Paris is a city full of world-class museums that alone would take weeks to sufficiently explore. So why recommend yet another museum? Because the Maison Européenne de la Photographie is different. Situated in the historic heart of the city, this Photography Museum houses an exhibition center, a videotape library, a large reference library and an auditorium – all open for your use. Dedicated to contemporary creation; original period prints, more than 12000 rare books and retrospective exhibits are among the attractions of the museum.
The European Museum of Photography is located in the Marais in a restored 1706 mansion and features classical architecture in its ironwork, façade and impressive central staircase that are all registered as historical monuments. The building was originally built for Hénault de Cantobre, a tax collector, and is an extraordinary example of 18th century classical architecture. Since 1914 the building is owned by the city of Paris and, with its historical monuments, is truly worth a visit. The city of Paris chose the hotel de Cantobre as site for the MEP for a reason. But in order for the building to be used as a large-scale cultural institution like it is today, the architectural studio of Yves Lion, who won the competition, had to redesign the house. The architects successfully managed to invent an internal flow for the functional needs of the modern museum, while at the same time preserving the old-world charm of the house and respecting its original structure.
In over 12,000 square feet of exhibition space spread over the three floors, you can discover the permanent collection with works by famous photographers like Martin Parr, Raymond Depardon or Josef Koudelka and Robert Frank. But the best part about the photography museum are the always changing temporary exhibits. From journalism to art photography or fashion photography, every exhibit is special and will not let you leave the museum untouched. The MEP is a great place that showcases professional and novice photographers alike; some of the world’s best photographers as well as up and coming photographers.
Since it is also home to a café in the 18th-century basement in this architecturally stunning building, your visit to the MEP can be worthily rounded off with a nice cup of coffee or tea in this unique ambience. The Maison Européenne de la Photographie truly is an extraordinary place in the abundance of museums in Paris and should not be missed. Tip: come on Wednesday after 5 pm and entrance is free!
Come take a look at our apartments in Paris, you will surely find one that is close to this gem of a museum!