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Arts & Culture | Paris

Contemporary Art Takes Over Paris: FIAC Art Fair in October Words by Alexandra Marshall

"Our Paris Editor Alexandra Marshall gives us her insider tips on what to see and where to drink during Paris’s biggest contemporary art event"

The Paris art market has been on a roll. Thanks to a combination of Brexit fears and the suppression of the French wealth tax, London’s dominance is downshifting, as France’s smaller share of the market has ticked up. Last year saw a surge in sales at Paris’s primary art fair, FIAC. There is every reason to expect the same or better this year.

FIAC’s raison d’être is sales, not education or exhibitions, though you don’t have to be a collector to enjoy it. The Grand Palais is the main venue—there is also FIAC Hors les Murs in the Tuileries, Place Vendôme, Petit Palais, and, new this year, the Place de la Concorde—and it is stunning even when it’s empty, with its Beaux Arts glass roof that lets in the soft October light. That’s where you’ll find the big galleries like Hauser & Wirth and Gmurzynska, as well as, in the Lafayette section, younger outfits like Sandy Brown, Queer Thoughts and Truth and Consequences. Twenty-seven galleries are confident enough to present solo shows; look out for Grayson Perry, Anne Craven, Krishna Reddy, Maryan and Zoe Paul.


As the top end of the market sees prices climb ever-upwards, young galleries have become an important center of action. To wit, Paris Internationale. In its fifth year, it runs concurrently with FIAC in more or less the same end of town, and focuses on independent outfits the world over, from Crèvecoeur and Galerie Antoine Levi in Paris to A Thousand Plateaus from Chengdu and in between. For 2018, Gucci has signed on as an exclusive sponsor, making the preview night, October 16, a must for those who love ironic sequins as much as they do fantastic art. Because one gets hungry strolling fairs, and on-site snack bars are no one’s idea of a gastronomic event, a few restaurants near the venues are worth booking in advance: For FIAC, Balagan, a 10-minute walk from the Grand Palais, serves revisited Israeli and southern Mediterranean fair with exceptional cocktails. (It’s owned by the Experimental Group, of Experimental Cocktail Club fame.) Or, if you’ve just closed a deal and money is no object, Le Clarence—fine dining set in a sumptuous townhouse by the owners of the Bordelais jewels Clarendelle, Chateau Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and Quintus—will guarantee no one overhears your celebration.


For Paris Internationale, the nearby Museum Nissim Camondo’s in-house café, Le Camondo, has a massive terrace and lovely, light bistro food, with desserts from L’éclair de génie’s Christophe Michalak.

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