1. La Maison Rouge
Located in a former industrial building, the gallery was conceived by its founder Antoine de Galbert in 2003. The exhibitions are often organised by independent guest curators, providing challenging or controversial shows but nonetheless always notable in their contribution to the current contemporary art scene in Paris. Next door is a branch of Bookstorming – a great haunt for art book lovers.
· 10, Boulevard de la Bastille, 75012, lamaisonrouge.org, +33 1 40 01 08 81. Artists: Luc Delahaye, Tetsumi Kudo, François Curlet, and in September 2008: Andrea Blum, Christian Boltanski. Open: Weds-Sun 11am-7pm (Thurs 11am-9pm). Entrance: €6.50
2. Marian Goodman Gallery
The heavy portal on the rue du Temple is always closed making this treasure easy to miss. Pressing the entry bell beneath the simple bronze name-plaque of Marion Goodman Galerie will reveal one of the most important and prestigious galleries in Paris. The ground floor gallery space runs alongside the right wing of the building naturally lit by several floor to ceiling windows and in one of the basement level galleries is a crypt-like vaulted space where you can view videos of, or about, the artists on show.
· 79, rue du Temple 75003, mariangoodman.com, +33 1 48 04 70 52. Pierre Huyghe, Annette Messager, Tony Cragg, Thomas Struth, Dan Graham. Open: Tues-Sat 11am-7pm. Entrance: free
3. Passage de Retz
Another easily missed gem towards the southern end of rue Charlot in the Marais lies behind an enormous dark green heavy door. During the day, the door-within-the-door is open, through which you enter into a beautiful courtyard, enticed by a lone piece of silvered sculpture. Through the archway and to the right is a modest entrance into the small café and gallery shop. Nothing so far will prepare you for the maze of rooms beyond, where one magnificent gallery space leads to another. The shows are always unexpected in their range of artists, medium and content from Sheila Hicks’s exceptional textiles to Russian propoganda posters, and the “packaging” of French Presidential candidates.
· 9 rue Charlot 75003, passagederetz.com, +33 1 48 04 37 99. Open: Tues-Sat 2pm-7pm. Entrance: €8
4. Galerie Xippas
In the parallel street to Charlot is one of the most famous jewels in Paris’s crown of galleries – Yvon Lambert – reached across a small courtyard off rue Vieille du Temple. But the approach also leads you past YL and up a staircase which itself is worth a view. The broad flight of wooden steps reaches up to the Xippas gallery which is wrapped around the glass roof of the Yvon Lambert downstairs. This dramatic space shows photographic artists including Valérie Belin, Valérie Jouve and Philippe Ramette and painters Chuck Close, Ian Davenport, Lisa Milroy amongst others.
· 108 rue Vieille du Temple 75003, xippas.com, +33 1 40 27 05 55. Open: Tues-Fri 10am-1pm, Sat 10am-7pm. Entrance: free
5. Galerie du Jour Agnès b
The woman behind the designs is also an ardent collector of contemporary art. The white clean lines of this street-fronted gallery, just a baguette’s throw from the Pompidou centre, could be mistaken for a design atelier – but once inside it’s a serious-minded gallery that has exhibited Gilbert & George and Martin Parr. A second, much bigger gallery space is reached by going through the ground floor and out across the courtyard.
· 44 rue Quincampoix 75004, galeriedujour.com, +33 1 44 54 55 90. Artists: Lucien Hervé, Hugues Reip, Kenneth Anger, Mike Lash. Open: Tue-Sat 12pm-7pm. Entrance: free
6. Galerie Pierre-Alain Challier
Pierre-Alain Challier, the engaging and knowledgeable owner, takes time to tell you what you’d like to know about the pieces he shows in his gallery. A great space, over three floors (including a roof garden) provides a well designed backdrop to the limited edition work by artists including Arman, Yayoi Kusama, Man Ray, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Jean-Pierre Raynaud. The art here is not in the work alone but also in the lighting and beautiful presentation.
· 8 rue Debelleyme 75003, pacea.fr, +33 1 49 96 63 00. Open: 11am-7pm. Entrance: free
7. Galerie Agathe Gaillard
Walking down rue du Pont Louis-Philippe towards the Seine, past the boutiques is one of the first Paris galleries to specialise in photography. The Chinese red lacquered woodwork around the outside of the gallery sets off the black and white photographs which predominate. Shows a selection of classic, largely well-known names including Jean-Philippe Charbonnier, Ralph Gibson, Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertesz, Robert Doisneau – among emerging photographers.
· 3 rue du Pont Louis-Philippe 75004, agathegaillard.com, +33 1 42 77 38 24. Open: Tues-Sat 2pm-7pm Entrance: free
8. Galerie Georges-Philippe et Nathalie Vallois
A stroll away from the Seine on the left bank will take you through a maze of streets and shopfronts. An archway entices you away from the bustle, past some mature potted bamboos into a mecca of cosmopolitan contemporary art. The gallery retains connections to new realist artists including Arman and Jacques Villeglé while exhibiting younger French and international artists, among them Boris Achour, Alain Bublex and Vincent Lamouroux. A special ‘project room’ shows site-specific work.
· 36 rue de Seine 75006, galerie-vallois.com, +33 1 46 34 61 07. Open: Mon-Sat 10.30am-1pm, 2pm- 7pm. Entrance: free
9. Le Plateau – FRAC Ile de France
Because of its unassuming entrance, first impressions on arriving at Le Plateau might suggest a big name for a little place – but that would be misleading because the concept, the collection and range of exhibitions is enormous. In 2002, FRAC Ile-de-France (Regional Fund of Contemporary Art of the Ile-de-France region) found a home in the hilly north-western part of Paris, in the Plateau which was established as a part of a plan to revitalise this mostly working-class area. From its new space, FRAC has established a collection of over 700 works of young artists.
· Place Hannah Arendt (at the corner of Rue des Alouettes and Rue Carducci) 75019, fracidf-leplateau.com, +33 1 53 19 84 10. Artists: Jean-Michel Sanejouand, François Curlet, Adel Abdessemed, Loris Greaud. Newcomer Cao Fei until May 25. Open: Weds-Fri 2pm-7pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-8pm. Entrance: free
10. La Galerie des Galeries
Probably one of the most unlikely places to find an art space – round the back of Galliano, Gaultier and Westwood designs on the first floor of the grand Galeries Lafayette department store on Boulevard Haussmann. Designed by Pascal Grasso in 2001, the visitor is drawn into the permanent 300 square metre exhibition space through a white igloo-like passageway neatly bridging the gap between store and gallery. Recent exhibitions have included work by Pierre Ardouvin, Richard Fauguet, Tatiana Trouve and Mathieu Mercier – all prominent on the contemporary art scene. Also small but well-stocked art bookshop.
· 1st Floor Galeries Lafayette, 40 Bd Haussmann, 9ème, La Galerie des Galeries, +33 1 42 82 81 98. Open: Mon-Sat 9.30am-7.30pm, Thursday evening until 9pm. Entrance: Free