Artist Kent Monkman’s Guide to Paris


Inside the bustling bistros and intimate museums of Saint–Germain–des–Prés.

I first started travelling to Paris in my early twenties to see the art museums, but now I also go for my own research projects and exhibitions, like Beauty and the Beasts, the inaugural exhibit at the Canadian Cultural Centre, which reopened in May 2018. I usually visit once a year and stay in Saint–Germain–des–Prés. It’s a short walk to the Louvre, which I like to stop in at every day, and has an elegant vibe – it’s full of nice restaurants, beautiful clothing in shop windows and well–dressed Parisians.

July 1, 2019

Kent’s 5 Spots in Paris

The exterior of Musée National Eugène-Delacroix in Paris
Photo: Musée National Eugène-Delacroix
  1. Musée National Eugène–Delacroix —

    is actually located in the artist’s former home and studio. I’m a bit of a Delacroix geek, so standing where he created his paintings and drawings, and seeing the same views out the windows, makes his life as an artist feel more real.

An intersection at Rue de Buci, Paris
  1. Rue de Buci —

    is lively day and night, with bars and restaurants lining both sides of the street. I’ve rented Airbnbs on this stretch, and even if I’m staying at Hôtel de l’Abbaye, my go–to in the neighbourhood, I’ll often find myself here for lunch and dinner.

Menus hang from the ceiling at L’Avant Comptoir in Paris
Photo: L’Avant Comptoir
  1. L’Avant Comptoir —

    is a stand–up wine and snack counter. I love the menus hanging from the ceiling that display all the tapas available. It’s cozy, fun and communal – everyone shares the bread and butter on the bar.

A fish dish served at Brasserie Lipp in Paris
Photo: Brasserie Lipp
  1. Brasserie Lipp —

    is a bustling bistro with an old–school French attitude, where the waiters wear bow ties, white shirts and aprons. I order the sole meunière, since I try to eat as much fish as possible when I’m in Paris – the French cook it so well.

Paintings and sculptures on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris
Photo: Musée d’Orsay
  1. Musée d’Orsay —

    has an incredible series of rotating shows and a sculpture court. There are a number of works here, like Spring Rut. The Battle of the Stags by Gustave Courbet, that I return to again and again. While the Louvre can feel overwhelming, this museum is manageable.