If you’re an art lover, Paris is the city for you. With world-renowned art museums like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay and smaller galleries tucked away in every corner of the town, there’s no shortage of art to see in Paris. Here are our picks for the top 10 art museums in Paris.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best Art Museums in Paris
- 1. Louvre Museum
- 2. Musée d’Orsay
- 3. Musée Rodin
- 4. The NMMA at the Centre Pompidou
- 5. Musée de l’Orangerie
- 6. Musée National Picasso-Paris
- 7. Petit Palais
- 8. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
- 9. Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
- 10. Musée Marmottan Monet
- Bonus: Top Museums and Art Galleries in Paris
- Grand Palais
- Carnavalet Museum
- Musée de Cluny
- Centre Pompidou
- Musée des Arts Décoratifs
- Musée Du Luxembourg
- Tips for Visiting the Top Art Museums in Paris
- How much does it cost to visit art museums in Paris?
- Do I need to purchase tickets in advance?
- What is the dress code for art museums in Paris?
- Can I take pictures inside art museums in Paris?
- What is the best time to visit art museums in Paris?
10 Best Art Museums in Paris
1. Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is one of the most famous art museums in the world. Located in a former royal palace in Paris, the museum has an extensive collection of art and antiquities from around the globe.
Visitors can see artworks from masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt, Egyptian artifacts, Greek and Roman sculptures, and more. With so much to see, it can be overwhelming for first-time visitors.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit to the Louvre:
- Start with the Mona Lisa. Located in the iconic glass pyramid at the entrance to the museum, the Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world. Even if you’re not an art enthusiast, it’s worth seeing this masterpiece up close…you kinda need to, considering it’s so small.
- Don’t try to see everything at once. The Louvre is huge, and there’s no way to see everything in one visit. Choose a few sections that interest you and take your time exploring them. You can always come back another day to see more.
- Take advantage of resources like audio guides and apps. There’s a lot of information to take in at the Louvre, and it can be helpful to have a guide to help you make sense of it all.
2. Musée d’Orsay
If you’re an art lover, the Musée d’Orsay should definitely be on your list of must-visits. Located in a former railway station, the museum houses an impressive permanent art collection from the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Visitors can see works by Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Renoir, and other French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters. The Musée d’Orsay is also home to a café, restaurant, and bookstore, making it the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon.
Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or simply looking to appreciate some of history’s greatest masterpieces, the Musée d’Orsay is well worth a visit.
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3. Musée Rodin
The Rodin Museum’s holdings are on display at the Hôtel Biron, and a Neoclassically designed mansion is classified as a Historic Monument. A French artist, Auguste Rodin, inspired him to design a formal garden with shady and well-maintained trees.
In 1908 Rodin museum used parts of this home as his studio and began taking it and opened in 1919.
Based on period photos, the museum has recreated Rodin’s art room in its furnished condition as he worked there. A collection of Rodin artwork and personal art collections is on display.
The Musée Rodin is a art museum in Paris. If you’re looking for a place to stay near the museum, check out some of the hotels nearby:
4. The NMMA at the Centre Pompidou
If you’re ever in the area, the National Museum of Modern Art (Musée National d’Art Moderne) at Centre Pompidou is worth visiting. Its permanent collection is regularly updated with carefully curated artwork that will satisfy all expectations.
The collection is often arranged thematically, highlighting specific movements within the artwork.
And once you’re done exploring the museum, you can even take in a panoramic view from atop the roof. Or, if you’re interested in something else, the NMAM also has a collection of prestigious temporary exhibits. So really, there’s something for everyone at the National Museum of Modern Art.
If you’re looking to visit some art museums in Paris, then you’ll want to stay near the Musée National d’Art Moderne. Here are some of the best hotels and rentals near the museum:
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5. Musée de l’Orangerie
The Musée de l’Orangerie is home to Claude Monet’s most famous paintings; the Water Lilies murals. The museum is located in the Tuileries Gardens and also has a collection of artworks by other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists.
The Musée de l’Orangerie is one of Paris’s must-see museums, and if you’re a fan of Monet’s work, it should be at the top of your list. The Water Lilies murals are housed in two oval-shaped rooms lit by natural light from overhead skylights.
The murals are incredibly peaceful and serene, and it’s easy to spend hours just gazing at them.
In addition to the Water Lilies, the Musée de l’Orangerie also has an excellent collection of works by other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, including Paul Cézanne Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Henri Matisse.
If you’re interested in seeing some of the greatest works of French art, then you’ll want to check out the Musée de l’Orangerie.
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6. Musée National Picasso-Paris
The Musée National Picasso-Paris also known as Musée Picasso is one of the most significant Picasso collections globally. Located in the historic Marais district of Paris, the museum is situated in the Hôtel Salé, a beautiful 17th Century aristocratic mansion.
The museum contains 5,000 art pieces, including some of Picasso’s most famous works, such as self-portraits and La Célestine from the blue period. The museum also has a lovely French formal garden, where visitors can relax on park benches.
In addition to its exhibitions, the Musée National Picasso-Paris also offers a variety of educational programs and events, making it a great place to learn about the life and work of one of the most important artists of the 20th Century.
Near Musée Picasso, you’ll find a variety of hotels to choose from. Here are some of our favorites:
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7. Petit Palais
Petit Palais is one of the most popular museums in Paris, and it’s easy to see why. The Petit Palais (or Little Palace) is home to an impressive fine art collection, ranging from ancient antiquities to 18th Century Beauvais tapestries.
But the Petit Palais isn’t just a place to appreciate art – it’s also a stunning building in its own right!
The Petit Palais was built as the venue for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, and it has been a museum since 1908. Its exquisite sculptures and murals provide an ideal backdrop for the Petit Palais’ impressive permanent collection of paintings and drawings.
So whether you’re an art lover or just looking for a beautiful place to spend an afternoon, the Petit Palais is worth visiting.
8. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (or the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris) is one of the top art museums in Paris. The museum is centrally located within the 16th arrondissement, near Trocadéro and the Eiffel Tower, and is known as a modern art museum.
The building was first built in 1961 as part of an effort to attract new residents to the city. It is now part of a larger complex known as the Palais de Tokyo, on its eastern wing.
If you’re interested in seeing some of the best modern art in the world, be sure to add the museum to your list of must-see attractions in Paris!
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9. Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
The Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is a must-see for anyone interested in anthropology and world cultures. The museum has an impressive collection of over 370,000 pieces from all over the world, ranging from Europe to Africa.
The collection contains many paintings and religious and everyday objects like clothing, musical instruments, photographs, and music.
Some of the notable pieces in the museum include tribal masks originating from Papua New Guinea, a decorated ivory salt shaker originating from Nigeria, a wedding dress from Vietnam, Embroidered ceremonial robes from the country of Uzbekistan, an antique kimono from Japan, and much more.
The Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is a unique and eye-opening experience that is not to be missed.
10. Musée Marmottan Monet
The Musée Marmottan Monet is an excellent destination for those who love impressionism. You can find it in a grand former hunting lodge. The museum houses the works of France’s best-known impressionist artist Claude Monet.
More than 300 Monet paintings are devoted to this artistic development, donated by Monet’s only son Michel in 1966. Aside from an impressive amount of work, this collection includes rare works. The collection starts with Monet’s groundbreaking Impression, Soleil Levant (Impression, Sunlight).
If you’re a fan of Claude Monet’s work or want to see an impressive art collection, the Musée Marmottan Monet is worth a visit!
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Bonus: Top Museums and Art Galleries in Paris
The Grand Palais is one of Paris’s most iconic contemporary art museums. Located in the 8th arrondissement, the museum is home to a vast collection of artworks from across the globe. Visitors can explore the museum’s many galleries, which showcase a wide range of art styles, periods, and genres.
The Grand Palais is a must-visit art museum in Paris with something for everyone. The Grand Palais is an iconic Parisian art museum that should not be missed on any trip to the city.
Home to a vast and varied collection of artworks, the Grand Palais offers something for everyone.
The Grand Palais has it all, from ancient Greek sculptures to modern-day masterpieces. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or enjoy admiring beautiful things, a visit to the Grand Palais is a highlight of your time in Paris.
The Carnavalet Museum is one of the art museums in Paris that should not be missed. Located in the historic Marais district, the Carnavalet houses a large collection of art and artifacts that tell the story of the city of Paris.
The museum is spread out over two buildings, the Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau.
Highlights of the collection include paintings, sculptures, furniture, and objets d’art from the 16th to the 19th Centuries. A visit to the Carnavalet is a must for anyone interested in the history and culture of Paris.
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Musée de Cluny
The Musée de Cluny is one of the must-visit art museums in Paris. Located in the historic Latin Quarter, the Musée de Cluny houses a large and important collection of art and artifacts from the Middle Ages.
Some of the collection’s highlights include the Lady with the Unicorn tapestries, a set of six late-15th Century tapestries that are regarded as some of the finest examples of Renaissance tapestry-making.
There is also a set of 12th Century stained glass windows from the Abbey of Saint-Denis, which depict scenes from the life of Christ. I’d also check out the group of Gothic sculptures from the tombs of French kings Louis IX and Philip IV.
In addition to these masterpieces, the Musée de Cluny also has an extensive collection of coins, pottery, weapons, and other objects that provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of medieval Europeans.
Whether you’re a history buff or appreciate beautiful art, a visit to the Musée de Cluny is a highlight of your trip to Paris.
The Centre Pompidou is one of Paris’s most iconic and contemporary art museums, known for its innovative architecture and expansive collection of contemporary creations. The building itself is a work of art, with its exposed steel structure and colorful exterior.
The museum’s collection includes works by some of the most famous names in modern and contemporary art, including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock. With over 100,000 square meters of exhibition space, the Centre Pompidou is one of the largest museums in Europe.
Visitors can explore the museum’s many galleries at their own pace or take part in a guided tour to learn more about the artists and their work. Whether you’re an art lover or simply looking for a unique experience, the Centre Pompidou is sure to impress.
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Musée des Arts Décoratifs
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is one of the must-see museums in Paris.
Housed in a beautiful historic building, the museum boasts an impressive collection of decorative arts from the Medieval period to the modern day.
The museum houses an array of historical artifacts, including ancient altarpieces and wedding chests from the 15th to 18th Centuries. Visitors may examine a variety of items, such as medieval altarpieces and Renaissance wedding boxes.
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs also has a popular restaurant, Loulou, a great spot for lunch or dinner after exploring the museum. If you’re looking for a unique museum experience, check out the Musée des Arts Décoratifs on your next visit to Paris.
Musée Du Luxembourg
Paris is home to some of the world’s most renowned art museums and one of the best Paris museums; you should be on your list of places to visit.
Housed in a beautiful 17th Century palace, the museum boasts an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. Highlights include masterpieces by Renoir, Monet, and Sisley and a selection of works by contemporary artists.
In addition to the permanent collection, the contemporary art museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see. And if you need a break from all the art-viewing, you can always take a stroll through the museum’s lovely garden.
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Tips for Visiting the Top Art Museums in Paris
- Do your research in advance: Paris’s modern art museums can be overwhelming, and you’ll want to make the most of your time. So before you go, spend some time researching which museums you’d like to visit and what kinds of art you’re interested in seeing.
- Make a plan: With so many incredible art museums to choose from, it’s important to plan before going. Decide which museums you want to see and which you can explore if time allows.
- Start with the classics: The Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Centre Pompidou are must-sees for art lovers visiting Paris.
- Purchase tickets ahead of time: If you’re planning on visiting a few contemporary art museums in Paris, it’s worth it to purchase a Museum Pass. This will give you access to over 60 museums and monuments and allows you to skip the line at many of them.
- Dress comfortably: You’ll be doing a lot of walking (and standing) when visiting art museums, so make sure you’re dressed for comfort. Wear comfortable shoes and light layers that you can easily take on and off as needed.
- Pack snacks and water: Museum cafes can be expensive, so it’s good to pack your snacks and water. This will help you save money and stay energized during your art museum adventures. Just be careful where you choose to chow down – some museums and galleries might now allow food!
- Be respectful: When visiting art museums in Paris, it’s important to respect the art and the other visitors. Avoid talking loudly, taking pictures without permission, or touching the art.
- Take your time: With so much to see, it’s easy to try and do too much when visiting modern art in Paris. But resist the urge to power through and take your time to enjoy each piece of art.
- Plan for crowds: Paris is one of the most visited cities on Earth. Its art museums can be crowded, especially during peak tourist season. So be prepared for large crowds and plan accordingly. If possible, visit during the week or early in the morning to avoid the worst of the crowds.
- Use the audio guide: Many museums offer audio guides or mobile apps that can enhance your experience if you aim to explore museums by yourself.
- Take a museum tour: Museum tours are a great way to learn about art and history. Guides can show you around the galleries and point out interesting details that you might miss on your own. They can also provide information about the art and artists featured in each exhibit.
- Buy Souvenirs: Be sure to check out the gift shop for unique souvenirs!
- Pick up a map: Most art museums in Paris have free maps available, so be sure to grab one when you arrive. This will help you navigate the museum and find the art that interests you most.
- Use the restroom before you enter: Again, it’s a lot of walking and standing, so prep that bladder. If you have to go, most museums will have free bathrooms.
- Have fun! Art museums in Paris are a great way to spend a day, and there’s plenty to see and do. So relax, enjoy yourself, and soak up all the art that Paris has to offer.
How much does it cost to visit art museums in Paris?
Museum admission prices vary, but many of the most popular art museums offer discounts with the Paris Museum Pass.
Do I need to purchase tickets in advance?
If you’re planning on visiting multiple art museums in Paris, it’s a good idea to purchase tickets ahead of time.
This will save you time and money, as many museums offer discounts for advance ticket purchases. You can buy tickets online or at the museum itself or purchase online.
What is the dress code for art museums in Paris?
Most art museums in Paris have no strict dress code, but dress respectfully.
Can I take pictures inside art museums in Paris?
It’s generally allowed to take pictures inside art museums in Paris, but make sure to check with each museum in advance. Some museums do not allow photography, and others may have restrictions on where you can take pictures.
What is the best time to visit art museums in Paris?
Visit art museums during the week or early in the morning to avoid the largest crowds.