The must-see exhibitions in Paris in 2021

In the current circumstances, art and culture have never seemed so important to us. Nothing beats a trip to the museum to learn, stimulate the imagination or simply daydream. From the great masters to fashion icons and from modern art to popular cinema, the French capital is offering a selection of fascinating exhibitions for 2021. Support culture and enjoy!

Please check individual museum websites to verify the dates of the exhibition, as changes are possible due to Covid-19.

'The Olmecs and the Civilisations of the Gulf of Mexico' at the Musée du Quai Branly

19 May to 3 October 2021

The Quai Branly Museum is taking visitors on a journey through space and time with its exhibition dedicated to Olmec culture. Discover one of the greatest Mesoamerican civilisations (1600 BC to 100 AD), whose name comes from the word Olmán, meaning 'land of rubber'. Over 200 pieces retrace three millennia of traditions, rites and exchanges specific to this little-known world.

'The Olmecs and the Civilisations of the Gulf of Mexico' at the Musée du Quai Branly (External link)

'Henri Cartier-Bresson: Revoir Paris' at the Musée Carnavalet

15 June to 31 October 2021

The oldest museum of the City of Paris, and one of the most important French museums with a collection of nearly 625,000 works, has reopened its doors after a four-year renovation. Conceived as a journey through the past and present of Paris, the new exhibition space of 3,900 square metres reveals its greatest historical treasures from prehistory to the present day, with over 3,800 works, some of which are the height of a child. With this first exhibition, the Musée Carnavalet highlights the importance of Paris in the life and work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the greatest French photographers of the 20th century. In association with the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, visitors can enjoy original prints, publications and audiovisual recordings by the artist.

Musée Carnavalet (External link)

'Dali: the Endless Enigma' at the Atelier des Lumières

19 May 2021 to 2 January 2022

A place to match him. Illuminated by his famous, unique works, Salvador Dali couldn't have dreamed of a more beautiful exhibition space than the Atelier des Lumières. The display offers an insight into the endless enigma of the Catalan master, who travelled through and invented several artistic styles. Projected and brought to life on the floor and 10-metre-high walls, paintings, drawings and photos reveal details of the brushstrokes, lines and play of materials of the moustached artist. His obsessions with the strange and the supernatural also appear, as does his fascination with his wife Gala. Pink Floyd provides the background music for this timeless journey that promises to awaken the unconscious.

Dali at the Atelier des Lumieres (External link)

'The World of Banksy' at l’Espace Lafayette-Drouot

Until 31 December 2021

An enchanting and immersive journey with this master of street art, who became a world-renowned artist while keeping his identity a total secret. Over 1,200 square metres and around 100 works, we get to know this graffiti king who imposed his style on the streets of the world and left his mark on the doors of the Bataclan after the 2015 attacks. The exhibition includes a reproduction of the famous Santa's Ghetto, created in Bethlehem in 2005.

The World of Banksy (External link)

'Napoléon' at the Grande Halle de la Villette

28 May to 19 December 2021

To mark the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte, this exhibition co-produced with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Grand Palais retraces the life of the first French emperor. Over 150 original items have been brought together for the first time to tell the fascinating story of a man who was as much admired as he was controversial, and to paint a portrait of an era that founded modern-day France. Between the throne room and the country tent, Parisian salons and battlefields, spectacular reconstructions portray the imperial life of Napoleon until his death on the island of Saint-Helena on 5 May 1821.

The Napoleon exhibition (External link)

'Botticelli' at the Musée Jacquemart-André

10 September 2021 to 24 January 2022

Following Signac's colourful harmonies, on display until 19 July, the Jacquemart-André museum will end the year in style by celebrating Sandro Botticelli. Some 40 works by the Renaissance master and some of his Florentine contemporaries will be presented, highlighting the importance of studio practice in Botticelli's production, as creator, entrepreneur and teacher.

The Musée Jacquemart-André (External link)

'Vivian Maier' at the Musée du Luxembourg

15 September 2021 to 16 January 2022

Vivian Maier, who died in 2009, was one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century and had an unusual career. She meticulously observed American society and photographed the streets of New York and Chicago from the 1950s onwards. Overexposed modernity and the other side of the coin are the essence of Vivian Maier's work. The exhibition provides access for the first time to the photographer's unpublished archives, discovered in 2007.

Vivian Maier at the Musée du Luxembourg (External link)

'The Morozov Collection' at the Fondation Louis Vuitton

22 September 2021 to 22 February 2022

This major art event at the Louis Vuitton Foundation is the first time the Morozov Collection will be presented outside Russia. Don't miss this opportunity to admire works by famous French and Russian modern artists brought together by the Morozov brothers. Matisse, Bonnard, Picasso, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Denis, Cézanne... alongside Vroubel, Chagall, Malevitch, Repine, Larionov and Serov!

Fondation Louis Vuitton (External link)

'Cinema At Last!' at the Musée d’Orsay

28 September 2021 to 16 January 2022

The Musée d'Orsay invites visitors to step back in time and explore the French film production of 1895-1907 in dialogue with the history of the arts, from the invention of photography in the early years of the 20th century. 400 works, objects and films by Pierre Bonnard, Léon Gaumont, Auguste and Louis Lumière, Georges Méliès, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Charles Pathé and Henri Rivière set the scene for an exhibition that celebrates the Seventh Art.

Cinema At Last! at the Musée d'Orsay (External link)

'Paris-Athens: The Birth of Modern Greece (1675-1919)' at the Musée du Louvre

30 September 2021 to 7 February 2022

Organised on the occasion of the bicentenary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, this exhibition will highlight the links between Greece and European culture, notably through archaeological institutes such as the Ecole Française d'Athènes created in 1846. Explore a colourful Greece, marked by its Byzantine and Orthodox identity, far removed from the constraints of neoclassicism.

The Louvre (External link)

'Aux Frontières de l’Humain' at the Musée de l’Homme

October 2021 to May 2022

Are there not certain limits beyond which humanity risks endangering and losing itself? This is a very pertinent question that 'At the Frontiers of Man' will attempt to answer, or at least to provide some elements of understanding. The impossibility of reducing man to a single definition will be the main theme, as well as his capacity to pursue a quest for reinvention and surpassing himself. By taking anthropological and ethical points of view, there is a projection into the future with the experience and testimonies of the past.

The Musée de l'Homme (External link)