The Best Exhibitions to Visit in Paris – 2024

by Paul Joseph  |  Published May 20, 2024

A global centre for art and culture, the many museums of Paris play host to a huge number of arts and cultural exhibitions throughout the year, with plenty still to run in 2024.

(Photo: Excurio – GEDEON Experiences – Musée d’Orsay)

The French capital continues to be one of the world’s most popular destinations with tourists, most of whom will include visits to some of the city’s prestigious museums on their itineraries. Whenever you’re in Paris, there’s always certain to be plenty of exhibitions taking place across the city’s cultural venues spanning various periods, subjects and themes. If you’re coming to the City of Lights over the coming months and want to know what the exhibition scene has in store before the year is out, we’ve selected 10 of the best exhibitions running through the rest of 2024.

Tonight with the Impressionists: Paris 1874

On April 15, 1874, some thirty up-and-coming Impressionist painters, including the likes of Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir, gathered in a Parisian studio to present a selection of over 150 works to the public. This exhibition invites visitors to relive the opening night in virtual reality. Equipped with a VR headset, you’ll enter the hushed atmosphere of the exhibition and meet the painters when they were still young artists with an uncertain future. As you stroll along, you’ll be transported outside the exhibition, to the places that marked the beginnings of the Impressionist movement, shining a light on the links between the group’s members, their ambitions and the importance of the artistic movement they were inventing.

Musée d’Orsay / Through 11 August 2024 / Purchase Tickets

The Egypt of the Pharaohs: From Khufu to Ramesses II

This immersive multimedia exhibition featuring video projectors and spatialised sound systems offers visitors the chance to step back in time and rediscover Egypt during the period of the Pharaohs – a legendary civilisation spanning three millennia that continues to fascinate and captivate young and old alike. Highlights include grains of sand lifted by the wind that reveal the remains of ancient Egypt as they appeared to French scientists during the Egyptian Campaign of 1798 to 1801, and drawn by the painter David Roberts; and a section centred on ancient Egypt’s own cosmogony and the sacred forces of the gods who were believed by adherents to exist long before man first appeared on earth.

Atelier des Lumières / Through 5 January 2025 / Purchase tickets

Metal: Diabulus in Musica

(Photo: Joachim Bertrand)

Saturation, distortion, voices from beyond the grave, shocking iconography: the music genre of metal is widely considered subversive in both form and content. Since its genesis nearly fifty years ago, the hugely influential genre has resisted any form of institutionalisation, but its following continues to grow.  Featuring a vast collection of documents and objects, including instruments, stage costumes and cult iconography, this exhibition presents a fascinating picture of the movement, where music, popular culture, anthropological vision and contemporary art are in dialogue.

Philharmonie de Paris / Through 29 September / Purchase tickets

Comics on every floor

With its hosting of emblematic exhibitions such as “Comic strips and everyday life” in 1977, “Paper heroes, the complete stories of the 50s” in 1988 and “Hergé” in 2006, Paris’s world-famous Pompidou Centre was one of the pioneering institutions in the recognition of comic books as a major art form. Faithful to this heritage of innovation and sharing of artistic diversity, this exhibition provides visitors with a complete immersion in the fascinating worlds of the genre, exploring the artistic expression in all its varied forms..

Centre Pompidou / 29 May – 4 November 2024 / Purchase Tickets

Matisse: The Red Studio

(Photo: Fondation Louis Vuitton / Louis Bourjac)

This eponymous exhibition focuses on the genesis and history of the 1911 masterpiece “The Red Studio” by legendary French artist Henri Matisse, which depicts the artist’s working studio filled with his paintings and sculptures, furniture and decorative objects. The exhibition also includes a number of paintings and drawings closely related to that famous piece, including the “Large Red Interior” (1948), which demonstrates how, within a span of nearly 40 years, Matisse reinterpreted the original painting at a time when his work was undergoing profound change.

Louis Vuitton Foundation / Through 9 September 2024 / Purchase tickets

The Art of James Cameron

When James Cameron unveiled his first feature film, The Terminator, in 1984, it announced the arrival of a unique talent who would disrupt the cinematic status quo for years to come. In the decades that followed, the filmmaker would direct a series of blockbusters that weaved their way into the fabric of pop culture. But Cameron’s ideas first found life in a simpler form: the pages of his childhood sketchbooks. By bringing together material from his personal archive, including his earliest sketches, designs from unrealised film projects, and conceptual pieces that would form the bedrock of his acclaimed later work, this exhibition traces that path, showing how key themes and motifs in his work evolved from his early ideations before finding their ultimate expression as iconic cinematic visuals.

Cinémathèque Française / Through 5 January 2025 / Purchase tickets

Ellsworth Kelly: Shapes & Colours, 1949-2015

(Photo: Fondation Louis Vuitton / Louis Bourjac)

Boasting a career spanning seven decades, and marked by his artistic independence from any school or movement, Ellsworth Kelly is regarded as one of the most significant American abstract painters and sculptors of all time. Celebrating the centenary of the late artist’s birth ten years after his passing, this exhibition offers a broad overview of his work, bringing together more than 100 works, including paintings and sculptures as well as drawings, photographs and collages. Together they trace Kelly’s exploration of the relationship between shape, colour, line and space through key works from pivotal periods in his career.

Louis Vuitton Foundation / Through 9 September 2024 / Purchase tickets

Mexica: Offerings and gods at the Templo mayor

On 21 February 1978, the subsoils of Mexico City revealed one of Mesoamerica’s most exceptional secrets: the remains of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Mexica civilisation and its sacred enclosure, the Templo Mayor. The chance discovery of an enormous circular monolith depicting the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui by road workers unearthed half a century of archaeological excavations on an unprecedented scale. This exhibition lifts the veil on these discoveries, displaying an incredible collection of finds that reflect the vast political and economic power of the Aztec empire, and revealing not only a dynamic society, but also artistic excellence and complex symbolic and religious thought.

Musée du Quai Branly / Through 8 September 2024 / Purchase tickets

Fashion, Design, Jewellery

Pierre Charpin – Platform coffee table France, 2005 Édition Galerie kreo Aluminium sheet (Photo: Les Arts Décoratifs / Jean Tholance)

Spread over five floors, this themed exhibition features a selection of haute couture and prêt-à-porter pieces, as well as jewellery and costume jewellery spanning the 20th century to the present day. Thirty fashion designs and some one hundred jewellery pieces from designers and prestigious houses like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Christian Dior rub shoulders with the biggest names in design such as Ettore Sottsass, Ron Arad Phillipe Starck. As a whole, the exhibition highlights the creative and historical links between the various disciplines that comprise the decorative arts.

Musée des Arts Décoratifs / Through 10 November 2024 / Purchase tickets

With the Joliot-Curie family, it was physical! The sporting feats of a scientific community

French physical chemists Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie are known for their Nobel-winning work on artificial radioactivity. However, their enthusiasm for sport is less so. Outside of the laboratory, the duo were indeed fans of outdoor physical activities, regularly swimming, cycling, hiking, playing tennis, skiing, sailing and performing gymnastics. In the year of the Paris Olympics, this exhibition presents photographs from the Joliot-Curie family albums, museum collections, and private amateur films, providing a unique look at the intimacy of a family of scientists and an entire era of social hygiene promoting health through sport.

Musée Curie / Through 18 January 2025