Oscar Wilde famously quipped that art should exist for art’s sake. Richard’s tour seems to take this maxim seriously. While he clearly enjoyed showing me the hidden boutiques and designer shops of the Marais, this only took up about half the tour.
Because Paris is so full of wonderful major museums, it’s easy to neglect smaller galleries. What visitors tend to pass over, though, is precisely what Richard seeks out. It would have been impossible to visit all of the Marais' galleries, but we did go into a few that I had passed several times without venturing to explore.
We saw a collection of photographs of Paris from the 1930s at one gallery, works by the edgy 1980s New York artist Jenny Holzer and other contemporaries at a second gallery, and a variety of multi-colored glassware at a nearby shop.
We also scoped out one of Paris' more unusual, and artistically avant-garde, hotels, l’Hôtel du Petit Moulin (Book direct). With an intricately designed neo-retro interior (which I was not allowed to photograph), this place is really something to see. The concierge was happy to have us pop in to take a look, so we did (see above photo).
All in all, the artistic and more generally aesthetic appeal of Paris was a memorable part of the tour. The tour's slow pace allowed us to linger in the galleries and other aesthetically pleasing places and to get a real feel for them.