Being home to some of the most famous artworks, everyone should visit some of the best museums in Paris. The French capital is a true City of Art. So many famous artists lived there. And so many art styles were founded there, as well. However, with almost 130 museums, it’s home to, it could be a bit hard to pick up the best museum in Paris to visit, for the first time visitors.
That’s why here is your complete guide with all tips and tricks that will help you navigate your way through some of the best museums in Paris.
The Best Museums in Paris
There are so many amazing cultural institutions and museums in Paris you should visit. However, to make your choice easier, they are divided here into the Paris classics and some lesser-known museums in Paris, that are definitely worth visiting.
Best Must-See Museums in Paris
#1 – Musée du Louvre
Address: Rue de Rivoli
Located in a beautiful former Royal palace, the Louvre is home to some classics such as Mona Lisa and the Nike of Samothrace. It’s not only the most famous museum in Paris but also in the world.
However, it’s one of the largest and busiest museums, as well. That’s why you should plan your visit wisely. Take some time before your trip and buy your ticket online (on a link above). This little thing will save you a couple of hours of queueing in front of the museum.
The other smart thing to do before your visit to the Louvre is to take a look at its collections. Pick up just a few you’d like to visit and mark them on the map. The museum is huge and having a map with the art pieces you’d like to see marked on it, will save you getting lost a lot once you’ll be there.
TIP: The amount of people standing in front of the Mona Lisa painting is just crazy. Trust me, you won’t have a chance to get closer to it to see all the details well. But, there are some beautiful Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings in the gallery in front of the Mona Lisa Room. And there is almost no one standing in front of them. So, if you really like to see some of his artworks, go there!
#2 – Musée d’Orsay
Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur
This former Paris train station became the museum in 1986. It’s one of the best modern museums today and a great place to see Impressionists’ paintings in Paris. Besides their work, it’s also home to a famous Edouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass. And a fantastic collection of Paul Gauguin’s and Vincent van Gogh’s paintings.
TIP: Musée d’Orsay is home to one of the most famous photo spots in Paris, as well. It’s a massive watch through which you’ll have a beautiful view of Montmartre Hill, and the Sacré Cœur church on top of it.
#3 – Centre George Pompidou
Address: Place Georges-Pompidou
This place is one of the best museums in Paris to go for contemporary art enthusiasts. It’s home to one of the most impressive collections of contemporary art in the world.
However, even if you’re not so much into contemporary art (like me), I would recommend you going there only for its architecture. The building looks as someone reversed it and took all the pipes and wires from its interior, and have placed them on the outside. It’s definitely a very cool place to see!
#4 – Musée Picasso
Address: 5 Rue de Thorigny
Although not French, Picasso is probably one of the most famous painters who lived in France. His museum in Paris has a great collection of Picasso’s art, where you can see all the style changes he went through. The museum was recently restored, and it’s absolutely the best place to learn about Picasso and his art.
TIP: There is a portrait of Picasso made by a French street artist Invader just around the corner of the museum. Be sure to check it out during your trip to Paris.
Not so well known museums in Paris you should visit
There are a few gems among some of the best museums in Paris that are still undiscovered by many people. Visiting them will make you feel as you’re in a peaceful art oasis. And as you have all that fantastic art only for yourself.
#1 – Musée de l’Orangerie
Address: Jardin Tuileries
Musée de l’Orangerie is one of my all-time favourite museums. I’m trying to go there and sit among Monet’s Water Lilies each time I’m in Paris.
Museum has a lovely collection of artists that were active at the end of the 19th century. But its highlight are two oval rooms where Monet’s large canvases with water lilies are displayed. When sitting in the middle of a room, you have a feeling like you’re in Monet’s garden in Giverny surrounded by those beautiful flowers. It’s a completely magical place!
#2 – Musée Marmottan Monet
Address: 2 Rue Louis Boilly
This is one of the museums that’s still unknown to many people visiting Paris. They have one of the largest collections of Monet’s paintings. And a great collection of work created by other Impressionist painters, too. I was especially amazed by a female painter Berthe Morisot while there the last time. Located a bit outside the city centre, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’d like to see some masterpieces created by these artists.
#3 – Musée de Cluny
Address: 6 Place Paul Painlevé
Another hidden gem among the best museums in Paris is Musée de Cluny, dedicated to French Medieval art. I’m still not sure if I’m more in love with its beautiful architecture or the collection itself. Its highlights are the famous tapestry A Lady with a Unicorn and original sculptures from the Notre Dame Cathedral. Since many originals were destroyed during the French Revolution, the ones at the cathedral today, are replicas from the beginning of the 20th century.
Some general tips for visiting museums in Paris
# – Always try to book your tickets online. You can often choose a specific time slot for your visit. This will save you a lot of time you’ll otherwise lose on waiting to get into a museum.
# – If you’re a European citizen and younger than 26, you have free access to many museums in Paris. Sometimes museums have days with free admission, too. But, although you won’t pay for your ticket, some of the popular museums could get even more crowded on those days.
# – There are strong security controls in many museums. You’ll be asked to show what’s inside your bag by the guards when entering the museums.
# – Hire a guide! That’s always one of my recommendations when visiting larger museums. Otherwise, you’ll be left to wander around without really getting the best out of it. The experience of visiting the new museum is always much better when you have a guide to show you around. Check out these links for some of my favourite tours in the Louvre and Orsay Museum.
Although there are many more fantastic cultural spots to visit, these are just some of the best museums in Paris. Hope some of the tips and tricks here will help you make your visit more pleasant and enjoyable.
What are your favourite museums in Paris? Do you have some extra tips to share?
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Cover photo by Zalfa Imani on Unsplash