’s like somebody imported a crumbling cultural institute from Detroit and inserted it into this elegant 1930s art deco building.
Also make sure you check out what’s on at La Fondation Louis Vuitton, an equally spectacular premise designed by Frank Gehry on the edge of the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne that brings a touch of NYC-cool to the Paris art scene. La Fondation showcases artworks owned by the luxury brand and founder Bernard Arnault as well as site-specific installations and performances by leading contemporary artists.
Palais de Tokyo
13 avenue du Président-Wilson
Closed on Tuesdays.
Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 rue du Mahatma Gandhi
Open daily 9am-9pm