8 Must-Visit Independent Art Galleries in Paris
One of the world’s foremost art capitals, Paris has long been the art aficionado’s paradise. With such vast wealth of public galleries, creative events, and white spaces, no selection of the top ten contemporary art galleries can be comprehensive. Aside from better-known exhibition spaces such as Centre Pompidou and Le Laboratoire, pioneering galleries such as Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac are well worth a visit. Our selection includes ten established up-and-coming contemporary art galleries in Paris to watch.
Formerly known as Cosmic Galerie, Bugada & Cargnel is certainly one to watch – the gallery has become the hub of burgeoning artistic life in the Belleville region of Paris. The stunning showroom offers a dramatic atmosphere of discovery, occupying 500 square meters in a former industrial garage dating from the early 1930s. Artists represented by the gallery are a mix of emerging and well-known presences such as Parisian multimedia artist Cyprien Gaillard and Mat Collishaw, a Young British Artist whose work has explored the realms of photography and video.
Tucked away by the Centre Pompidou, Galerie Laurent Godin sits on Rue de Grenier Saint-Lazare. With only three rooms, the exhibition space is undeniably compact – but each show is allowed to breathe, with a surprising fluidity between the rooms and space to wander with knowledgeable staff on hand to talk you through the nature of the work. Although the gallery platform is dominated by two-dimensional art forms, it champions contemporary artists with wide-reaching horizons, including sculptors and plasticiens. For those who enjoy art that tells a story, Laurent Godin’s exhibitions are unlikely to disappoint.
A relative veteran of the Parisian contemporary art scene, Yvon Lambert has nurtured its vision to showcase pioneering artists of Conceptualism such as Lawrence Weiner, Minimalism (notably, Carl André), and land art since its opening in 1966. The gallery’s pivotal aims to present artistic projects which are ambitious, innovative, and intense, resonate in their diverse program of shows. Their library is the perfect place to pick up an art publication that will keep the memory of Yvon Lambert long after you return home.
Located in the vibrant Marais area of the city, Xippas is something of an artistic powerhouse. With showrooms and galleries from Greece, Switzerland, Uruguay, as well as France, there is a confidence in their aim to be an international platform for contemporary art works. Founded by Renos Xippas in 1990, this gallery is one of the largest of its kind, dedicated to exhibiting the works of both new and established contemporary artists. The venue’s interior is a sight to behold in and of itself, with custom-made features such as a transparent staircase and a ghost wall designed by Barthélémy and Grino.
For anyone in need of an escape from the clamor of central Paris, La Maréchalerie in Versailles is easily accessible by mainline train services and bus. Part tourist attraction, part religious icon, the building was formerly a passageway – the two ends of which overlook the castle and town, respectively, through striking bay windows. The gallery prioritizes artists whose work is dedicated to and inspired by ways of diverting or reconfiguring circumstantial urban constraints. On the gallery’s tenth anniversary in March of 2014, a time capsule insight into the formative decade of the gallery was exhibited for a celebratory retrospective.
Set in the oldest planned square in Paris, Place de Vosges, this often-overlooked gallery describes its vision as a reference point for both contemporary and modern art in the Marais district. It would, however, be valid to say that their influence should be felt further afield. The collections at Modus are singular and unique, showcasing a range of styles, media, and talents. This eclecticism is driven by the gallery’s notable presence at global art fairs, inspired by France’s long artistic legacy.
Better known as Fondation Cartier, this contemporary art museum celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014, marking the Cartier firm’s departure from jewelry into the arts. For the past 20 years, this space has been based in Paris’s 14th arondissement, housed in a light-flooded glass building designed by Pritzker Prize architect Jean Nouvel. Typically lamented for its distance from the city center, the idyllic woodland garden surrounding the venue is an added delight. The permanent collection bolsters the thread of artistic debuts, while innovations include the hugely popular ‘Nomadic Nights’, which focus on the performing arts, enabling a discourse between different creative genres and themes.