Paris Photography Museums

Paris is certainly one of the most photographed places in the world and has its lion’s share of iconic photographers including Brassai, Eugene Atget, and Henri Cartier Bresson. Photography museums abound and below is a list of our top picks. 

Jeu du Paume

Once known as the museum of Impressionist paintings with Monet’s, Van Gogh’s, Manets, and Degas, the Jeu de Paume was turned into a contemporary museum in 1991 when the paintings were moved to the Musee D’orsay in 1986. In 2004, the Jeu de Paume was made into a museum for post modern and modern photography and media including video presentations. 


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Today, the Jeu du Paume is the premier space for photography exhibits in Paris and photographers Pierre et Gilles, William Kentridge, Martin Parr, Cindy Sherman, Martin Parr, and Ed Ruscha, among others, have hade major retrospectives. Current shows (November 2013) include exhibits on American photographer Erwin Blumenfeld and French photographer Natacha Nisic. 

1 Place de la Concorde, 75001
Open Wednesday 11AM to 7PM, Tuesday till 9PM

Maison Européenne de la Photographie

Located in a former private mansion from 1706 in the Marais area, Maison Européenne de la Photographie is a space dedicated to contemporary photography. The facility also has a library, auditorium, video room, and houses a photographic restoration and conservation workshop. Maison Européenne de la Photographie has over 20,000 photos and videos in its collection. World-renowned photographers Helmut Newton, Annie Lebovitz, William Klein, Larry Clark, Irving Penn, Alice Springs, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, and Shirin Nestat have had exhibitions there in recent years. 

Current shows (November 2013) include a major retrospective of Brazilian photographer Sebastio Salgado and show by Costa Garvas. 

5/7 rue de Fourcy, 75004
Open Wednesday to Sunday 11AM to 8PM

Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation

One of the great groundbreaking photographers of the 20th century, Henri Cartier-Bresson is considered the father of photojournalism and early adopter of the 35 mm camera. 

In 2003, Cartier-Bresson’s wife and daughter established a foundation to preserve and share the legacy of his work and to encourage and support other photographers. The foundation organizes a competition where the winning photographer exhibits their work at the foundation plus a published catalogue. It also  features lectures and symposiums, and video presentations. The foundation has three new exhibitions a year. 

Current shows (November 2013) include Sergio Lorrain, Vagabondages.

2 Impasse Lebouis, 75014
Open Tuesday to Sunday 1PM to 6:30PM, Wednesday till 8:30PM, Saturday 11AM to 6:45PM