Visit an auction house in Paris

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auction house in paris
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“Going, going, gone!” 

Public auctions are no novelty in France; the first one was held in 1524. Auctions in France are said to be “public” simply because entrance to them is free and open to all, with no obligation to bid. Therefore, this can be a fun way to discover the backstage of the Parisian art scene and Esprit de France has picked three famous auction houses for you to visit.


Located within the premises of the Dassault Hotel, on the Champs-Elysées roundabout, the Artcurial auction house holds over 100 sales yearly, including some of the most publicized in the media. It auctions everything from paintings, sculpture, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, design, photography, comic strips and jewelry to automobiles and wine collections.
Located within its premises is also an interesting art bookshop and exclusive Italian restaurant, decorated by interior designers, Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier.

7 Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées
Metro: Franklin D.Roosevelt
Open from Monday to Friday, from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. 11 a.m to 6 p.m on Saturday and 2 p.m to 6 p.m on Sunday.
Reservations for Café Artcurial : +33 (0)1 53 76 39 34.
Open every day at lunch and diner.


The Parisian branch of the world-renowned auction house is located in the elegant Napoleon III period building restored in the 30s, opposite the Elysée, the residence of the French president. You might not know that Sotheby’s doesn’t only hold auctions; it also organizes exhibitions, conferences and a host of other cultural events.

76 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris 8
Open everyday, from 10 a.m to 6 p.m
Metro: Miromesnil


Auctions have been part of public life since 1524. Founded in 1852, Drouot is Paris’s best-known auction house, with over 100 auctioneers, 74 sales rooms, 2000 auctions held annually, 600,000 paintings, furniture items and various works of art in its sixteen-room site on Rue Drouot. Lots for auction are exhibited for public viewing the day before the sale. The premises itself has a vibrant atmosphere, with a mix of collectors, sellers and novices and an incredible variety of items on display, from totes by Hermès to 17th century paintings and precious wine collections from Bordeaux dating back to 1947.

9, rue Drouot, Paris 9.
Metro: Le Peletier ou Grands Boulevards
Open everyday, from 11 a.m to 6 p.m (beginnings of auctions at 2 p.m)
Late opening on Thursday : until 9 p.m.