1. Pompidou Centre, Paris

So don’t worry about that cheeky fag at lunchtime or – whoops! – getting wrecked again last Friday. Focus on a more achievable goal: to up the cultural ante in your travels this year.

There’s no better way to do this than by booking a soul-enriching, mind-expanding holiday to marvel at some of the greatest masterpieces of modern art in the world’s most creative cities.

Paris, naturellement, is an excellent place to start.If you’re going to dive head-first into the art scene, make a beeline for the Centre Pompidou in the 4th arrondissement, where the Musée National d’Art Moderne is housed.

Here you’ll find the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe, with more than 70,000 works from paintings to photography.

The biggest draws include pieces by greats such as Picasso, Chagall, Warhol, Duchamp and Giacometti.

You should browse through the museum’s vaults online to check which items from its permanent collection are actually on display – only about 600 can be seen at one time but they are regularly switched around.

Right now there’s a mega Salvador Dali show in Galerie 1, which has been getting rave reviews for showcasing some of Dali’s lesser-known works.

It will be running until March 25 (entrance to the exhibition costs £10.50) and includes art from Dali’s purist, cubist and surrealist periods.

After drinking in the maximum of masterpieces you can manage, don’t forget to admire the architecture of the Centre Pompidou itself.

It’s been described as looking like a factory turned inside out – all industrial pipes, cables, tubes and scaffolding with bright flashes of colour.

Then take yourself to a bohemian bar with some suitably artistic friends and spend the evening furiously arguing about your favourites.

Wearing a beret and painterly scowl is strictly optional. Cultural resolution fulfilled.  


2. Moma, New York

It’s hard to know where to start at MoMA, the biggest and arguably the most influential modern art museum in the world. 

Launched in the late Twenties and housed in its current location since 1939, MoMA has 150,000 pieces, including Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Matisse’s The Dance, along with major film and architecture sections.

Plan your visit in advance to make the most of it. Entrance is £15.50. 


3. Guggenheim, Bilbao

The Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim in Bilbao is a work of art in itself, one of the most celebrated pieces of architecture in the world.

It’s no less impressive inside, where you can find large-scale works and installations by contemporary artists, such as Richard Serra and Mark Rothko.

There are also displays from local Basque artists. Entry is £8.90. 


4. The Garage, Moscow

Moscow’s art scene is growing fast, with independent galleries and exhibition spaces popping up around the city all the time, but the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture is one of the hottest. 

It has showcased international artists such as Jeff Koons (Hanging Heart), as well as modern Russian art.

The Garage has been such a success since its 2008 launch that is was recently moved to a bigger location in Gorky Park. Admission is about £20.



5. Mori, Tokyo

Whatever your opinion of modern art, no one can argue with the Mori Art Museum’s sensational venue, at the top of a 54-storey skyscraper in Tokyo’s Roppongi district. 

Expect everything from wacky polka-dot installations (Yayoi Kusama), to retro Sixties paintings and surreal photography.

When you’ve finished admiring the displays, head to the observation deck where you’ll find a 360-degree panorama of the city. Admission is £10.60.  




Photos: Thinkstock; Getty