Le Centquatre

Top 10 industrial sites reincarnated as bustling art hubs

In Paris, the factories of yesteryear are now essential destinations on the city's art scene. Take the time to discover these surprising architectural sites, now dedicated to creativity.
  1. Inspiration
  2. Top experiences
  3. Top 10 industrial sites reincarnated as bustling art hubs

The bleak visions of Chaplin’s "Modern Times" are over and many of France’s former workshops and factories are now producing culture. Swap your spanner for an unlimited Navigo pass and get ready for an artistic excursion off the beaten track.

Hangar Y, the world’s first airship hangar, on the edge of Paris

New for 2023 - opening on 22 March

Ideally located in a leafy setting in Meudon and accessible from Paris by the RER C suburban rail line, Hangar Y is something of a landmark in French aeronautical history. It was from here, on 9 August 1884, that the first full round trip flight of an airship took place. A remnant of the 1879 Universal Exhibition, today listed as a historical monument, this huge building is reopening with a programme combining art, science and nature.

Le Hangar Y

CentQuatre-Paris - « Six feet under »

For more than 120 years, the Centquatre (104) housed Paris's municipal funeral services. Since 2008, however, its two massive halls have become a bona fide artistic and cultural hub. Set right by the Canal de l'Ourcq, the centre welcomes artists and visitors to enjoy its contemporary art exhibitions or browse its boutiques and bookshops.
Le Centquatre : 5, rue Curial - 75019 Paris

Le centre culturel du 104 (Paris)

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin - Creative cauldron

The Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin, an offshoot of the Marais gallery, has taken over a 20th-century former ironworks factory in the suburb of Pantin. Only 30 minutes by RER E from the Gare Saint-Lazare, the vast site is programmed with exhibitions of often monumental works by world-famous artists, from Georg Baselitz, to Alex Katz or Anselm Kiefer.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin : 69, avenue du Général Leclerc - 93500 Pantin

Vue de l'exposition Blue Hours de Jules de Balincourt%252C à la galerie Thaddaeus Ropas%252C dans le quartier du Marais%252C Paris%252C 2014.
Jeune fille devant une oeuvre exposée à la Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac%252C Paris 2017.

Galleria Continua – Les Moulins -Avant-garde countryside

The city doesn't have the monopoly on contemporary art. And proof can be found at the Galleria Continua in Boissy-le-Châtel, at the heart of the countryside east of Paris.

This former 10,000 m2 paper factory has presented, since 2007, works by Anish Kapoor, Daniel Buren and Mona Hatoum.

La Galleria Continua%252C Boissy-Le-Châtel

Halle Saint Pierre - New art market

Set at the foot of the Butte Montmartre, the Halle Saint-Pierre — originally a market, then a school — is now a centre dedicated to outsider art and art brut.

Its typical 19th-century iron-clad structure, in the Baltard style, houses a museum, a gallery, an auditorium, an arts bookshop and a café.

Façade de la Halle Saint Pierre%252C Paris%252C 2015.
Halle Saint Pierre%252C 2 rue Ronsard%252C Paris 18ème%252C 2008

Grande Halle de la Villette - The new iron age

Once a slaughterhouse, the Grande Halle de la Villette has maintained its cast-iron structure. Renovated by the architects Bernard Reichen and Philippe Robert, this new cultural space offers a programme that combines circus arts, dance, theatre and urban culture.

Parc de la Villette%252C la Grande Halle%252C Paris 2011

Les Frigos - Cool culture

In the midst of the contemporary buildings around the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, Les Frigos — a former railway refrigeration hangar — immediately catches the eye with its colourful frescos.

Since 1980, the building has been transformed into an artists residence for more than 200 creators and is regularly open to the public for exhibitions, shows and open days.

Les Frigos : 19, rue des Frigos - 75013 Paris

Les Frigos%252C Paris 13e

La Ferme du Buisson - Back to the farm in Noisiel

Once a chocolate factory, the Ferme du Buisson de Noisiel in the suburbs east of Paris has become a space for experimental art and cross-cultural interactions.

At just 30 minutes on the RER A from Châtelet-les-Halles, its brick and exposed timber buildings now house six theatres and an arts centre.

La Ferme du Buisson Noisiel

La Maison des Métallos - Forging new culture

Trombones and trumpets were once the main sound at the Maison Couesnon, a former brass instruments factory in Belleville.

Transformed in 1937 into a trade union house for French metalworkers, it is today an arts centrethe Maison des Métallos — which offers a rich programme of exhibitions and debates, mixing art with social issues.

Maison des Métallos

Centre d'Art contemporain d'Ivry - le Crédac - Art factory

With its red brick façades, this former eyelet factory in Ivry-sur-Seine is a marvel of industrial architecture, reachable from Paris in just 20 minutes via metro line 7.

Today, it has switched its metal rings for art works from the Centre d’Art Contemporain d’Ivry. Each year, four exhibitions by emerging artists, both French and international, cover its walls.

Le CREDAC - Centre d'Art Contemporain - La Manufacture des Œillets à Ivry s%252Fseine

Our selection

Activité sportive au CENTQUATRE - Paris
Art & culture
A genuine artistic and collaborative platform, it’s a trailblazer among alternative venues in Paris.
Vue de l'exposition "Blue Hours" de Jules de Balincourt, à la galerie Thaddaeus Ropas, dans le quartier du Marais, Paris, 2014
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin
Art & culture
A contemporary art centre at the gates of Paris, the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery in Pantin presents monumental works by international artists from Georg Baselitz to Anselm Kiefer.
Galleria Continua Le MoulinGalleria Continua Le Moulin
Galleria Continua – Les Moulins
Art & culture
Housed in an old paper mill, the Galleria Continua – Les Moulins plays host to some of the greatest names in contemporary art.
Halle Saint Pierre
Halle Saint Pierre
Art & culture
At the foot of Montmartre hill, overlooked by Sacré-Cœur, the Halle Saint-Pierre is a shrine to odd, outsider art.
Grande Halle de La Villette
Grande Halle de la Villette
Art & culture Outings
Come and explore the Parc de la Villette’s colossal glass and iron structure, which is home to a cultural centre with a programme that never fails to amaze!
Les Frigos
The Frigos
A place of residence and work for dozens of artists in an atypical location!
Ferme du Buisson Saint-Antoine
La Ferme du Buisson
Art & culture
La Ferme du Buisson (or “Buisson Farm”) is in Noisiel to the west of Paris. It’s an incredible cultural treasure trove, where theatre, cinema, contemporary art, music, and plenty more besides, co-exist in perfect harmony.
Maison des Métallos
Maison des Métallos
Art & culture
Art and design have become an intrinsic part of this age-old metalwork site, which sits at the heart of the bustling Belleville-Ménilmontant neighbourhood in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.
Le CREDAC - Centre d'Art Contemporain - La Manufacture des Oeillets à Ivry s/seine
Le Crédac
Art & culture
Located just outside Paris, the Centre d'art contemporain d'Ivry is dedicated to contemporary creation in all its diversity.

You might also like

  • Copyright image: Oak Taylor-Smith