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The 14 Best Museums In Paris

Published by: Bounce9 December, 2021

Home to some of the most recognizable museums in the world, Paris is a treasure trove of fantastic art, rich culture, and intriguing history all tied up neatly in museums scattered throughout the city; from wax figures to original Monet and Picasso pieces.

Spend a day exploring the thousands of art pieces on display at the Musée du Louvre or immerse yourself in art and history at the Musée d’Orangerie and Musée d’Orsay. View an original Rodin or two while exploring the museums of Paris. Museum hopping has never been more captivating than it is here!

Before starting your exploration of the best museums in the city, find a Paris luggage locker to stow your things. Most of the museums in Paris do not allow large bags inside so dropping your things off before getting to a museum is the smart thing to do.

Musée Carnavalet

Address: 23, Rue de Sévigné, Paris 75003

Meander through this well-appointed museum that has over 3,800 artifacts from around the globe and highlights the history of Paris including the War of Religion and the French Revolution. Learn about the cultural evolution that Paris has undergone through the years and enjoy some fantastic artwork.

The portrait gallery showcases several influential Parisians but the real gems of the museum are the prehistoric and medieval artifacts on display. The museum is housed in the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Sant Fargeau and the Hôtel Carnavalet, two side-by-side mansions that are fabulous in their own right.

The museum opened in 1880 in the Hôtel Carnavalet in the Marais district. As it grew, it became obvious that more space was needed. In 1989, the Hôtel Le Peletier de Sant-Fargeau was acquired and the exhibits spread out through the two mansions.

Musée du Louvre

Address: 99 Rue de Rivoli, Paris 75001

With outstanding pieces in the various collections at the Louvre (including 7,000 paintings alone), you can spend all day exploring and still not see everything. One of the things you absolutely do not want to miss is Leonardo de Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The French crown jewels are also on display and quite a stunning exhibit.

The antique French furniture is very interesting but the Neoclassical 18th century figures really are something you have to see in person. The Louvre is housed in one of the former royal residences of the French kings and the building itself is fascinating.

This is the most visited art museum in the entire world and it can become crowded quickly, so be sure to get your tickets in advance to avoid long wait times. The collections span from ancient times through the mid-19th century.

Musée Rodin

Address: 79 Rue de Varenne, Paris 75007 (close to Bois de Boulogne)

Auguste Rodin used part of the Hôtel Biron as his studio in 1908 and by 1911 he was living and working in the entire mansion. This 18th century mansion is now home to the Musée Rodin where you can view many of Rodin’s drawings and sculptures.

Be sure to visit the sculpture garden at the Rodin Museum filled with full-scale replicas of some of Rodin’s most famous pieces including The Gates of Hell, Eternal Springtime and The Thinker. After exploring the museum, stop by the on-site restaurant, L’Augustine for traditional French dishes made from fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Musée Marmottan Monet

Address: 2 Rue Louis-Boilly, Paris 75002

With the largest collection of original Monet paintings in the entire world, the Musée Marmottan Monet should definitely be on your must-see list when museum-hopping in Paris. There are over 300 different paintings on display that show the progression of his work throughout his career.

The collection of Monet paintings was donated by his son in 1966. Aside from Monet’s work, you can see pieces by other artists including Corot, Gauguin, Morisot, Boudin, Renoir, Sécession, and Pissarro. Be sure to stop by the gift shop for a few great souvenirs and gifts.

Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris

Address: Palais de Tokyo, 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 75016

The museum is housed in an intriguing art nouveau building created in 1937 for an international art and technology exhibition and is now home to the Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris. The museum focuses on 20th and 21st century art with over 13,000 works in the collection.

View works from Chagall Derain, Dufy Matisse, Bonnard Braque, Vuillard, Modigliani, and Picasso. There are also special exhibitions held throughout the year so there is almost always something new happening. The permanent collections are free to view but special exhibits do require a reservation and most have a set fee.

Musée Grévin

Address: 10 Boulevard Montmartre, Paris 75009

One of the most entertaining museums in Paris, the Musée Grévin or Grévin Museum of Wax is a fantastic way to get up-close and personal with celebrities and historical figures. Come face-to-face with Napoleon Bonaparte, Marilyn Monroe, Louis XIV, Penelope Cruz, and Angelina Jolie – well, at least their wax replicas! Bring your camera and snap a few selfies with some of the most life-like wax figures.

Purchase your tickets in advance so you are not waiting in a long line when you arrive. Grab lunch or dinner at the on-site café and then drop by the theater for a beautiful classical music concert. Families will love spending time here, exploring all the nooks and crannies of this museum.

Musée de l'Orangerie

Address: Place de la Concorde, Paris 75001

Established in 1852, the Musée de l’Orangerie is best known for its large collection of Impressionist art, with one of the highlights being a Monet collection of nymphéas or water lilies. These seven paintings are in two elliptic-shaped rooms called the Sistine Chapel of Impressionism.

The marvelous thing about these paintings is that when you look at them from afar, they simply look like outlines and brush strokes, and as you walk closer to the paintings, they take shape and create the illusion of water lilies floating on water.

Petit Palais: Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Versailles

Address: 54 Boulevard de la Reine, Versailles 78000

Versailles itself is a breathtaking work of art and you will be in awe when you visit. The Petit Palais is home to the Musée des Beaux-Arts and the museum opened in 1902. The Petit Palais building was built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition.

There are several European paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, Nicolas Poussin, Eugene Delacroix, and Jacques Louis David. The museum has four wings with a breathtaking courtyard garden in the middle. You can visit Le Jardin du Café, which offers snacks, beverages, and a basic Parisian lunch menu.

Musée d'Orsay

Address: Rue de Lille, Paris 75343

You will not find a more comprehensive collection of 19th and 20th century art ranging from 1848 to 1914 than here at Musée d'Orsay. Browse through works by Impressionist artists including Cédre and Boudin. Check out works by Toulouse Lautrec, Bohemian painter, and compelling pieces from Claude Monet’s Coquelicots.

Located on the left bank of the River Seine, the Musée d’Orsay is a very popular museum housed in a former Beaux-Arts railroad station, the Gare d’Orsay, which was completed in 1900. The collection includes paintings, furniture, drawings, photography, and sculptures.

Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac

Address: 37 Quai Branly, Paris 75007

One of the most eclectic museums in the city, the Musée du Quai Branly has over 370,000 pieces that cover Oceania, Africa, Asia, and North America. View a tribal mask from Papua New Guinea, a carved ivory salt shaker from Nigeria, and a Vietnamese embroidered ceremonial garment and wedding costume.

The collection includes textiles, masks, jewels, photographs, paintings, and sculptures including medieval art. It covers the art history of several regions including the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The museum’s mission is to preserve the artwork while educating the public about the history of each region through art.

Musée des Arts et Métiers

Address: 60 Rue Réaumur, Paris 75003

This museum is actually an academic research center dedicated to modern science. Wander through the Musée des Arts et Métiers and check out over 2,400 technological inventions and art.

One of the best things to see is Foucault’s Pendulum, a metal pendulum that continuously rotates and swings. The museum was founded in 1794 as a way to preserve scientific inventions and instruments. It is really a riveting place to spend a few hours. It is located near the Sebastopol Railway Station.

Hôtel de la Marine

Address: 2 Place de la Concorde, Paris 75008

This historic building is located just to the east of the Rue Royale and was completed in 1774. It was where the furniture, royal jewels, armor, and weapons belonging to Louis XV and those in his household were stored. It has now been converted into a museum filled with unique artifacts.

Take a self-guided audio tour and be transported back in time to learn more about Louis XV and that era. You can visit the internal courtyard from 9:00 a.m. until midnight and the restaurant, gift shop, and bookstore are open when the museum is open. You can take the Metro to the Concorde Station and walk to the Hôtel de la Marine.

Musée des Arts et Métiers

Address: 60 Rue Réaumur, Paris 75003

This museum is actually an academic research center dedicated to modern science. Wander through the Musée des Arts et Métiers and check out over 2,400 technological inventions and art.

One of the best things to see is Foucault’s Pendulum, a metal pendulum that continuously rotates and swings. The museum was founded in 1794 as a way to preserve scientific inventions and instruments. It is really a riveting place to spend a few hours. It is located near the Sebastopol Railway Station.

Hôtel de la Marine

Address: 2 Place de la Concorde, Paris 75008

This historic building is located just to the east of the Rue Royale and was completed in 1774. It was where the furniture, royal jewels, armor, and weapons belonging to Louis XV and those in his household were stored. It has now been converted into a museum filled with unique artifacts.

Take a self-guided audio tour and be transported back in time to learn more about Louis XV and that era. You can visit the internal courtyard from 9:00 a.m. until midnight and the restaurant, gift shop, and bookstore are open when the museum is open. You can take the Metro to the Concorde Station and walk to the Hôtel de la Marine.

Are there any cheap museums in Paris? 

When visiting Paris museums on a budget, you will want to check out several of the museums that offer discounts or special days with free admission. You can easily see many of the museums on a budget by paying attention to their discounts and searching online for special times and days you can visit for less money. And don't miss our guide on free things to do in Paris!

Here are a few museums that offer cheaper days and times for visitors to enjoy:

Musée du Louvre

The Louvre offers free admission for those under 18 years and is discounted if you are between 18 and 25. Visit on a Sunday from October to March to see the permanent collection for free.

Musée d’Orsay

This museum offers free admission for those under 18 years and is discounted if you are between 18 and 25. The first Sunday of each month is free admission and then discounted admission every Thursday evening starting at 6:00 p.m.

Musée Picasso 

You can see Picasso’s artwork every Sunday for free. Students get a discounted admission every other day, except the museum is closed on Mondays.

From impressionist art to art installations to the wax museum

Sure, everyone who comes to Paris wants to see the Eiffel Tower or Jardin des Tuileries. Still, Paris is brimming with museums of every shape and size just waiting to be seen! Whether you are looking to enjoy contemporary art, Asian art, or decorative arts and everything in between there really is something for everyone. Learn about Paris's history and culture as it has evolved by exploring the various museums.

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