10 best Photo Galleries to visit in Paris

Are you one who is fascinated by photo galleries? Being one of the most photographed cities in the world, Paris is deeply connected to photography ever since the origination of this art form. Daguerre, Bayard and Atget walked through the streets of this city in the early 19th century to capture ordinary and extraordinary sites of the city.

Since then, Paris has always been a dream destination for photography admirers. The city’s photo galleries are the right places if you do not want to deal with large crowds of Paris. The work in these photo galleries ranges from the early 1900s to today’s modern art. To make your trip to Paris easier, we have compiled a list of must-visit photo galleries in Paris.

Photo galleries in Paris

Maison européenne de la Photographie (MEP) 

MEP is arguably one of the best photo galleries in Paris. It opened in 1996 on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris. Along with retrospective exhibitions, modern art is also displayed on a rotational basis. Apart from that, portraiture work of famous impressionists such as Martin Parr and Larry Clark’s work is also showcased throughout the year.

The small size of the museum makes the viewing experience very intimate. The gallery also organizes Mois de la Photo (Month of Photography) in November for art lovers from around the globe..

Jeu de Paume

In the northwestern corner of the Tuileries Garden, stands the beautiful Jeu de Paume. It showcases all kind of imagery from the 20th and 21st century including, photography, videography, cinema and online art.

The building itself is a piece of art, and has a remarkable history attached to it. Initially, it was tennis court. It was converted into an art gallery in 1909. During the Second World War, Nazis used it to confiscate masterpieces in the possession of wealthy Jewish families.

The gallery exhibits the work of emerging artists as well as the work of established artists like Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and Berenice Abbot. It is no less than a one-stop-shop for all forms of visual arts.

Le Bal

After serving its purpose as a popular dancehall in the 1920s, this place was reborn in 2010 for contemporary art. It is near Montmartre, and it is a non profit photography exhibition space. Most exhibitions here focus on social impact and compel viewers to explore various approaches to reality through art. 

This place centers mainly on contemporary works in photography, video and cinema. Along with this, the place offers an excellent educational program, a bookstore, and Café Otto too if you need to grab a quick bite after feeding your soul with art.

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

This Photo gallery was inaugurated in 2003 as a tribute to the majestic artwork of Henri Cartier-Bresson. He is famous as a pioneer of street photography, and for his view to capture “the decisive moment”.

The primary focus of the gallery is to preserve the work of the photojournalist. It also offers space for contemporary artists on a rotational basis that is why sometimes you will not find the original Cartier-Bresson work on display.

Polka Galerie

If you are a documentary lover then Polka Galerie is your spot. The quiet surroundings allow visitors to completely immerse and appreciate the beauty of visual art.

The gallery focuses on photo reportage, and the work featured here reflects on world affairs through the social and political lens. The photographs exhibited here are informative, emotional and contemplative of the current times.

Every year, this gallery hosts six exhibitions. Polka Magazine published every two months, offers further details about the exhibitions featured at the gallery.

Galerie VU

Galerie VU is extended from Agence VU, which was once a privately owned mansion. The gallery only displays the work of political importance and relevance of famous politically engaged  photographers such as Richard Dumas, Vanessa Winship and Michel Houellebecq.

The gallery’s main goal is to highlight the diversity of contemporary photography through autographical, intimate and conceptual forms of photograph.

It also caters intellectual cravings of book lovers by offering  a small bookshop. Therefore, if you are an art lover, socially aware  and an avid reader, this place is a must-visit for you.

Les Douches

Once used as a public bathhouse, Les Douches is now a home to Documentary photography and experimental works.  This gallery intends to push the boundaries of the art form that we know in the present times. Situated near the Canal Saint Martin, it showcases the work of  renowned artists like Sabine Weiss, Vivian Maier, Berenice Abbot and Tom Arndt.

Les Douches holds art not just confined to just the present era, but it also entertains visitors with old paintings.

Musée Carnavalet

Carnavalent is the one of the oldest museums in Paris, and it contains a huge volume of historical photographs. . Built in a former hotel, it is home to 150,000 photographs along with numerous paintings, sculptures, model signs, engravings and posters.

In 2016, the chief architect of Historical Monuments François Chatillon instructed to shut down museum for renovation. However, it recently reopened in 2021 for the public. There is no entry fee for visitors, therefore, so do not hesitate to have this once in a lifetime experience.

French Museum of Photography

Set up in 1960 by two passionate amateurs, Jean and Andre Fade, this museum has an exceptional collection of 25,000 images and more than 50,000 printed documents from 1839 till date. This museum also has its own library and a unique technical documentary collection for people to enjoy under one roof.

If you want to explore 1850s pictures, then this place have all the answers for you.

The A. Galerie

This relatively new Gallery, located in the 16th arrondissement, is a center of attraction for a lot of international tourists because of its focus on modern photography. This gallery showcases the work of modern photographers such as Nick Brandt and Martin Schoeller.

In case, you want modern Paris art experience of photography, and observe their community then this gallery is a must-visit in Paris.

Hope the quest to explore art and culture of Paris will be more convenient to fulfil with our comprehensive list curated specifically for photography lovers.

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