A Week of Paris Art
7 days of Art with Flora
Update: Sept 2022 (c)
When you have an entire week to visit a city, it gives you the opportunity to really take in everything the place has to offer. That’s especially true if you focus on a single thing — like art.
But Paris is something else entirely.
It is a city where devoting an entire week to viewing even the most elite art available would not be enough. Visiting Paris to view its art is like drinking from a waterfall. Even when you look at everything you possibly can, you will miss much more than you get.
So, if you want a week of art in Paris, you’ll want to be strategic. You’ll want to have a plan.
You need a mixture, something that gives you a taste of old and new. You want to make sure you get the can’t-miss artwork, as well as some of the treasures buried a little bit deeper. What’s more, you want to be realistic.
The following is one such plan — a starting point to see what a week perusing Original Parisian art might look like.
Start by Dali
Monday, or whatever your first full day is, needs to be a bit of a relaxed affair. You’ll have just finished traveling, and you might be battling some jet lag. For that reason, you don’t want to over schedule yourself.
So we begin in Montmartre. Why? Because there are so many good places to sit and relax. You can take in the Parisian vibes while eating delicious food with your feet up.
For your first stop, why not visit Dalí Paris? This museum contains 300 privately sourced works that all give you the strangeness we’ve come to know simply as Dalí. This place includes prints and paintings, as well as sumptuous furniture designed by the Spanish King of Surrealism.
It’s just the jolt of high weirdness you need to get your blood flowing and start your trip off on the right foot. Afterward, you can stroll down the cobblestone streets to find a nice cafe to sip java and try to piece together what you saw in there.
Taking in the romance of Montmartre through a long lunch, it’s time to get back at it. The Musée de Montmartre is definitely a strong choice for your next visit.
The museum is inside a series of buildings that once housed many fantastic Paris painters like Suzanne Valadon, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among many others. The museum’s collection not only delivers great artwork, but also photographs and other primary source materials that show the bohemian history of the area.
For more special tours of Montmartre area, it is possible to join Charlotte's Wine tasting in Montmartre
Best museums for Impressionist Art
Jet lag should be letting up a bit, and you might be feeling yourself a little more. So it’s time to stretch your wings and do something more ambitious.
The Musée d'Orsay has an impeccable collection of French art made from 1848 to 1914, holding some of the greatest pieces from the Belle Époque.
The museum sits in an unbelievable building that once played home to a railway station. Those structural features, like the main hall domed in glass with a prominent clock, make this a deeply charming and apt setting for the artwork.
Almost directly across the Seine from the Musée d'Orsay is another unbelievable display of Impressionist (and Post-Impressionist) artwork — the Musée de l'Orangerie, where the royal orange trees were once grown.
Here you can find work by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and the like, but it is the heart-stopping display of eight enormous Water Lilies by Claude Monet that make this museum absolute bliss. The Water Lilies are presented in an infinity sign shaped room designed in part by Monet himself.
Versailles Museum and Gardens
The jet lag is a mere memory. The energy of Paris is now thrumming within you. And so, it’s time to make a day-long voyage beyond the city to the storied grounds of Versailles.
The name alone sends the imagination into loops in the air. One can close their eyes and see the marble busts, the enormous painted ceilings, the delectable architectural details, and the perfectly manicured lawns reaching out into the distance.
It also happens to be a thriving art museum in its own right — boasting 60,000 objects that have a royal palace for a home.
First Louvre visit & Ile de la Cité
It’s finally time to begin our two-day odyssey through the Louvre. Yes, that’s right, two days. Why? Because the Louvre is simply too big, too important to rush.
We start on a Thursday because it is, by the standards of the most visited museum in the world, slow in the morning. For that reason, we’ll make sure to go early and find other things to do for the afternoon.
Thursdays are about as slow as the Louvre ever gets. So this is the time to see the big name pieces. This includes masterpieces like Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa.
It’s also a great opportunity to get up close to delicately created treasures like Johannes Vermeer’s The Lacemaker and appreciate pieces in high traffic areas like Victory of Samothrace.
With the first morning of the Louvre under our belts, it’s time to make the 15 minute drive to Notre-Dame. This cathedral is open to visitors till 6:45 pm during the week. That would give you plenty of time to take in its moving presence.
Plus, you’ll be on the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine, which has plenty of other magnificent sights to show you. A can’t miss pairing is the Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic chapel created 100 years after Notre-Dame.
The Louvre again : Visit the hidden masterpieces
This is the day we wrap up our Louvre experience and build in a little downtime. That way, we can make the most of the weekend.
Friday Full Day
Friday morning isn’t the busiest that the Louvre will get, but it will usually be busier than Thursday. That’s why it’s a good day to go to a section that you really want to focus on. You won’t need to cover much ground, and you can take more time with each piece.
Whatever piques your interest, this is the time to luxuriate in it, not having to stress about seeing all the headline pieces you saw the day before.
Le Marais for Art lover
Saturday is all about the Marais. This is where I live by the way.
It is an amazing place for the lover of art to spend their time and money on shopping.
For the Moderns, they have everything from Marcel Duchamp, Robert Delauney, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, to Francis Bacon. And for the Contemporaries, they have major names like David Hockney, Andy Warhol, John Cage, Roy Lichtenstein, and Yves Klein.
For the second part of the day, it’s off to the Musée National Picasso-Paris, which houses an enormous amount of both artwork and personal archive material from the great Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.
When you are finished looking through the collection, the Marais presents a great place to walk and take in the fabulous architecture — as this was the aristocratic center of the city for centuries.
Afterwards, you can check out the many galleries in the area.
Sunday will no doubt take on a bittersweet sadness as we contemplate the end of our journey. But given it is the end, it’s now a perfect time to soak in those last few Paris highlights...
The final day begins with the Musée Rodin. Perhaps the greatest sculptor, this museum in the Hôtel Biron boasts well over 6,000 of his sculptures and tens of thousands of other items. The collection has expanded beyond Rodin to include works by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and others.
When you are done, you can easily lunch at the Champ de Mars under the Eiffel Tower. You knew your trip would have to pass by this legend at some point!
Only a few minutes away from the Eiffel Tower is the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris. This trip rounds out the week nicely, giving you a final look at some of the best art made in the last century or so.
The complex is punctuated by major murals and an extravagant layout created for 1937’s International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life.
It is here in this grand cathedral made to celebrate art that those last hours in Paris can be enjoyed.
Seven Days of Art
Need a quality tour guide in Paris?
The above itinerary leaves out so many wonderful experiences and works of art, but it definitely gets you a nonstop, whirlwind exposure to all the masterpieces the city has to show you. You’ll just have to keep coming back to Paris to see it all.
When you have a plan and know where to go, it turns out that you can see so much in seven days. And there’s no city like Paris to do it in!