Paris boasts a broad assortment of fascinating museums. You can explore some of the most interesting and diverse museums in Europe.
Looking for national history? Take a trip to The Paris Story for an interactive and unique sightseeing experience. Other historical museums include the Conde Museum, National Museum of the Middle Ages and Museum of French Liberation. On this page we list the main museums and art galleries that visitors go to see in Paris together with links to their official web site where you can check latest prices, opening hours and any special exhibitions or closures applying to your dates.
One of the world's largest museums, home of the Mona Lisa and also the most visited art museum in the world, an historic monument in itself. No wonder this is the most popular museum attraction in Paris and the queues to get in are infamous.
To learn the Louvre in and out, you might need a lifetime. Still, one has to start somewhere. The site of the world's largest and most diverse collection of pre-20th century painting, sculpture, and decorative objects, The Louvre is generally considered Paris' most important museum. Not forgetting the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, bask in the works of Vermeer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and countless others. The palace itself is testament to a rich history spanning from the medieval period to the present. The adjacent Tuileries gardens are perfect for a stroll pre-or post-visit.
The Orsay Museum is now one of the most popular museums in Paris, situated within easy walking distance of The Louvre on the other side of the river. Housed in the train station building, constructed by Victor Laloux for the 1900 World Fair, the Orsay is a national museum devoted to all the arts between 1848-1914. The Dada and Surrealism movements are well represented at the Pompidou. Warhol, Jackson Pollack, Rothko, Kandinsky, Miro and Picasso are all featured prominently here, along with Marcel Duchamps and his 'ready-made' works of art.
Centre Pompidou - National Museum of Modern Art
The Pompidou Centre is clearly a home for modern art, it's hard to miss the brightly coloured tubes and pipes making up the exterior architecture. The Dada and Surrealism movements are well represented at the Pompidou. Warhol, Jackson Pollack, Rothko, Kandinsky, Miro and Picasso are all featured prominently here, along with Marcel Duchamps and his 'ready-made' works of art.
Inaugurated in 1977 as part of the the bold postmodern venture that marked the opening of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the National Museum of Modern Art (MNAM) houses one of the world's most prestigious collections of 20th-century art. Hosting nearly 50,000 works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other media, the permanent collection at the National Museum of Modern Art is freshly curated every year to reflect new acquisitions. Two floors cover major 20th-century movements, from Cubism to Surrealism and Pop Art.
Musée Carnavalet - Museum of Paris History
Anyone wishing to understand Paris' multi-tiered, complex history would do well to pay a visit to the Carnavalet Museum. Housed within the walls of two Renaissance-era mansions, the Hotel de Carnavalet and the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau (built in the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively), the Carnavalet Museum's permanent collection traces the history of Paris across over 100 rooms. This exhibit is free of charge to all visitors, and arguably tops the list of Paris' free museums. The museum also hosts a series of temporary exhibits highlighting various periods or aspects of the Parisian heritage.
This museum consecrated to French sculptor Auguste Rodin is one of Paris' finest, and offers a multifaceted look at Rodin's complex body of work, in addition to works from his brilliant student Camille Claudel, among others. In addition to iconic works such "The Thinker", the museum hosts an extensive sculpture garden that's a true pleasure to stoll, or think (as it were) in.
Atelier de le Corbusier
Le Corbusier’s architectural work covers four continents and eleven countries. It is the Foundation’s duty to ensure respect for moral rights over the work; it must contribute to its preservation. This obligation involves experts being sent regularly to advise owners, allocatees or occupants of buildings executed by Le Corbusier. The Foundation ensures the conservation of buildings bequeathed to it; it carries out rehabilitation work indispensable to conservation and respect for the buildings’ authenticity. Every year the Foundation organizes “Rencontres”, open to all those interested in developing their knowledge of Le Corbusier’s work.
Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Contemporary art buffs are behooved to pay a visit to the city of Paris' museum of modern art, created in 1961 and housed in the distinctive Palais de Tokyo, itself opened during the 1937 Universal Exposition. Featuring over 8,000 works spanning all major trends in 20th and 21st century arts, the Museum of Modern Art of Paris hosts a constant stream of exciting temporary exhibits, more recently exploring the works of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and American artist Elaine Sturtevant. The terrace outside the palace affords a striking and head-on view of the Eiffel Tower.
Arc De Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoleon to commemorate his military victories and honour the soldiers who fell during his campaigns. Its positioned on the famous Champs Elysees. The museum covers French history and architecture of the monument, but for most visitors the highlight are the superb views from rooftop terrace of the monument.
Crypte Archéologique du Parvis de Notre-Dame
The archaeological crypt under Notre-Dame Cathedral Square has been converted into a shelter for relics found in the course of 1965 and later excavations run by the city’s archaeological and architectural history office. These rooms are opened in 1980 to show the remainders of the buildings that had stood on that spot from ancient times to the 19th century.
Quarrymen first dug these tunnels in ancient times (that was where they extracted the plaster used to build the original Paris). They were later used to warehouse the remains of six or seven million Parisians, when authorities decided to shut down this city’s cemeteries in the 19th century.
The completely-renovated Petit Palais, situated near the prestigious Champs-Elysées, houses 1300 works from the antiquity through the early 20th century, featuring masterpieces by Courbet, Cezanne, Monet, and Delacroix. Admission to the permanent collection is free for all, while temporary collections are free for visitors under the age of 13.
Cluny Museum - National Medieval Museum
This museum dedicated to the medeival period-- exploring both art and daily life in the "Moyen Age"-- is one of the city's best, but is often overlooked. Housed in the striking Hotel de Cluny, a late 15th century Abbey, the museum is built above Gallo-Roman thermal baths built between the 1st and 3rd centuries-- parts of which can be visited. The permanent collection's "crown jewel" is a 15th century tapestry, The Lady and the Unicorn, much revered for its sumptuous colors and enigmatic allegorical symbolism. The grounds also include a garden meant to mimic medieval aromatic and medicinal gardens, providing a pleasant place to read or slowly stroll.
This is another lesser-known gem in the Paris arts scene that focuses on masterpieces in 18th century painting. Housed in a 19th century private mansion, the Jacquemart-Andre museum was founded by art collector Edouard André and focuses on works from French painters including Jean Marc Nattier, Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Fragonard or Jacques-Louis David.
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