It’s September again and fall will soon arrive in Paris which means the city has woken up from its August hibernation. The tourists are gone, the shops are open, the children are back in school, and galleries are redecorating their white walls with new art.
It’s pretty easy to get the impression that in its hidden corners alone Paris offers more art than any other city in its museums and galleries combined. For example, take the tiny rue Quincampoix . Located in the 3rd Arrondissement and tucked between rue aux Ours to the north and rue Rambuteau to the south, this small strip which dates back to the 13th century, hosts a variety of gallery spaces, wine shops, and bistros, where a couple of hours can be spent around a visit to the nearby Centre Pompidou.
At the top of the street, Galerie Médiat displays ceramics and paintings by contemporary artists. Their current show, “Territoires en Mouvement,” is a gathering of work that looks at geological frontiers through the ceramic art of Jean-Pierre Chollet, Andrée & Michel Hirlet, Sylvane Perret, and Jean-Luc Pinçon, as well as, Saharan-inspired paintings by Anne Mandorla.
At No. 107, Galerie Cour Carrée is currently showing a body of work by photographer Lin Delpierre. The exhibition, titled “2007-2010: Nouveaux Itinéraires,” runs from September 9 to October 2.
One of the bigger galleries on the street, Polad-Hardouin, currently exhibits some of the most interesting work by artist Gérard Alary on this little strip. As an artist versed in multiple disciplines, having tried his hand at architecture, fashion, music and cinema, Alary returns this year with a new set of paintings and drawings in a show entitled “Saint-Soleil,” that will run through October 9. Artist Christophe Boursault, from Marseille, is showing his work downstairs in the same gallery.
Continuing on down the street, to one side you will find the Passage Molière in which a couple more galleries can be found, as well as, some hidden corners to sit for a glass of wine or a bite to eat. Luxury Biosphere offers a chic variety of wines, foie gras, chocolates, and if you’re able to grab one of the two tables outside, a choice of salads and small plates are available for a modest lunch.
Also in the passage, La Maison de la Poesie (aka Théâtre Molière) hosts an entire season of performances and readings by visiting poets and poets-in-residence. From September 24 through September 26 the 9th Festival Les Radiophonies will take place with over 50 writers and performers participating.
And finally, the most attractive little bistro on this part of the rue Quincampoix: L’Art Brut. It is small, dark, lively and full of art and art-lovers that spill out into the street on any given night. On some nights you might catch a bit of live music, or perhaps a little cabaret show while having some fairly priced drinks (at 5€ tops) and some cheese, sausage and/or charcuterie platters. It’s a simple locale with a joie de vivre attitude tailored to the setting, and is the place to tie in a drink before a gallery opening or a performance.
Rue Quincampoix is neither a flashy street, nor the only one like it in Paris. But it is central, interesting, historical and it offers a great chance of introduction to what the galleries of Paris have to offer. So if you find yourself in the 3rd Arrondissement, take a little stroll down this narrow and historical street for a little taste of the gallery culture that has thrived in Paris since Manet, Renoir and countless others haunted its streets.
Métro: Rambuteau (M11) or Étienne Marcel (M4)
Address: 109 Rue Quincampoix
Tél: 01 42 78 44 93
Galerie Cour Carrée
Address: 107 rue Quincampoix
Tél: +33 1 48 874 636
Hours: Closed Sunday – Tuesday
Address: 86 rue Quincampoix
Tél: 33 (0)1 42 71 05 29
Hours: Closed Mondays
Address: 19 passage Molière
Tél: 01 42 71 73 56
Maison de la Poésie
Address: Passage Molière – 157 rue Saint-Martin
Tél: 01 44 54 53 00
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 2pm – 6pm
Address: 78 Rue Quincampoix
Tél: 01 42 72 17 36
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 4pm – 2am