Maison Européenne de la Photographie

The Best Photography Museums & Galleries in Paris

Whether you prefer being behind the camera or in front of the lens, these temples to photography offer you the chance to discover the eighth art from its very best angle.
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One of the world's most photographed cities, Paris has been inextricably linked to photography ever since the Exposition Universelle of 1859, when photography first began to be considered a serious art form. It was in the streets of the French capital that Daguerre, Bayard and Atget wandered in the early 19th century, capturing glimpses of a now-forgotten Paris. Later, in the 1920s, Brassaï, Man Ray and the surrealists used photography to explore the " worrying strangeness" of the world. And it was in Paris that Capa and Cartier-Bresson elevated photojournalism to a noble art. Here's our short-list of the major photography sites and events in and about Paris.

The must-see photo sites of Paris Region: museums, houses and photographic centers...

All about images

In the heart of the Tuileries Garden, the Jeu de Paume museum offers an edgy programme of exhibitions showcasing photographers from the 19th century to the present day, alongside films and installations.

Jeu de Paume, façade, Paris 2017
Jeu de Paume

Optical illusions

Fans of Man Ray’s dreamy images and Brassaï’s nocturnal photographs should not miss the Galerie de Photographies at the Centre Pompidou. The gallery, which offers free entry year round, holds a rich collection of nearly 40,000 prints and 60,000 negatives, dating mainly from the 1920s and ‘30s, as well as hosting regular temporary exhibitions.

Centre Pompidou
Centre Pompidou

House of photography

At only 15 minutes walk from the Centre Pompidou, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie immerses visitors in the contemporary international scene with a collection of nearly 20,000 photographs ranging from the 1950s to the present day. It also holds around 30 exhibitions a year, divided between major names and emerging talents.

Maison Européenne de la Photographie
Maison Européenne de la Photographie

Unfiltered modernity

The BAL, created in 2010 by Raymond Depardon and Diane Dufour, is breathing new life into the Paris cultural scene, with an avant-garde programme mixing up photography, video, cinema and new media.

Le Bal, terrasse du bar restaurant, Paris.
Le Bal

A Paris legend

The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson offers an immersion into the career of this legendary photojournalist, who documented the Liberation of Paris in 1944 before co-founding the prestigious Magnum photo agency.

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Sealed with a kiss

The Maison de la Photographie Robert Doisneau is dedicated to temporary exhibitions that pay homage to the spirit of the legendary photographer, best known for his iconic "Baiser de l'Hôtel de Ville.". The exhibitions are varied, showcasing major international names as well as aspiring local photographers. Set in Gentilly, the photographer's birthplace, the museum is easily reachable from Paris on the RER B.

Maison de la Photographie Robert Doisneau, Gentilly.
Maison de la Photographie - Robert Doisneau

Extra Muros

At the Centre photographique d’Ile-de-France in Pontault-Combault, 30 minutes from Paris by RER A or E, the focus is on interactivity. As well as exhibiting projects linked to contemporary photography, the space also holds lectures, seminars, classes and workshops that allow visitors of all ages to meet professional photographers and experiment life behind the lens.

Photo du bâtiment en extérieur
Centre Photographique d'Île-de-France

From daguerreotypes to pixels

With a collection including more than 25,000 objects and almost one million photographs, the Musée Français de la Photographie de Bièvres, reachable from Paris by RER B or C, is a veritable time capsule that immerses viewers in the fascinating history of photography.

French Museum of Photography

The key photography events in Paris Region

All year long, Paris and its region are buzzing with unmissable events, exhibitions and fairs that attract more and more amateurs from all over the world. Discover our selection of the most beautiful photo events.

Our selection

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  • Copyright image: Audrey Benard