Oct 7th, 2015, 12:55 PM

Five Free Galleries to Visit this Weekend

By Phoebe Todd
Visitors enjoying the current exhibition at Galerie Perrotin.
Experience contemporary art and culture on a student budget.

In a city known for its world-class museums, from the Louvre to the Musée d'Orsay, Paris's contemporary art galleries can often be overlooked. Beyond the blockbuster museum shows, Paris boasts a vibrant contemporary art scene that has much to offer. We have selected five of our favorite contemporary art galleries that will give you a sense of the breadth and diversity of today's art scene in Paris, without draining your wallet.

  1. Galerie Perrotin

76 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris
Hours: Tues-Sat 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Galerie Perrotin is a hidden gem located in a small but rustic courtyard in the third arrondissement. The gallery itself was created and is curated by Emmanuel Perrotin, a man with a goal of bridging the gap between the art world and the public. He mounted Damien Hirst’s first solo exhibition back in 1991, and since then has continued to exemplify his uncanny ability to recognize talent in emerging artists. The exhibition space itself is comprised of two buildings connected by a small alleyway passage. Next to the entrance of the gallery is an amazing bookshop that is worth checking out, either before or after your trek through the winding display rooms of Galerie Perrotin. 

Currently on display, you'll find “DECADE. Portrait d’une generation” by JR, a young French artist and photographer with an interesting purpose, which you can learn about in his Ted Talk.  "DECADE" spans his work of the past ten years, beginning with his portraits from Clichy-Montfermeil in 2004, and the riots followed in 2005. Through his work he attempts to unveil the history of a neighborhood and to question the distancing effect of media coverage.


  1. Bugada & Cargnel

7 Rue de l’Equerre, 75019 Paris

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Located on a fairly residential street, Bugada & Cargnel may go unnoticed to the average passerby. It is a small but fascinating gallery housed in a freehold industrial building, a former garage from the early 30s, and the perfect space to display a creative collection. The curators represent a wide variety of artists, but specifically try to promote the young French scene. You will undoubtedly find an interesting mix of art, but be sure to spare a thought to the aesthetic of the collection as a whole. 

Currently on display is “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog” by Wilfrid Almendra, Julian Charrière, Nick Devereux, Cyprien Gaillard, Adrien Missika and Claire Tabouret. This exhibtion marks the 10th anniversary of the gallery's opening. Through a range of medias, it discusses the ideas of point of view, perspective, and clear-sightedness. The name of the exhibition comes from Caspar David Freidrich's major works in Romanticism, and sets an somber tone for the show.


  1. L’Espace Topographie De L’Art

15 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.

L’Espace Topographie De L’Art is a converted warehouse in the Marais, beautifully curated by a group of artists and art historians with the intention of questioning thoughts, concerns, and issues of our time. Here, you will find some fascinating photography, digital work, drawing and graphic design, not to mention an amazing atmosphere and location. 

The gallery is currently showing “Twenty Five? Hey, Give Me Five!” by 13 different artists. This photographic exhibition focuses on how individual creators can come together to form a vision that is both artistic and poetic, but also political.


  1. Xippas Gallery

108 Rue Vieille Du Temple, 75003 Paris

Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Xippas Gallery is one of the largest spaces for a gallery in Paris. On the first floor, visitors will find solo shows and group exhibitions. The basement showroom houses art from lesser-known artists. The gallery represents a range of styles and put together an amazing show, especially for those who appreciate unconventional art.

The gallery is currently featuring “Déplier” by Marco Maggi. Maggi discusses the information overload that our generation lives with today. His work questions whether we have become numb to reality and if we have turned away from the meaning and detail in our everyday lives. This carefully constructed exhibtion requires extreme attention to detail, so make sure to stop and notice the little things.


  1. Polka Galerie

12 rue Saint-Gilles, 75003 Paris

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Polka Galerie is a contemporary photo gallery dedicated entirely to photojournalism. The directors of this gallery also produce a monthly magazine, which goes hand in hand with exhibitions. The work of represented artists discusses the overlap of art, politics, and journalism. This is overall a fascinating gallery with a meaningful basis.

Currently on display is “Night Photographs” by Toshio Shibata and “Sunless” by Tiane Doan Na Champassak.