Paris is arguably one of the world’s centers for seeing art and culture. I have visited Paris over a dozen times and during each visit, I still find hidden treasures inside the museums throughout the city. The museums range from displays of classic artists and their work, as well as writers, geology, architecture, fashion and much more. Check out a list of some of my favorite museums in Paris.
10. Musee Marmottan Monet
Housed in a former hunting lodge contains the largest collection of Claude Monet’s work in the world. The museum also includes works by other famous impressionists of the time Degas, Renoir and Manet. The museum is on the outskirts of the city center so it is rarely crowded.
9. Musee Rodin
This museum is a charming space dedicated to sculptor Auguste Rodin. It is housed in an 18th-century mansion called Hotel Biron that the artist used as a workspace and exhibition venue until he donated it to the city of Paris with the stipulation that it be used as a museum of his works of art. The gardens around the museum contain several of his most important works and are a must see.
The museum is home to the majority of Rodin’s significant works are located on site including famed statues The Thinker and The Kiss.
8. Musee de L’Orangerie
The Musee de L’Orangerie is a renowned art gallery filled with impressionist and post-impressionist paintings including the famous Water Lilies painting by Claude Monet. The museum is situated in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens.
7. Maison de Victor Hugo
This small museum honors literary giant Victor Hugo. Hugo is one of the romantic movement’s most famous writers. He is best known for Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He lived in the house where the museum is located for 16 years from 1832-1848. It is a unique view of the living quarter and art collection of the writer.
6. Pompidou Center- National Museum of Modern Art
The Pompidou is a unique piece of architecture inside and out. It looks like a building that has been turned inside out. Inside the building houses the National Museum of Modern Art, which is the largest museum for contemporary art in Europe.
The Pompidou is the only museum in the world to offer a comprehensive view of modernism from the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum is also home to many traveling exhibits that usually include unique photography exhibitions.
5. Louis Vuitton Foundation
Frank Gehry designed space to display art and culture. The $143 million museum in Paris was opened in October 2014. The museum was funded by LVMH and bears the name of its flagship brand, Louis Vuitton. The building will pass into the hands of the city’s government after 55 years.
Temporary exhibits that highlight modern and contemporary art are open to the public throughout the year. The combination of works shown includes art owned by LVMH such as works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and a few other artists. The foundation commissioned works by Ellsworth Kelly, Olafur Eliasson, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
4. French Museum of Natural History
The French Museum of Natural History was founded in 1793 during the French Revolution but was established earlier in 1635 by King Louis XIII. It combines three museums into one, including a four-story taxonomy wing, a building of skeletons and fossils and a separate structure devoted entirely to geology. There’s also a zoo nearby! As of 2017, it has 14 sites throughout France, with four in Paris, including the original location at the royal botanical garden.
The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world and one of Paris’s most historic monuments. Over 10 million visitors attend each year to see the over 35000 paintings including the Mona Lisa and The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
My favorite exhibits also include Napoleon III apartments that you can tour as well as the Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre of Paris, comprising over 50,000 pieces, includes artifacts from the Nile civilizations which date from 4,000 BC to the 4th century.
Travel Tip: By tickets ahead to avoid long lines. Insert link
2. Musee Picasso
Set in a 17th-century hotel the National Picasso museum houses over 5000 works of arts by Picasso. Works include drawings, paintings, sculptures, and ceramics from every period of his career.
The museum also houses some of Picasso’s personal art collection with works by Degas, Seurat, and Matisse, as well as an extensive collection of African art, from which Picasso drew inspiration.
1. Musee d’Orsay
Musee d’Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the Left Bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900.
This is my favorite museum because of its vast collection of Impressionist artists including Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Renoir and my personal favorite Edgar Degas. Degas produced amazing paintings of Ballerinas that are on display. Other famous items include Van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone Aries and Renoir’s al au Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre.