5 new attractions in Paris for art, culture and kids in 2024
The cultural landscape in Paris is in a constant state of flux, whether it’s closing a museum or opening (and reopening) another. Over the past few months, there’s been a bit of a change in the French capital with the opening of a few new and unexpected cultural attractions that will attract a range of interests.
For example, photography enthusiasts and buffs might be interested to learn more about the opening of a free floating art space on the Seine dedicated to modern photography, while a new mathematics museum might interest a number-loving, scientifically minded visitor.
Meanwhile, one of the biggest cultural announcements this year was the news that the Center Pompidou, which houses one of Europe’s important collections of modern art, is scheduled to close between 2025 and 2030. But as the saying goes, where one door closes, another opens: the Cartier Contemporary Art Foundation is working in the 14th arrondissement on a new project near the Louvre that is expected to become the city’s largest private art gallery when it opens. Opens in 2025.
In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the latest cultural attractions that have enriched the city in recent months:
The home of one of France’s most influential and controversial singer-songwriters, Serge Gainsbourg, opened its doors to the public this fall, more than 30 years after his death in 1991. Gainsbourg is perhaps best known for his sexually provocative 1969 duet with Jane Birkin. “Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus” was banned by the BBC and condemned by the Vatican. The house has been completely preserved—the ashtrays are still filled with old cigarette butts—and offers audiences and visitors an intimate look into the artist’s life through artworks, photographs, clothing, and documents. Across the street is a museum containing an archive of rare and unpublished manuscripts, photographs and interviews. Note that tickets are sold out for the rest of the year but that The new slots for 2024 will become available in November.
Tickets for the museum and house tour are 25 euros
If your visit to Paris takes you to the southeastern end of the city, perhaps to explore the village-like neighborhood of Butte aux Cailles, the Jardin des Plantes, or Chinatown, consider adding Paris’s newest floating art center to your itinerary. Quai de la Photo, anchored along the Seine River, opened last summer as a 10,070-square-foot space dedicated to contemporary photography. The inaugural exhibition is British photographer Martin Parr’s interpretation of the phrase “life is a beach”. After the exhibition, you can have a drink at the bar and enjoy the riverside views of the city, or have a snack in the restaurant. The integrated marina also offers 50-minute river cruises Wednesday through Saturday for groups of up to 12 people.
Boat rides cost €12 and exhibitions are free.
Museum of Paradox
The opening of the Museum of Paradox in the spring added a sense of playful whimsy to Paris’s cultural scene. Because as the name suggests, here what is down is up, and what is black is white. Spread over three floors and 18,300 square feet, the immersive museum features 90 sensory experiences where the laws of gravity do not apply, and where the lines of reality are blurred by illusions and deception. Visitors face the challenge of passing through a rotating tunnel without losing their balance, and they can exchange facial features with friends without using smartphones or applications. Of the six Paradox Museums in the world (other locations include Miami, Stockholm, Oslo, Barcelona and Limassol, Cyprus), the Paris site is the largest.
Tickets are €27 for adults; €22 under 18
The international city of the French language
The latest and most high-profile cultural opening this year is the Cité Internationale de la Langue Française, or International City of the French Language, which French President Emmanuel Macron opened last month to an audience of 500 guests. Located in the town of Villers-Cotterêts, about 45 minutes by train northeast of Paris, the foundation is housed in the restored Château de Villers-Cotterêts, where Francis I signed the edict that made French the official language of France in 1539. Learn about its history, culture and development And the influence of the French language on 17,200 square feet of exhibition space. French is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world.
Tickets are €9 for adults; Kids free
You could say that France’s first museum dedicated to mathematics is self-aware. Their logo? “The museum that wants you to love mathematics.” Because if the idea of a math museum conjures up bad memories of high school calculus, then this museum, say the curators, is for you. The goal at Maison Poincaré (named after French mathematician and scientist Henri Poincaré) is to make mathematics more accessible and help visitors understand how mathematics can explain everyday phenomena, whether it’s the movement of crowds in one of the city’s busiest metro stations, to the mathematics behind How to make soccer balls or how to calculate life expectancy. The exhibit, which spans 9,700 square feet, uses virtual reality, games, videos and interactive features to show how mathematics works in our daily lives. The museum was also developed, led by a mathematician and former French MP, for a more practical reason: to spark more interest in the subject among French students who have the lowest mathematics scores in Europe. The museum is recommended for children ages 12 and up.
Tickets: 10 euros for adults; Kids free