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Must See Paris Exhibitions

Everything about Paris is enchanting – its streets, stores, bistros, pastry shops, fashion – but, if there is one thing I’m crazy about its the cultural life. I could churn out post after post about the city’s theatres, street festivals and markets and underground concerts. But, today it’s time to open my diary and review the most exciting exhibitions due to grace the French capital in the coming months. There’s a bit of everything, from ancient classics to contemporary offerings. Pack your bags – we’re off to Paris!

1. Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting in the Louvre
Nobody was able to capture genre scenes of 17th-century Holland as masterfully as Johannes Vermeer. On display at the Louvre is an exhibition at which Vermeer and such contemporaries of his as Pieter de Hooch, Frans van Mieris, Gerrit Dou, Jan Steen and Gerard ter Borch face off in an interplay which denotes similarities and reveals influences. Until 22 May.

2. Iconic Henri Cartier-Bresson
One of the great milestones in the history of photography is the book, Images à la Sauvette. Iconic and defiant, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s title was published in 1952 and has now become a cult manual. With the cover design by Henri Matisse, it is the backbone of an exhibition which will appeal to devotees of both photography and the oeuvre of the father of photojournalism. At the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson. Until 23 April.

3. Cy Twombly – A Complete Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou
The Centre Pompidou is celebrating its fortieth anniversary in style. One of the flagship exhibitions in this celebration is the retrospective devoted to Cy Twombly, who rates among the most influential visual artists of the 20th century. A hundred and forty sculptures, drawings, photographs and paintings yield an exceptional view of this multi-faceted artist, providing a unique angle on one of the undisputed greats.

4. Rodin – The Centennial Exhibition
Any history of sculpture would be unthinkable without mention of Auguste Rodin. He goes down in art history as a fundamental artificer and this year marks the centenary of his death. On display at the Grand Palais are some of the most celebrated works of the forerunner of modern sculpture, in an exhibition which also features pieces by other great masters who were influenced by Rodin. Works by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Antoine Bourdelle, Paul Claudel and Constantin Brancusi will share the space until 31 July.

5. Sky and Mysticism at the Musée d’Orsay
The sky and the stars are a recurring theme as of 19th-century symbolism. Such artists as Gauguin, Denis, Seurat, Monet, Klimt, Hodler, Munch, Van Gogh and Kandinsky were transported by the spirituality of nature and landscape. In the exhibition, Beyond the Stars. The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky, the Musée d’Orsay, in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario, provides a look at the more mystical side of the work of these artists.

6. Appel Returns To Paris
On loan from the Karel Appel Foundation of Amsterdam, the Musé d’Arte Moderne (MAM) of Paris is exhibiting twenty-one paintings and sculptures by this artist, who died in 2006. Karel Appel, a founding member of the Cobra group, which started in Paris in 1948 and disbanded in 1951, strove to break free of the academicism of the period and produce a more spontaneous, experimental art, including a set of practices inspired by primitivism. Until 20 August.

Book your Vueling to Paris and soak up the art in some of these magnificent temporary exhibitions in the city’s paramount art centres.

Text by Aleix Palau

Photo by Yann Caradec