France’s must-see exhibitions 2018-2019

The regions and cities of France are bursting with museums that put on must-see exhibitions every year. Head to Bordeaux, Paris, Metz, Rouen, Lille, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence, Lens or Marseille to be moved and to marvel…

Ai Weiwei at MuCEM, Marseille

20 June–12 November 2018
A multi-talented artist, Ai Weiwei is one of the major figures on the contemporary scene. In this exhibition, ‘Fan Tan’, visitors are struck by the strength of his works, inspired by everyday objects, which challenge all normal methods of interpretation.

Why go? The exhibition makes you question yourself – and that’s what we love about Ai Weiwei.
Mucem (External link)

Eldorado at Lille 3000

27 April–6 December 2019
In 2019, all of Lille will become a ‘real Eldorado’ thanks to a major thematic exhibition. There’ll be an opening party, exhibitions in culturally important venues and urban transformations: numerous ways to rediscover the city.

Why go? Eldorado highlights the qualities of Lille’s inhabitants and their models for living together, its innovative companies who are boosting the economy, and the close ties between local artists, researchers and citizens. Lille 3000 (External link)

Miró at the Grand Palais, Paris

3 October 2018–4 February 2019
The Grand Palais has staged a high-profile retrospective on this Spanish artist, tracing his 70 years of creativity. Don’t miss the chance to learn about his style evolution and admire works that are on public display for the first time.
Here’s our pick of other essential exhibitions in Paris.

Porto at the Cité du Vin, Bordeaux

5 October 2018– 6 January 2019
"Porto: Douro, an alchemy between air, land and river"
For this second temporary exhibition dedicated to a ‘guest vineyard’, Portugal is moving to Bordeaux’s Cité du Vin for a multi-sensory visitor experience, punctuated by special events and tastings.

Why go? It’s a great way to learn about Portuguese wines, which are still relatively unknown. Cité du Vin (External link)

‘Love’ at the Louvre-Lens

26 September 2018–21 January 2019
Explore different ways of loving through 250 eclectic works. From seduction to romanticism to passion or adoration, seven thematic chapters guide us in learning more about this universal feeling.

Why go? Love is everywhere in this exhibition, and touches us directly in front of all these works. It’ll melt your heart. Louvre-Lens (External link)

Chagall at Hôtel de Caumont, Aix-en-Provence

1 November 2018–24 March 2019
Fans of the great Marc Chagall will be delighted to explore his works in a new light. ‘Chagall: From Black and White to Colour’ reexamines the artist and his research around black and white.

Why go? Thanks to a display of 100 works from 1948 to his death, visitors are plunged into the bright universe of this multi-talented Chagall. Hôtel de Caumont (External link)

Hugo Pratt at the Musée des Confluences, Lyon

7 April 2018–24 March 2019
In this immersive exhibition we learn about travel, cultures and the spirit awakening of graphic novelist Hugo Pratt, through his hero Corto Maltese. The author’s own comic books are on display, echoing the objects in the museum’s own collections.

Why go? It’s an immersion in Pratt’s adventure universe that will appeal to all ages. Musée des Confluences (External link)

‘Painting the Night’ at the Centre-Pompidou Metz

13 October 2018–15 April 2019
Nocturnal atmospheres have always fascinated artists – and this exhibition presents a wealth of new perceptions about the night. A real must-see for night owls!

Why go? After seeing this exhibition, you’ll never look at the night in the same way. Centre Pompidou Metz (External link)

‘The Art of Drawing’ at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen

8 November 2018– 11 February 2019
Rouen’s Fine Arts Museum hides a secret: over 8,000 drawings are kept in storage due to their fragility. This winter, they’re going on public display.

Why go? These treasures give an overview of graphic art through the ages. A collection that’s well worth seeing.

Musée des Beaux-Arts Rouen (External link)