Grand building with fountain in front
Art,  Monday walks,  Paris

An ‘arty’ stroll in Paris

Paris is famed for its art galleries. From the iconic Louvre via the stylish Museé d’Orsay to the wonderful display of Monet’s Waterlilies in the Musée de l’Orangerie, there are collections to appeal to all tastes. Smaller galleries too, many less well known, and artists’ studios such as those of Rodin and Delacroix. And now there is a new kid on the block, the Bourse de Commerce. Let me take you there.

But first our stroll will take us past some of those other galleries, large and small. It’s a route we followed on a recent (very hot) morning in the city, and should make for a lovely ‘arty’ Monday Walk for Jo.

Rue de Seine

We started at the front entrance of our apartment on the rue de Seine and followed that road to the river. We stopped to look at its interesting galleries (most still closed at this time of day), some quirky street art and other photogenic details.

Crossing the river

We crossed over the wonderful Pont des Arts, stopping for some photos of course.

The Louvre

Would you believe that despite (I think) nine visits to Paris, I have never yet been in the Louvre?! Somehow there always seem to be other more interesting things to do, and I’m put off by the crowds when the other galleries are so much easier to visit. Maybe one day … Today however, our focus was on the architecture and the many visitors thronging its courtyards, so we spent some time here taking lots of photos.

La Bourse de Commerce

As it started to get hot we walked north along the Rue du Louvre to the Bourse, which we planned to visit. But as it doesn’t open till 11.00 there was time for refreshments at a lovely nearby cafe, Les Deux Ecus.

Domed building with a flag outside
La Bourse de Commerce

La Bourse is the one-time stock exchange building (and formerly a corn exchange) which has now been converted to a modern art gallery. Whatever your interest in contemporary art, the building itself is worth a visit.

The art starts outside, with the striking ‘Horse and Rider’ statue by Charles Ray. A sign explained that this was originally part of a solo exhibition by that artist in 2022. His aim in this piece was to reference classical equestrian statues but with none of their notions of power and virility. Instead he portrays himself hunched over the horse and without reins. He says that he tried to sculpt his nervousness.

Inside we found that we enjoyed quite a few, but not all, of the artists featured in the galleries. Some of the abstract works by Tacita Dean and Frank Bowling appealed to me, as did Robert Gober’s Waterfall, a video presented inside a man’s jacket! The leaflet said of the latter, ‘The viewer, a captive of this device, becomes a character in turn.’ No, I didn’t quite get that, until I photographed a man studying the video!

The marouflage frieze

And I loved the building, especially the frieze around the central dome. This is described in a sign on the wall as a ‘marouflaged canvas’. That was a new term to me so I turned to Wikipedia:

Marouflage is a technique for affixing a painted canvas (intended as a mural) to a wall, using an adhesive that hardens as it dries, such as plaster or cement.

The sign goes on to explain that the mural is in four parts, reflecting the power balance at the time. Russia and America have their own sections, while Europe is paired with the Ottoman Empire and in the fourth section Asia and Africa are grouped together, the targets of conquest and colonialisation. Racial stereotypes abound, such as the graciously welcoming Japanese women and the warrior-like Africans. Putting modern sensibilities aside, it’s an incredible work of art.

Looking up at a glass dome
The glass dome

I was also intrigued by the double helix staircase which as well as being beautiful presented great photo opps. I already shared one shot of it in my monochrome Paris gallery, here it is now in colour.

Plate with salad including eggs and fish
Salade Niçoise

By the time we left the Bourse it was well after midday. So we returned to Les Deux Ecus to round off the morning with lunch. I had a delicious Salade Niçoise with seared tuna, but sorry Jo, no cake!

I last visited Paris in September 2023, when all these photos were taken


  • equinoxio21

    Rue de Seine is just perfect for galleries.
    The Louvre is a must. (You must go in one day…)
    The statues in the Cour Carrée are some of my favourites.
    (I do wish they’d hire someone, even on minimum wage, just to dust the statues… They would be even more precious…
    Thanks for the visit. Just been there, bitching about many things, but I could easily go back now…

  • Marie Nicholon

    Gotcha! Or rather I’ve manage to connect again by clicking on this link in your comment on Jo’s Monday Walk! Otherwise, you have been permanently moved from my orbit by WP. Lovely pictures and the explanatory text was all I needed. My hairdresser went to Paris last week for the first time but didn’t book up for anything so saw nothing. Yes, nothing. Everything needed advance booking – even the Moulin Rouge. She was so disappointed. I’m never glad to be growing old but I can now appreciate the fun of Parisian life before everywhere was a tick on someone’s bucket list, and before Europe’s ruins were swarmed over by disinterested visitors who’d seen it on TV and reckoned it might be worth a selfie. Glad you had such a good time in Paris, your enjoyment comes through.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Glad you found me Marie 🙂 Your hairdresser was either really unlucky or only focused on a few super-popular sights. We booked the Bourse ten minutes ahead of time while sitting over a coffee in the square opposite! Otherwise we booked nothing on this trip, but as we were mainly walking around and popping into the odd interesting-looking church, that didn’t matter. You don’t need to go to the Moulin Rouge to enjoy Paris!

  • wetanddustyroads

    I don’t think I’ve ever done an ‘arty’ walk but really enjoyed yours. Lovely photos – I especially like the staircase (you chose the perfect angle to get a great photo of this). And I’ll settle for a Salade Niçoise if cake isn’t available (especially on a hot day).

  • TheRamblingWombat

    La Bourse looks very worthy a visit though I am not sure ‘The Waterfall’ would do it for me .. perhaps it’s better in real life. You really must go to the Louvre Sarah. Outside a few rooms, it really is not that crowded, especially if you are not there at peak times.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks for stopping by Albert 🙂 I know you’re right about the crowds, it’s not a concern about them that deters me from visiting – there just always seems to be something more interesting to do in the city!

  • Wetravelhappy

    We went after dinner at the Louvre and there were not too many people anymore, except at Mona Lisa’s. But then again that was many years ago. Thank you for taking us on a tour of La Bourse, I do love these tours even if they’re just virtual. 🙂

  • grandmisadventures

    At the top our list for Paris next time is to actually see the art museums. Im not much of an art person, but Paris would have me spending hours in these museums soaking up the art and the history behind them.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, there are some cities where you feel you must soak up some at least of the art 🙂 But for me a lot depends on the weather – if it’s fine in Paris I’d rather be out on the streets or in the cafes, but on a rainy day I’m more likely to want to visit a gallery or museum!

  • Ju-Lyn

    Ah! Paris and her musuems! and a new one as well – thank you for giving us a peek. I love the architectural features you highlighted. And the artwork, such fun! especially the can of farm grease in the window!

    I have only visited Paris once decades ago – we always meant to go back but our return trips subsequently took us to different parts of the countryside. We managed the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and Musee Picasso in the long weekend we were there, but that’s all we could manage. We didn’t even feel we gave each place enough time.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Ju-Lyn, I’m so glad you enjoyed seeing this new gallery 🙂 You’re right, you can’t possibly do everything in a long weekend – I’m amazed you managed three museums! The Orsay is a favourite of mine although we haven’t been for some years now.

  • Suzanne@PictureRetirement

    Sarah, I have been to Paris three times and I have visited the Louvre twice. The first time was out of fear that I would never again be in that position and the second time was to savor the experience – alone. Your proxmity to Paris allows you to take some things for granted. It will always be there, and you are always a train ride away. But, you must. I appreciate, without necessarily understanding some of the pieces you have shown today, but that is what art is all about – appreciation. The horse and rider are a downtrodden contrasts to most of the 16th, 17th and even 18th century pieces that depict warriors in battle, strong and virile. He looks lost and defeated and his emotions have clearly transferred to the poor horse.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you for your thoughtful response Suzanne 🙂 Yes, we’re so lucky to be this close to Paris – we can get there faster than a lot of places in the UK! I will get around to visiting the Louvre one day, I am sure.

  • bushboy

    Another wonderful tour of Paris thanks Sarah. I have never been inside the Louvre either! Lots of other galleries and museums though 🙂

  • Monkey's Tale

    I find that I appreciate and understand architecture more than art most times. The art on the ceiling of the stock exchange building kind of reminds me of the strange cultural references in the theatres in Brazil.


    Well, seeing “that painting” in the Louvre is one of life’s more underwhelming moments, I have to say. A lot of the brilliant stuff you’ve reproduced here is far more worth the visit. But of course you’ll have to do it one day.

  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    This is an interesting gallery, Sarah. I studied art in college, but there are some works that I can’t figure out either. Inside the man’s jacket would’ve confused me. I do love the building too, and your staircase shot is art in itself, my friend. Wonderful post.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much Kellye 😀 You’re right about that jacket piece but at least it’s got us all talking! I totally agree about the staircase, it’s beautiful.

  • margaret21

    You did us proud with your tour. I particularly enjoyed the last two shots (and no, I don’t count your salade). I’d never ‘do’ the Louvre. Our last visit to the Uffizi was like one of the Circles of Hell. We never got anywhere near a picture, especially a well-known one. So different from my student days when I’d go early in the morning an have the place more or less to myself.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      From what I understand, if you avoid the famous pieces like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, you can have whole galleries in the Louvre almost to yourself! One day I’ll put that theory to the test …

      • margaret21

        Oh, in that case, do. The Uffizi was a nightmare from beginning to end. Just the odd room with Italian Mannerists, of whom I’m not fond, was reachable.

      • restlessjo

        Art galleries are strange places, aren’t they? You feel like they should be making a great impression on you, but often it’s the building doing the talking. That ceiling/gallery in the Bourse reminds me very much of the Raclawiczka in Wroclaw. A distant memory for me, of another hot day. Thanks for sharing, Sarah. Always interesting 🤗🩵

  • Alison

    Hot on my heels Sarah. Yes i also saw a big queue for the Louvre. I think you need a time slot as well. It’s just fun walking around isn’t it

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