Paris is a city that beckons to art enthusiasts from all corners of the globe, and for good reason. With over 150 museums to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which galleries to add to your cultural itinerary. Art enthusiasts will never run out of things to do in Paris!
While the Louvre is a must-see, there are plenty of other art galleries, museums, and cultural institutions that shouldn’t be missed. From contemporary art to fashion, sculpture to photography, Paris has it all.
As a city with a rich history of attracting the world’s greatest artists, it’s no surprise that the museums in Paris showcase centuries of artistic masterpieces.
In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the best museums in Paris that you simply can’t miss. Read on to discover the top museums and galleries in the City of Lights.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Free Museums in Paris
Whether you’re a budget traveler or simply looking to explore the city’s cultural offerings, there are plenty of free museums in Paris waiting to be discovered.
Are there any free museums in Paris?
There are a number of museums in Paris that offer free entry, making it possible to soak up the city’s rich culture without breaking the bank. So keep this in mind when planning your trip to Paris.
What days are Paris museums free?
If you happen to be in Paris on the first Sunday of the month, you’re in luck. Many museums, such as the Musée Rodin, Musée d’Art Moderne, the Pompidou Centre, and the Musée d’Orsay, offer free admission on this day.
Additionally, national museums like the Louvre, are free all year round for residents of European Economic Area countries under the age of 26. You’ll just need to show proof of identity, such as a passport or EU identity card.
Paris Museum Pass
If you’re planning a trip to Paris and want to make the most of your museum visits, the Paris Museum Pass is a great option to consider. This pass gives you access to over 50 museums and monuments in Paris and the surrounding region, so you can explore to your heart’s content.
With a choice of 2, 4, or 6-day passes, you’ll have plenty of time to visit all of the sites on your list. Plus, the more you visit, the more you save! The pass provides free admission to the permanent collections of the museums and monuments, and you’ll get to enter each site once.
So, if you’re looking for a convenient and cost-effective way to see the best that Paris has to offer, the Paris Museum Pass is definitely worth considering. Start exploring the city’s fabulous cultural heritage today!
Best Museums in Paris
For art and culture lovers, Paris is a treasure trove of museums, galleries, and cultural institutions that are definitely worth visiting. If you’re planning a trip to this magnificent city and want to explore its artistic heritage, you’re in the right place.
In this travel post, I’ve put together a list of the best museums in Paris that you simply can’t afford to miss. From the world-renowned Louvre to lesser-known galleries, let’s delve into the top museums that the City of Lights has to offer.
Musée du Louvre
The Louvre Museum, with its iconic glass pyramid entrance, is not only one of the largest and most diverse museums in the world, but it is also one of Paris’ most iconic historical monuments.
The Louvre Museum, a treasure trove of art and artifacts from around the world, is a must-see destination for art lovers. With a collection that ranges from ancient civilizations to the 19th century, the museum offers a wide variety of treasures to discover.
As the most-visited museum in the world, with over 10 million visitors in 2018, the museum’s collection is incredibly vast and diverse. Showcasing the very fabric of Western civilization, it is best appreciated with a guided tour led by experts in art and history.
The Louvre’s collection is home to some of the world’s most celebrated artworks and is a cultural and artistic mammoth that is bound to leave a lasting impression on visitors.
History of the Louvre
The Louvre Museum, also known as the Musée du Louvre, is located in the former royal Palace of the same name. This historic palace, once home to the monarchs of France, now serves as a showcase for some of the world’s most renowned works of art, which can be viewed beneath the striking glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei in 1983.
The Louvre Palace is a historic building that has undergone various transformations throughout the centuries. Initially built as a medieval fortress, it later served as a place for artists to study antiquities and the works of Old Masters in the 1700s.
With the French Revolution, the palace was seized by the state and converted into one of the first public museums in the country.
The museum’s vast collection occupies multiple floors and more than 60,000 square meters of display space, making it one of the largest art museums globally.
As an iconic institution in Paris, the Louvre offers visitors a glimpse into the palace’s rich history, as well as showcasing some of the most renowned masterpieces from around the world.
What are the collections in the Louvre?
The Louvre Museum boasts an extensive array of artworks, artifacts, and historical treasures, spanning from the earliest civilizations to contemporary times.
Many dating from 5,000 B.C. to the 19th century, the collection is divided into eight departments, including:
Greek, Etruscan and Roman
Sculptures of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Modern Times
Objects of art
The Louvre is known for housing some of the world’s most iconic works of art, such as the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, The Wedding at Cana, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Portrait of Louis XIV By Hyacinthe Rigaud, and the Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix.
With 38,000 objects and oeuvres on display, the Louvre is the world’s largest collection of art and is definitely worth a visit.
How long does it take to visit the Louvre?
The Louvre offers a one-of-a-kind experience, and while it may not be possible to see everything in one visit, it is worth the effort to take in as much as possible.
Instead of attempting to see everything in one go, it is recommended to focus on specific galleries and collections that spark your interest.
When visiting the Louvre Museum, it is essential to have a plan in place to fully appreciate the vast collection on display.
Additionally, it is wise to keep in mind that the museum can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season, so purchasing tickets in advance is recommended to avoid long wait times.
Where is the Musée du Louvre located?
The Louvre Museum, also known as the Musée du Louvre, is located at the address of Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris. The closest metro stations to the museum are Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre or Pyramides.
ADDRESS: 75001 Paris, France
Musée De L’Orangerie
The Musée de l’Orangerie is a hidden gem among museums in Paris, offering a sensational collection of Impressionist and modern art.
The Musée de l’Orangerie is a must-see destination for art lovers, particularly those interested in Impressionist and modern art.
The building is renowned for its striking Greek columns, providing a picturesque backdrop for the museum’s collection.
Despite not receiving as much attention as the Louvre or d’Orsay, the museum is particularly renowned for being the home of Claude Monet’s famous ‘Water Lilies’ paintings.
The collection can be experienced in just 1-2 hours, making it an easy and enjoyable addition to any art lover’s itinerary.
What is the history of Musée de l’Orangerie?
The Musée de l’Orangerie was built by Napoleon III and had been used for various purposes before Claude Monet donated his Nymphéas (Water Lilies) panels to the French government as a monument to the end of the First World War.
The building’s famous oval rooms now house these panels, which are considered one of the highlights of the museum’s collection.
Where can I see Monet water lilies?
The museum is best known for hosting eight “Water Lilies” murals by Claude Monet, which were donated by the artist himself at the end of World War I to the French State as a celebration of the Allied victory.
Visitors can marvel at the impressive tapestry-sized ‘Nymphéas’ (water lily) paintings in the two plain oval rooms of the museum, which provide a simple yet effective backdrop for the ethereal beauty of the works.
Despite the crowds, expect to feel a sense of tranquility and peacefulness.
What is the Musée de l Orangerie famous for?
The Musée de l’Orangerie is a treasure trove of Impressionist and modern art, boasting an impressive collection that has stood the test of time. The centerpiece of the museum, Monet’s cycle of eight “Water Lilies” paintings, that continue to captivate visitors with their subtle yet powerful beauty.
The basement of the museum offers a further feast for the eyes, with works by some of the most celebrated artists in history, such as Cézanne, Matisse, Renoir, and Picasso, on display in specially designed oval-shaped rooms.
The rest of the collection is also not to be missed, featuring a plethora of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by the likes of Rousseau, Derain, Soutine, and Sisley. A visit to the Musée de l’Orangerie is truly an immersion in the art of the masters.
Which arrondissement is Musée De L’Orangerie?
The Musée De L’Orangerie is located in a beautiful building on the banks of the Seine in the west corner of the Tuileries Garden, in the 1er arrondissement of Paris.
The museum is found within the Tuileries Gardens and it’s a must-see destination for art lovers, history buffs, and anyone interested in exploring the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries.
ADDRESS: Jardin des Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France
The Musée Picasso is a must for art lovers, particularly those interested in the works of Pablo Picasso. The museum is housed in the beautiful 17th-century Hôtel Salé, making it a unique and visually stunning setting to view over 5,000 works by the famous artist.
The museum’s collection includes a variety of mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, and engraving, making it the only place in the world where one can see such a comprehensive collection of Picasso’s work as well as that of his close artist friends.
After a five-year renovation, the reopening of the museum in 2014 has sparked renewed interest in Picasso’s art and its influence on the cultural landscape, making it a must-see for anyone interested in the development of modern art.
The Musée Picasso is a state-owned museum located in the elegant Hotel Salé, a 17th-century Baroque townhouse. The museum’s setting in the Hotel Salé adds to the elegance and refinement of the overall experience.
The museum’s collection was largely acquired through a unique agreement in which Picasso’s descendants were able to pay their inheritance taxes in the form of artworks.
What is the collection at Picasso Museum?
The Musée Picasso is an unparalleled destination for art lovers, offering a comprehensive look at the life and work of one of the most renowned artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso.
The museum’s collection includes over 5,000 works that span the entirety of Picasso’s career, including paintings, sketches, drawings, illustrations, photographs, and even filmed footage.
The museum also holds close to 200,000 archival items, such as drawings, photos, and notes, providing visitors with an intimate look at the man behind the paintbrush.
What district is the Picasso Museum in Paris?
The Musée Picasso is located in the heart of the Le Marais district, a bustling and trendy area known for its charming boutiques, quaint narrow streets, and diverse dining and entertainment options.
The central location of the museum makes it easy to incorporate a visit into a day out exploring the neighborhood. After admiring the museum’s collection, be sure to take the time to wander the streets of the Marais and discover why it’s one of Paris’ most popular neighborhoods.
ADDRESS: 5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris, France
The Musée Rodin is dedicated to renowned French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Offering an unparalleled and serene atmosphere, making it a unique destination in Paris for art enthusiasts and culture seekers.
The museum’s collection includes over 6,000 pieces, including sculptures, drawings, and photographs, as well as Rodin’s personal collection of art and decorative objects.
The museum’s seven-acre Sculpture Garden that is in bloom throughout the year, features many of Rodin’s most famous sculptures.
With its impressive collection and idyllic location, the Musée Rodin is truly an underrated yet spectacular destination for art enthusiasts visiting Paris.
What is the history of Musée Rodin Paris?
The Musée Rodin, was established in 1919, following the donation of Auguste Rodin’s artworks and collection of antiquities to the French state. The mansion dates back to the 1700s and provides an exquisite backdrop for some of the world’s most celebrated sculptures.
The museum features high ceilings, allowing visitors to see Rodin’s sculptures and drawings up close in an intimate setting.
The Hôtel Biron served as Rodin’s residence and atelier, and also served as a residence for other artists like Jean Cocteau, Henri Matisse, and Isadora Duncan.
Where is the largest collection of Rodin sculptures?
The Musée Rodin boasts an impressive collection of Auguste Rodin’s sculptures, including some of his most famous works but also that of his muse, Camille Claudel, as well as thousands of sketches and photographs, many of which were owned by Rodin himself.
Visitors can admire some of Rodin’s most iconic works, including “The Thinker” on a pedestal overlooking the garden, “The Kiss” one of Rodin’s most sensual works, The Cathedral, a stone sculpture of two intertwined hands, and “The Gates of Hell.”
Additionally, the museum displays Rodin’s collection of ancient antiquities from Egypt, to Rome, as well as paintings by contemporary artists like Renoir and van Gogh.
The Sculpture Garden
The Musée Rodin’s gardens offer a tranquil oasis for visitors to meander and take in the beauty of both the sculptures and landscaping. The well-manicured gardens provide ample opportunities for photographs, including the iconic sculpture of The Thinker.
Adding to the idyllic atmosphere are the strategically placed park benches, inviting visitors to pause and reflect on the artwork.
The café-restaurant, L’Augustine, serves as the perfect spot to relax and savor classic French cuisine and Parisian gastronomy, including delectable desserts and artisanal pastries sourced from the esteemed Maison Lenôtre.
Where did Rodin live in Paris?
It’s worth noting that for those who want to gain a deeper understanding of the sculptor and see more of his incredible creations, there is a second location to visit just outside of Paris.
The Villa des Brillants at Meudon in the Hauts-de-Seine region not only serves as an impressive museum, but also as Rodin’s former residence.
Where are Rodin sculptures located?
The Musée Rodin, located in the elite 7th arrondissement of Paris and situated near Les Invalides.
Located in the tranquil 18th-century Hôtel Biron, this museum is a top destination for art enthusiasts.
ADDRESS: 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France
Dali Paris Museum
The Dali Paris Museum, located in the charming neighborhood of Montmartre, offers visitors a chance to explore the unique imagination and talent of Salvador Dali through a collection of 300 original paintings, sculptures, furniture pieces, and illustrated books.
This museum showcases some of Dali’s most famous Surrealist art, providing an in-depth look into the artist’s complex life and interests, including atomic science, religion, and antiquity. It is a must-see for those seeking a unique cultural experience in Paris.
Centre Pompidou is the largest museum of modern art in Europe and one of the 10 most visited art museums in the world. It is an artistic haven, housing a vast collection of over 100,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art, dating back to 1905.
Visitors can explore masterpieces from every notable movement in modern art, and take in a truly eye-popping view from the top floor.
The Centre Pompidou not only showcases a vast collection of modern and contemporary art, but also houses a library and music center, making it a destination for all things related to 20th and 21st century art.
A visit to the Pompidou Center is a must for any art lover and is considered essential to any trip to Paris, as no visit to the city is complete without a spin around Beaubourg.
Which architect designed the Pompidou Center in Paris?
The Centre Pompidou, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in 1977, is a top destination for art and architecture enthusiasts visiting Paris.
The museum’s unique, postmodern design, featuring exposed industrial pipes and open glass views of the city, was considered radical and controversial when it first opened.
But behind its striking exterior lies one of the richest collections of modern art in the world. The Pompidou Centre stands out in an otherwise very historical city, making it an architectural landmark.
A visit to the Pompidou Centre is not only an opportunity to see some of the finest modern art, but also to experience one of the most innovative and distinct architectural designs in the world.
Is the Pompidou Centre worth visiting?
The Centre Pompidou offers a unique and unparalleled artistic experience. Step inside to discover an impressive collection of modern art, featuring works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Duchamp, Pollock, and Warhol.
Alongside the art, visitors can explore the enormous library and the avant-garde music institute, IRCAM. The main attraction, however, is the Musée National d’Art Moderne, which houses a diverse collection of art from the last 60 years, including works by Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, Yves Klein, Warhol, and Lichtenstein.
The museum also regularly features temporary exhibitions on the panoramic top floor, showcasing the works of artists such as Jeff Koons, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Salvador Dali.
With a diverse collection that spans from world-famous names to lesser-known contemporary artists, the Pompidou is a veritable who’s-who of all things modern art and it’s a must-see for art lovers visiting Paris.
Where is Centre Pompidou situated?
The Centre Pompidou, located in the 4th arrondissement’s Beaubourg neighborhood, is a cultural center known for its modern art exhibitions and architecture.
ADDRESS: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
Fondation Louis Vuitton
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a contemporary art museum in Paris that opened to the public in October 2014 after nearly a decade of planning.
It features exhibitions of renowned artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat. The museum is also known for its distinctive building, which is a popular spot for visitors to explore. Even if you’re not interested in art, the building itself is worth visiting.
Who created the Fondation Louis Vuitton?
The museum was founded by LVMH, a luxury goods conglomerate, and its chairman, Bernard Arnault. The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a contemporary art museum displaying the art collection of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is currently a private museum but will eventually become the property of the French state.
Who designed the Fondation Louis Vuitton?
The museum is known for its impressive architecture and high-profile exhibitions, making it a popular destination for art enthusiasts.
Designed by renowned American architect Frank Gehry, the building features abstract lines and comprises 12 “sails” that resemble a ship afloat on a man-made lake.
The structure stands out in a city known for its Gothic and Renaissance architecture and is considered one of Paris’ most modern buildings. The sleek exterior, made of 3,600 glass panels, creates a striking effect that resembles an iceberg or an enormous ship with flowing sails.
The building also incorporates a large amount of steel, more than that in the Eiffel Tower. The revolutionary design makes the Fondation Louis Vuitton a striking piece of art, both inside and out.
The Collection of the Fondation
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a contemporary art museum that features rotating exhibitions and a permanent collection of works by some of the world’s most renowned artists, including Warhol, Hockney, and Picasso.
The museum has 3,500 square meters of exhibition space with 11 different galleries, all illuminated by natural light, creating an ideal setting for displaying contemporary art collections.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton also offers a year-round calendar of events and temporary exhibits, including cultural events and music performances presented in a 1,000-seat auditorium.
Visitors may also enjoy a snack or meal at the museum’s restaurant, Le Frank, which serves a menu created by a Michelin-starred chef.
Not to be missed are the three outdoor terraces on the roof that offer sweeping views of the Bois de Boulogne, La Défense district and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
What else is there to do near Fondation Louis Vuitton?
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is located in a prime spot next to the Bois de Boulogne, making it an ideal destination for those who want to explore the forest after visiting the museum.
The Bois de Boulogne is an 850-hectare park that offers a variety of activities such as walking paths, cycling and horseback riding trails, picnic areas, a lake for boating, racecourses, restaurants, and an outdoor theater.
The park also features the Parc de Bagatelle, a verdant haven that offers a wealth of natural beauty and cultural delights. Visitors will be enchanted by the luxuriant rose garden, where thousands of rose bushes are in full bloom, and the 19th-century Orangery, which serves as the annual host for the Chopin Festival in June.
The park’s bucolic grounds are landscaped in a romantic English style and offer a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Visitors to the Fondation Louis Vuitton can enjoy the best of both worlds, by admiring contemporary art inside and nature and history outside.
Where is the Foundation Louis Vuitton?
Fondation Louis Vuitton is located on the southern edge of the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, the 16th Arrondissement. Reachable by Métro Pont de Neuilly or Avenue Foch.
The Musée d’Orsay is a must-visit destination for art lovers, offering a vast collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces. The museum is a mecca of 19th-century art, featuring works by renowned artists such as Monet, Degas, and Renoir.
It’s also a great alternative to the overwhelming Louvre, and can be a perfect option for those with limited time. The museum’s collections include paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography, and furniture, and the building itself is a work of art.
What is the architectural style of Musee d’Orsay?
The Orsay Museum opened in December 1986. The former Gare d’Orsay railway station, now a breathtaking art museum, features an ornate antique clock on the north wall, providing views of the Seine river through its glass and metal-paned walls.
This Beaux-Arts building, which had become obsolete for modern rail travel, was transformed into one of the world’s largest art museums, bridging the gap between the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre’s National Museum of Modern Art.
Visitors can admire the stunning architecture and open spaces, complete with cafes and natural light, while appreciating the unique history of the building’s transformation from a functional railway station to a cultural landmark.
What are the collections of the Musee d’Orsay?
The Orsay gallery boasts an unparalleled collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces, featuring the works of renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Pissaro, Cezanne, and many more.
With over 3,000 paintings on display across three floors, visitors can admire iconic works like “Starry Night” by Van Gogh, “Card Players” by Cezanne, “Bal Moulin Galette” by Renoir, and “Luncheon on the Grass” by Manet.
The gallery’s permanent collection spans the period from 1848 to 1914 and also includes sculptures by Rodin and Claudel, as well as decorative art and photography. Rotating temporary exhibits provide a new experience with each visit.
The Starry Night is the gallery’s highlight, which was painted by Van Gogh while he was in an asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, and now it’s one of the most iconic paintings in the world.
Where is the Musée d’Orsay?
This stunning museum can be found on the banks of the Seine, nestled in the historic Gare d’Orsay. Located in the 7th arrondissement, the Musée d’Orsay is easily accessible via the metro stop Assemblée Nationale or RER Musée d’Orsay.
ADDRESS: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
Visit Musée d’Orsay
If you want to make the most of your visit to Musée d’Orsay gallery, it is recommended that you book a skip-the-line ticket and plan to spend at least two to three hours (or even more if you plan to have lunch) at the gallery.
This will give you ample time to take in the works at your own pace, lingering over the pieces that particularly capture your interest and sparking your curiosity.
For a Parisian experience that encapsulates the city’s essence, look no further than the Palais-Royal complex. This stunning location offers a diverse array of activities to suit any traveler’s tastes.
To begin your tour, take a relaxed walk through the pristine gardens, a popular destination for residents to unwind and people watch. The covered walkway and enclosed galleries provide a mix of modern and classical elements, showcasing exclusive boutiques and sophisticated cafes with delightful outdoor patios.
As you explore the Domaine National du Palais-Royal, you’ll discover a rich history that is open to the public free of charge every day. If you’re interested in a guided tour, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux is available to assist you.
If you’re in search of a lavish culinary experience, make your way to either the Palais Royal Restaurant, which boasts a prestigious Michelin star, or the opulent dining hall at Le Grand Véfour, a restaurant with a history dating back to 1784.
For those who love theater, the Palais-Royal vicinity is a paradise with two distinguished venues. The Théâtre du Palais-Royal, which dates back to 1783, continues to showcase performances in French. Meanwhile, La Comédie-Française, also known as “La Maison de Molière,” has a lengthy history of presenting the celebrated playwright’s works.
Whether you’re a culture lover or just looking to enjoy the Parisian lifestyle, the Palais-Royal complex has something for everyone.
What is the history of the Palais Royale?
The palace was constructed in 1633 as a residence for the influential Cardinal Richelieu. However, it was later handed down to the royal family and functioned as the home of the Sun King, Louis XIV.
At present, the palace serves as the distinguished abode of the Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Culture, an affirmation of its lasting importance in French history.
What is the place in Paris with black and white pillars?
Witness the splendor of art and architecture at the Palais-Royal and encounter the famous Colonnes de Buren, a picturesque display created by artist Daniel Buren that is sure to make your Instagram feed stand out.
Inside the central courtyard (Cour d’Honneur), you’ll come across Les Deux Plateaux, 260 columns with alternating black and white stripes.
Walk among the columns and appreciate Buren’s ingenious manipulation of space and design, a one-of-a-kind and aesthetically remarkable attraction that you can enter for free.
Jardin du Palais Royal
The Domaine National du Palais-Royal is a magnificent and storied gem, a genuine representation of timeless French architecture, comprising of 60 grand pavilions arranged around a charming courtyard and the captivating Jardin du Palais-Royal.
This landmark affords guests a peek into the grace and sophistication of 18th century France.
The gardens, designed with great finesse by Victor Louis, display immaculate symmetry through meticulously maintained rows of trees and a tranquil central basin.
While wandering through the arcaded walls of the palace, you will be pleasantly surprised by the contemporary sculptures that adorn the area and enchanted by the tree-lined paths.
The Palais-Royal serves as a serene refuge, a peaceful village nestled within the vibrant city.
Where in Paris is the Palais Royal?
Experience a moment of tranquility in the heart of Paris by venturing to the Palais-Royal, a former royal palace conveniently located just a short distance from the world-famous Louvre Museum.
This exquisite property, with its main entrance facing the Louvre, is within the bustling 1st arrondissement of the city. It’s as though you have discovered a well-kept secret, a peaceful retreat waiting to be explored.
ADDRESS: Domaine National du Palais-Royal, 8 Rue Montpensier, 75001 Paris
Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre or Pyramides station
The Petit Palais is often overshadowed by its larger neighbor, the Grand Palais. However, the Petit Palais houses the City of Paris Art Museum, which boasts a collection of 1,300 pieces that covers the entire history of art, from ancient times to the 21st century.
Despite being in the shadow of the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais museum holds its own and is considered one of the most underrated museums in Paris.
Petit Palais Architecture Style
The Petit Palais is another Beaux-Arts monument that was built for the Exposition Universelle in 1900. The museum was designed to showcase fine art such as paintings and sculptures, and its collection has grown over the years.
The building has a trapezoidal shape and is adorned with grand staircases, airy atriums, and a light-exposing glass roof, making it as captivating as the exhibitions it houses.
The Beaux-Arts style facade of the building is particularly noteworthy, with its ostentatious decoration on its facade and central courtyard, blending classical and contemporary elements seamlessly.
What is inside Petit Palais?
If you are interested in the works of renowned painters such as Rembrandt, Monet, and other Old Masters like Poussin, Rubens, this museum is the place to visit.
The museum’s collection spans across different periods in art history, ranging from ancient and medieval art to Renaissance paintings, 19th-century sculpture, and even some modern art.
The museum has a timeline of 19th-century French painting, from Ingres to Cézanne and features works from Delacroix, Monet, Courbet, Sisley and Pissarro.
The focus of the museum is still on the arts, but it has expanded to include a variety of artifacts from different periods in history.
Is Petit Palais free entry?
The Petit Palais museum of fine arts offers free entry for all permanent exhibitions, making it a great option for those looking for an affordable cultural experience without any admission fee. However, fees do apply for temporary exhibitions.
Which arrondissement is Petit Palais?
The Petit Palais is a small palace located in 8th arrondissement, opposite the Grand Palais and situated between the Pont Alexandre III and the Champs-Élysées, at the lower end of the Champs-Élysées.
ADDRESS: Av. Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, France
Palais de Tokyo
The Palais de Tokyo is a building dedicated to showcasing contemporary art and is the largest center for contemporary art in Europe.
The Palais de Tokyo is another monumental project built for the World Fair in 1937. It features exhibitions, screenings, and performances and provides a space for living artists across multiple disciplines to showcase their work.
It is not just a museum, but also an experimental and innovative space that regularly hosts talks, fashion shows, concerts, movie screenings, and performance art.
In addition, the Palais de Tokyo has a bookshop, two gardens, two restaurants and offers many activities and workshops for kids.
What style of architecture is the Palais de Tokyo?
The design of the Palais de Tokyo is characterized by its stark, neutral style, which serves as a blank canvas for contemporary artists to showcase their work.
The renovation of the building involved removing any added elements, revealing the original concrete structure that gives the space a raw and unfinished appearance, which is distinct from the typical white-walled museum design.
This unique aesthetic adds to the experimental and innovative nature of the space, providing a fitting backdrop for contemporary art exhibitions.
Is there a permanent collection in the Palais de Tokyo?
If you are visiting the Palais de Tokyo, it is recommended to start your tour in the lower levels of the building. The museum has added permanent art installations by a variety of artists, such as Laurent Derobert, Emmanuelle Lainé and Jean-Michel Alberola since 2012.
These underground galleries feature large-scale graffiti artworks and other pieces that are a must-see.
The Palais de Tokyo is located upstream from the Palais de Chaillot and just a short distance away from the Eiffel Tower and near the Musée d’Art Moderne.
ADDRESS: 13 Av. du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France
Musée d’Art Moderne
The Musée D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is a must for art enthusiasts, showcasing a collection of modern and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries.
The museum features breathtaking pieces and the building itself is a work of art. The museum boasts an extensive collection of modern and contemporary paintings, sketches, sculptures, and other works of art, with pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries’ major artists and artistic movements.
It’s only second in size to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, making it a must-see for modern art fans.
The museum is housed in the stunning Palais de Tokyo and is spread across two floors, with a cafeteria on the top floor offering stunning views of the Eiffel Tower, make sure to grab a seat by the window.
Where is the Musée d’Art Moderne?
Conveniently located near the Iéna and Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau metro stops.
ADDRESS: 11 Av. du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France
Yves Saint Laurent Museum
Explore the mind of a fashion icon at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris. Discover the legacy of one of the most influential designers of the 20th century as you immerse yourself in the exhibitions showcasing a vast collection of garments, accessories, and a plethora of sketches from the designer’s iconic career.
Located in the designer’s former atelier on Avenue Marceau, this first-ever permanent museum dedicated to a living designer is a must-visit for fashion enthusiasts.
Explore the personal and professional life of one of the world’s most renowned fashion designers at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. See how he pushed the boundaries of fashion, and played a key role in shaping the modern woman’s wardrobe.
Watch a short film, peruse old photographs, and discover the man behind the clothing. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind chance to explore the world of Yves Saint Laurent!
Musée Marmottan Monet
The Musée Marmottan Monet, located on the eastern edge of the Bois de Boulogne, originally served as a collection of art from the First Empire.
However, in the mid-20th century, the museum received multiple large donations of Impressionist art, including a significant collection from Michel Monet, the second son of Claude Monet.
As a result, the Marmottan now boasts the largest collection of Monet’s paintings in the world, including the famous piece “Impression, Sunrise,” which gave the Impressionist movement its name.
In addition to Monet’s work, the museum also features art from other prominent Impressionist artists such as Renoir, Degas, Gauguin, Morisot, and Sisley.
The Musée Jacquemart-André offers a glimpse into the lives of one of 19th century Paris’ affluent couples, showcasing the private and impressive art collection of Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart.
André, the heir to a banking fortune, invested his wealth in building this expansive art collection and would travel to Italy every year to buy the works that grace the mansion.
The museum is located in a beautiful Belle Epoque mansion in the 8th arrondissement of Paris and features an eclectic range of Italian Renaissance paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, and objets d’art.
The Musée Jacquemart-André offers a tour of the apartments, winter garden, an Italia gallery, showcasing an impressive collection of paintings by Canaletto, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Bellini, van Dyck, as well as sculptures by Donatello and Luca della Robbia.
The ground floor of the museum is dedicated mostly to Flemish and German paintings, while the first floor is entirely devoted to the Italian Renaissance period. The beauty of the building itself is also a highlight, with detailed ceiling fresco painted by Tiepolo.
Among the must-see pieces are the breathtaking and meticulous works like ‘The Supper at Emmaus’ by Rembrandt, ‘Vedute’ by Canaletto, the ‘Flight into Egypt’ by Botticelli, and ‘Ecce Homo’ by Mantegna.
The Café Jacquemart-André
To revitalize and rejuvenate, guests can indulge in a delightful afternoon tea at the Jacquemart-Andre Tea Room, which is considered by many to be the most elegant tea room in all of Paris.
If you’re looking for an arts experience, check out the Hasard Ludique, a former railway station in Saint-Ouen that has been transformed into a multi-disciplinary arts complex.
The venue, which was revitalized by three young Parisians, offers a variety of activities, including a bistro, a 300-capacity concert hall, an outdoor terrace, and a studio space for collaborative art.
The Hasard Ludique is a great spot to spend an evening, particularly if you are looking for an off the beaten path experience. Be sure to check out the 300-square-meter terrace that opens out onto the railway tracks.
Musée du Parfum
Experience the world of perfumery and embark on a fascinating tour at the Fragonard Museum of Perfumery, also known as the Musée du Parfum. This museum, which is free to enter, is a must-see for those with a keen interest in fragrances.
Discover the tools and raw materials used in the art of perfumery, as well as an impressive collection of artifacts related to perfume-making.
Whether you’re interested in the history of perfumery or the contemporary process of creating scents, the museum offers an immersive and aromatic experience that will satisfy your senses.
Don’t miss the chance to visit this intriguing museum during your Parisian itinerary.
French National Ceramics Museum
Sèvres is renowned for its ceramic art, and the museum boasts an impressive collection of nearly 50,000 pieces, including priceless European porcelain from the 15th to the 19th centuries, Moorish earthenware, ancient Greek ceramics, Chinese porcelain, and terracotta from North America.
The museum is a treasure trove of art and history, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of ceramics.
The French National Ceramics Museum in Sèvres is a must-see destination for art and history enthusiasts. Located in the western suburbs of Paris, the museum is easily accessible via Line 9 of the Métro.
The Fondation Giacometti is a new art space dedicated to showcasing the works of the famous sculptor, Alberto Giacometti.
The 350-square-meter museum features several exhibition areas, including the reconstruction of Giacometti’s original studio, which houses 70 of his works, including one of the “Busts of Lotar,” a terracotta sculpture that has never been on display before.
Other previously unseen artifacts include the studio walls, which were originally located on the Rue Hippolyte-Maindron. The Fondation Giacometti is located in the 14th arrondissement, it’s a must-see destination for art enthusiasts interested in discovering the pioneering sculptures of Alberto Giacometti.
Atelier des Lumières
The Atelier des Lumières is a must-see destination for digital art enthusiasts, located in the heart of the 11th arrondissement. The former iron foundry, which had been empty for nearly 20 years, has been transformed into a 300-square-meter studio space for digital art exhibitions.
Using state-of-the-art equipment, including 140 film projectors with BARCO lasers and 50 high-quality Nexo speakers, the works are projected onto the ten-meter-high walls, giving them the attention they deserve.
Musée Albert Kahn Garden
The Musée Albert Kahn Garden is a must-see destination for those interested in history and nature. At the beginning of the 20th century, the banker Albert Kahn embarked on a mission to document the world through photography and film.
He sent photographers and filmmakers to every corner of the globe for over 22 years, amassing a collection of 72,000 color photographs and 180,000 meters of film, which form the basis of the museum’s exhibits today.
In addition to the exhibits, the museum also features beautiful gardens from around the world that were commissioned by Kahn over a century ago.
The gardens span four hectares and include French and English gardens, a traditional and contemporary Japanese garden, and a “blue forest” where azaleas and rhododendrons bloom in the spring.
Musée des Arts Forains
If you’re a lover of vintage and nostalgia, visit the Musée des Arts Forains in Paris. Housed in an old wine warehouse in the southeast of the city, this museum boasts an impressive collection of vintage fairground rides and automata curated by art and antiques dealer Jean Paul Favand.
With 14 rides, including carousels and merry-go-rounds, 16 game stalls, and many other smaller curiosities like a Hooghuys Organ, all dating from 1850 to 1950. You’ll be amazed at the intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into these pieces.
Visitors can appreciate this up close, but note that outside of the Christmas period, tours must be booked in advance.
Be transformed with experimental art, hip-hop, and dance at the 104 – a former funeral home turned into a dynamic multidisciplinary cultural center.
The 104 (Centquatre) was one of the first venues in the city to revitalize the area and offers a variety of events such as festivals, live dance performances, exhibitions, and artist residencies.
If you’re a culture enthusiast planning a trip to Paris, prepare to be blown away by the incredible museums and galleries the city has to offer. Paris boasts an unrivaled cultural legacy that spans centuries and genres, and its museums are a reflection of this.
To help you plan your itinerary, I’ve curated a list of the best museums in Paris that are sure to inspire and delight. From the iconic Louvre, home to some of the world’s most famous artworks, to hidden gems like the Musée Albert Kahn Garden, there’s something for everyone.
Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of Paris through its art and culture. Follow this guide to explore the top museums and galleries that make Paris the ultimate destination for art lovers.