Paris: how to stay out of the cold.

What better time of year to take in an exhibition or two in Paris than in the winter, when you can stroll around the galleries without the tourists, enjoy the troves of art the French capital offers, and keep warm into the bargain?

How about starting with the Musée Jacquemart-André (158 Boulevard Haussmann, www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com)? This palatial mansion is a fabulous example of grand 19th-century Parisian lifestyle, just a stone’s throw away from the Champs Elysées. It was the private residence of Edouard André and his painter wife Nélie Jacqemart, who devoted their lives to building what is now the largest private collection of art works in Paris.

More than a gallery, you can visit the winter garden, Moorish smoking room and the Italian museum, with its stunning collection of early-Renaissance paintings. The dining room is now a tea room, complete with a Tiepolo on the ceiling, reports the Telegraph. The present exhibition, Rubens and the 17th century painters, runs until the 24th of January 2011.

Alternatively, if you prefer something less pretty-pretty, the grittier more functional style Pompidou Centre (www.centrepompidou.fr), has a Mondrian/De Stijl exhibition running from the 1st of December to the 21st of March. The Mondrian exhibition focuses on the artist’s Paris period from Cubism to geometric abstraction, whilst the display of De Stijl and his cohorts focuses on their total art, design and architecture experience, including works by van Doesburg and Rietveld.

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