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Paris Magnum Exhibition riot

Paris Magnum

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Why you will love it?

There is no better way to see the real recent history of Paris than by gazing at the pictures taken by Magnum, a French photography agency. The exhibition Paris Magnum retraces 80 years of Parisian history through 150 magnificent photographs in Paris’ beautiful City Hall (Hôtel de Ville). A great way to discover some historical pictures that rank among the world’s most famous news pictures. From the horrors of post-World War II to the exciting artistic Nuit Blanche festival today, Paris Magnum tells the tale of an ever changing Paris that somehow always manages to keep its identity and charm. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

5 rue Lobau, 75004 Paris
Line 1/11 - Hôtel de Ville

Wednesday : 10:00 am - 18:30 pm
more less
Monday : 10:00 am - 18:30 pm Tuesday : 10:00 am - 18:30 pm Wednesday : 10:00 am - 18:30 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 18:30 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 18:30 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 18:30 pm Sunday : Closed
25 December 1 January

Our Insiders' Article

At a Glance

The photography agency Magnum was created in 1947, right after World War II by a group of famous photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Capa and Seymour. The primary goal of Magnum was to help the photographers become the real owners of their own pictures. To join Magnum was not easy. Even today, it takes a very long time to become a member of the agency in order to guarantee the level of perfection. Therefore, a look at the history of Paris through the eyes of such great photographers is a real privilege

Before 1947

Although Magnum was created in 1947, the founding members were already accomplished photographers. The exhibition Paris Magnum starts off with pictures of Paris before and during WWII. A good way to relive some important historical events such as the Front Populaire (left wing political alliance) and the rise of fascism. In 1944, Capa and Cartier-Bresson took pictures of the Liberation of Paris, while others took great shots on the battlefields or of the French Resistance.

1947 - 1970

The second part is divided into two distinct sections. Between 1947 and 1960, times are tough and Paris was left devastated. Hunger struck and floods hit Paris. All this misery was captured by many Magnum photographers such as Leonard Freed. Darkness and sadness are on almost every pictures, and the only smiles are from the acrobat painters dangling from the Eiffel Tower. Times change in the 1960’s as the gloomy days give way to Pop Art and miniskirts. But it was also the time of the famous student revolution, May ’68, a turning point in the history of Paris and France. All these emotions and events have been immortalized by Magnum

1970 - present

Here again, there are 2 distinct sections. The first pictures take you back to the times of the great constructionsThe Louvre Pyramid, the Centre Georges Pompidou and La Defense. Paris becomes a modern city. Although the slums of Paris are pushed back, but poverty still remains as seen on Marc Riboud’s picture taken in 1982. The second section is dedicated to Paris after the 1990s and the place of photography in a time when TV is strong and internet makes a timid appearance. Paris and photography need to reinvent themselves... 


The exhibition Paris Magnum is a wonderful discovery. A way to discover an old Paris that does not exist anymore, a modern Paris, and an eternal Paris. Throughout the years, Magnum photographers have taken pictures of Paris with their cameras, but also with their hearts. In a world of war or peace, poverty or wealth, Paris has always been Paris, and the city will never be as beautifully photographed as through the eyes of those that love “her”.

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