8 Ways to Spend a Weekend in Paris as an Artist
Last November I spent a beautiful long weekend in Paris. It was my first time ever visiting Paris, in fact, it was my first time ever visiting France. And I know everyone says this but I totally fell head-over-heels in love with the place. As an artist and art-lover, I found inspiration and beauty around every corner.
So, I’ve compiled a list of things for artists (or people who just want to see beautiful things) to do on a weekend in Paris. Trust me, there’s so much to choose from. Some are things that I did on my visit and others are ones I wish I had more time for, and will definitely be adding to the agenda on my next visit. Here goes;
1. The Louvre
This one is quite obvious but it is also worth the number one slot on this list. It does take a lot of time and energy to get around because of the sheer size of the building and collection – so wear comfy shoes. But, there’s so much incredible art and history to be seen, not to mention iconic pieces such as ‘Liberty Leading the People’ and of course the ‘Mona Lisa’ – there is a long queue for that but if you want to skip that you can get a pretty good view of it from the side like I did.
I would also recommend stopping for a drink partway through to rest and regain energy. The balcony off the cafe is a beautiful spot for a drink – the sky literally looked like a painting when we sat there.
2. Antique and Vintage Flea Markets
These are absolute goldmines. There is so much to see and so much variety, whether you want to look at furniture, art, clothing, trinkets, books, music, the list goes on and on. The one we visited was Saint Ouen Flea Market which was just a subway journey and a short walk from the centre of the city. I found a vintage vinyl Jazz album which has my name in the title that I purchased as a very special souvenir.
3. Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie
Sadly I didn’t have time to do this one while I was in Paris but it is top of the list for my next visit! Located in the Tuileries Garden, just opposite the Louvre. It is the perfect way for art lovers to spend a few hours soaking in some beautiful famous paintings. I can only imagine seeing Monet’s work on such a large scale, that close-up is a breathtaking experience. Please report back to me if you’ve done this one.
4. Spend an afternoon in Montmartre
Montmartre is such a beautiful part of Paris filled with little cobbled streets, beautiful buildings, art, food and of course the stunning Sacré-Cœur church. We spent some time sitting on the steps eating lunch, listening to buskers and looking out onto the city. Such a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.
Montmartre has a rich history of art, famous painters such as Van Gogh and Picasso have lived and created here. As an artist now it’s incredible to feel connected to great artists of the past and find inspiration in the same streets that they did.
5. Wander around the city
This may seem slightly obvious but just taking time to wander around the city is a great way to stumble upon inspiration and incredible places. For me, this is a no-brainer because I paint building portraits so wandering around streets is the best way to find new subjects for my work. For example, we came across this restaurant while wandering around and I ended up painting it and creating prints from it, we even had a delicious dinner there that evening.
Parisian Café – Art Print
A4 watercolour illustration print inspired by Parisian café, printed on recycled 300gsm paper.
Don’t forget to visit the areas with monuments such as Notre Dame or the Arc de Triomphe.
6. Seine River Cruise
This is for the same reason as the previous one, the difference being that this one doesn’t require lots of walking – you can just sit down with a glass of wine (or a beverage of your choice) and take in the beauty of the city. We did this on our first evening there and it was the perfect introduction to Paris.
On the cruise we did (which I’ll link here) you get to see lots of the city’s monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dome Cathedral, etc, from the comfort of your seat. The drink is included too…
7. Seasonal Markets
On my visit, because it was winter, we were able to get to a Christmas market just as they were starting up for the season. I think because they have only just started it was absolutely jam-packed with people which did make it a bit difficult to get to some stalls, so bear that in mind when planning your visit. We visited the Tuileries Garden Christmas Market which was a gorgeous way to spend an early evening, looking through stalls for art, trinkets, delicious food, and as it was Christmas, drinking some incredible mulled wine.
I think there are markets and fairs that go on throughout the year, all through Paris but Tuileries Garden, in particular, is known for its Christmas Market so it’s worth having a look into that if you’re planning a winter visit.
8. The Eiffel Tower
It wouldn’t be a Paris list if the Eiffel Tower wasn’t included. Absolutely go see the Eiffel Tower but I’ve included this more so for the views when on it. I went up as far as the second level (because there were no tickets left for the top – so book early!) and the views were absolutely breathtaking. I went up in the evening, around 10 pm, so got an incredible view of all of the city lights. I can’t even describe how beautiful it was. On my next visit, I would like to do it in the daytime so I can experience both city lights and daylight.
So that’s my list! Here are some little videos I put together from our trip:
If there’s anything you think I’ve missed that’s worth visiting for artists and art lovers alike, please leave them in a comment. ★