Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain Museum in Paris

The Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain is often just known as the Fondation Cartier, and it is a contemporary art museum in Paris for sculpture, painting, photography, video art and more from living artists, which is located in a modern glass building.

A bit of history

The Fondation Cartier was initially formed in 1984 by the President of Cartier International, Alain Dominique Perrin upon discussions with the artist Cesar, and was first located just outside Paris near to Chateau Versailles.
Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain building
Yet in 1994, with a full name of Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, this contemporary art museum moved to the 14th Arrondissement into a building that was specially designed for the purpose by the renowned architect Jean Nouvel, who also created the buildings for the Institut du Monde Arabe and another museum in Paris called the Musee du Quai Branly.

It was Jean Nouvel who had the challenge of combining over 1,100 metres squared of exhibition space and six storeys of offices, which led to the design incorporating modern techniques along with lots of glass and steel for transparency, so that any of the exhibitions would modify the building, in turn provoking more interest and intrigue from people passing by.

The light can therefore make the exhibitions change, so for the By Night exhibition the building looked black, whereas for the Etre Nature exhibition it looked transparent, and therefore, the Fondation Cartier building seems to change with the different exhibitions it conducts.  Plus the enclosed garden is screened from the Boulevard Raspail road by a wall of glass for even more added effect.

About the Fondation Cartier Contemporary Art Museum

The Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain has always been about discovering new talents and showcasing work from living artists, often those that are young or virtually unknown, and it has helped many people gain worldwide recognition for their works of art.
Also with a concept of showcasing diverse forms of contemporary art from many different mediums, whether it is sculptures, paintings, photography, video art, etc, the Cartier Foundation also commissions artists.  This in turn supports them by sponsoring a piece of work or a complete series of works, but they then also help the up and coming artist from the conception to the execution, in order to bring the project to fruition.

Since the move to the new building, more and more diverse exhibitions have been presented along with a very varied amount of different art forms from all over the world, in addition to organising family visits and children's activity workshops with the concept of getting the younger generation interested in art from a completely different perspective.

We mentioned earlier that there was an enclosed garden and this was a commissioned work created by the artist Lothar Baumgarten, with the name Theatrum Botanicum, which is taken from books dating back to the Middle Ages, where monks would take inventory of medicinal and aromatic plants.

Although its appearance resembles a wild meadow, Lothar Baumgarten created a cultivated garden and since 1992 when it was first started during the construction process, the garden has become a permanent work in progress with the idea of offering visitors a spectacle of nature, which is both calculated and wild.
Art exhibition at Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain
Contemporary art at Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain
The Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain also hosts the Nomadic Nights, which bring together the performing arts, where artists can explore the links between visual art and other forms of contemporary artistic expression.  This is where artists can take over exhibition spaces and the garden for an evening, whether it be for screenings, lectures, concerts and performances, which just enhances the whole concept of this contemporary art museum.

Visiting the Fondation Cartier Museum in Paris

The Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain is open on a Tuesday from 11am through to 10pm and on a Wednesday to a Sunday it opens from 11am closing at 8pm, however this contemporary art museum in Paris is always closed on a Monday and certain national French holidays such as 25th December and 1st January.

However, there are sometimes exceptional closures of this museum, when they are preparing for an entirely new exhibition, such as one time during March 2018, therefore it is recommended that you check their website prior to arriving and being disappointed.

As of 2018, the cost of entry is approximately €12, with a reduced rate of €8.50 for students under the age of 25 and senior citizens, but this cost does change depending upon the exhibition, and you can pre-book tickets securely on line if you wish to.

We would however, like to point out that there is also free admission to children under the age of 13, for people under the age of 18 on a Wednesday from 2pm through to 6pm and for those of you who are disabled upon proof of eligibility.
Freeing Architecture at Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain
Guided tours are also available at 6pm, yet these are subject to availability, as there are limited spaces available for these, which are free to any person who has a ticket to the current exhibition.

Access to the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain

Located in the 14th Arrondissement within easy walking distance of the Tour Montparnasse, the Montparnasse Cemetery and numerous other tourist attractions in Paris, when it comes to getting here via public transport, you will find that the nearest Metro stations are the Raspail stop or the Denfert-Rochereau stop both serving lines 4 and 6.

Plus the Gare Denfert-Rochereau is also an RER train station, which services the RER B Line, or you have the Port-Royal stop located close to the Jardins des Grands Explorateurs serving the same RER line.

Alternatively, if you are travelling by bus, then you would need the bus lines 38, 68, 88 or 91, yet the Noctilien Night Bus Service via lines N14, N21 and N122 will also get you within walking distance.

In addition to these, if you are travelling to or from Orly Airport, then you may be pleased to know that just outside the historical Gare Denfert-Rochereau train station there is a bus stop and ticket machine for the dedicated OrlyBus.