Paris is an art lover’s dream. Still, the price of visiting the many the exhibits and museums the city offers can quickly become expensive. But access to great art doesn’t have to come at a price. Here are ten ways to enjoy free art in Paris.
1. Take advantage of Free Museums: The City of Paris does a lot to make art and culture available to the public for free. A number of museums, including the famous Louvre and Orsay museums are free on the first Sunday of the month. To avoid the crowds that tend to gather for Free Museum Sundays, try one of the fourteen Paris museums that are free to visit year round. >> Free Museums in Paris
2. Go to a gallery exhibit: More than 125 venues in Paris organize regular exhibits throughout the year, many of which are free. Check this calendar of upcoming art exhibits put together by the Association of Parisian Art Galleries to see which events are open to the public.
3. Visit 59 Rivoli: In 1999, a small group of artists decided to occupy a building that had been abandoned by a national bank and government authorities. In 2005, the City of Paris bought the art squat and today you can visit 59 Rivoli to see the work of thirty artists as part of the six-story exhibition that changes every two weeks.
4. Discover Street Art: You don’t have to go to a museum or a gallery to see art. Paris is famous for its street art. While street art changes often, here’s a great free walking tour from the Invisible Paris blog to get you started.
5. Head to a Cultural Center: Paris is home to 53 cultural centers, many of which regularly offer free art exhibits on a variety of themes. Visit the Forum des instituts culturels étrangers à Paris, FICEP (Forum for Foreign Cultural Institutes in Paris) to learn more about the latest exhibitions or check out the Free in Paris free events calendar.
Free Events: In addition to the free art exhibits organized throughout the year, there are also several annual art events to discover in Paris.
6. ICI et demain: This festival was created in 2004 by the Mairie de Paris with the goal of featuring young artistic talent in the city. Every year more than 40 exhibits, concerts and performances are organized in Paris as part of the event, which attracts around 10,000 visitors annually.
When: roughly two weeks in mid-March
7. Nuit des musées (Museum Night): In 2015, for the 11th edition of this free annual event , roughly 3,400 museums throughout Europe and 1,300 participating museums in France opened their doors to the general public.
8. Circulation(s) Festival of Young European Photography: The Circulations Festival celebrates the work of young photographers from throughout Europe. In 2015, the festival featured the work of 43 young European photographers at the Centquatre cultural center and in a number of metro stations in Paris.
When: Exact dates change from year-to-year, but usually between late January and mid-March
9. Graphic Arts Festival: Launched in 2014, the Graphic Arts Festival features the works of hundreds of graphic designers from different countries. From posters and exhibitions to events all over Paris. In 2014, over 25,000 people participated in the event.
When: Exact dates are announced each year.
10. La Nuit Blanche: Each year since 2002, Nuit Blanche in Paris has been a night when museums, cultural centers and other institutions open their doors to the public. A number of free artistic performances and shows are organized for the event.
When: the first Saturday in October
Your turn. Have you attended any of these free events? Do you know of any other ways to enjoy art for free in Paris?