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10 Best Museums to Visit in Paris

Choosing among the museums to visit in Paris can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you realize that there are more than 130! Most of these museums are not only important for their masterpieces but are also considered historical landmarks in Paris.

Louvre Museum, for example, is located in the sumptuous building that used to house the French royal family, before being turned into, what is today, the biggest museum in the world.

Others, like the Petit Palais, were built for the 1900s Universal Exhibition and are one of the few buildings, built for the event, that was not destroyed after the fair and are still being used today, housing the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts.

So, in this post, we will cover the 10 best museums in Paris to visit.

10 museums to visit in Paris

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Paris has some of the most important museums in the world, and in this list of the best museums to visit in Paris, I only included must-sees.

Indeed, in Paris, there are museums for all kinds of people and all kinds of interests. To visit all of them you would need a lot of time, but if you are visiting Paris for just a few days you might want to pick the most important and famous ones and make a quick visit. To help you choose the must-visit museums in Paris, here goes a list of 10 museums you just can’t miss!

Visiting the Museums in Paris

For those who love history and art, visiting museums is of course a must, Paris offers a variety of museums covering different topics and exhibiting different collections, we can pretty much say there are museums for every taste in the French capital.

If you are visiting Paris and wish to see more than one museum, I highly suggest getting a Paris Museum Card, you have options for 2, 4, or 6 days! This Pass allows you to visit over 60 museums and monuments in and around Paris, the pass includes entrance to famous museums such as the Louvre Museum, Orsay Museum, and the Centre Pompidou. Among the monuments, you will be able to visit the Arc de Triomphe, Conciergerie, some famous churches such as Sainte-Chapelle, take a tour through Notre Dame, and much more.

The pass doesn’t only include attractions in the city of Paris but also in its outskirts, with this ticket, you will be able to enter the Château de Fontainebleau, Château de Vincennes, and the Basilique cathédrale de Saint-Denis, all these attractions and many more are completely free, for those who have the Paris Museum Pass, buy it here.

10 Best Museums to Visit in Paris

Louvre Museum

Not a surprise to see it on the list right? The Louvre Museum in Paris is the biggest museum in the world and probably the most famous too. With an impressive collection of more than 380,00 items, the Louvre has a bit of everything, exhibiting pieces of art and history from all over the world, and covering pretty much every period of time.

Among its iconic pieces are the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory, but besides those, there are tons of must-see artworks in the Louvre.

The building that houses the Louvre Museum today was built in the late 12th century to be a fortress but turned into a royal palace in the 16th century, becoming a museum in 1793.

If you are a fan of history and art this is a must, but bear in mind that the Louvre is huge and will take you at least one day to visit it if you focus only on the most famous and mainstream masterpieces. If you want to see everything, room by room, you better reserve at least 3 days.

If you are not able to visit the Louvre Museum physically, don’t worry, thanks to the internet, you are now able to virtually visit the Louvre Museum, and see its entire collection.

Location: The Louvre Museum is located in the 1st Arrondissement.

Hours: Open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, on Wednesday and Friday it is open until 9:45 pm, on Tuesdays, it is closed.

Museums in Paris
source: Flickr

Musée d’Orsay

Well, we can classify Orsay as the second most important and visited museum in Paris. Housing the biggest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist pieces in the World, the museum counts with artworks of important artists such as Millet, Renoir, and the one and only Van Gogh.

The building, located on the left bank of the Seine River was once a railway station, called Gare d’Orsay, hence the name of the museum. When visiting the Musée d’Orsay, you will notice that the original station clock is still hanging there, giving a charm to the museum.

Among its masterpieces is one Self-Portrait by Van Gogh, as well as one version of the Bedroom in Arles, the artist painted many versions of these pieces, that can be found in different museums around the world, but if you are in Paris, don’t miss the opportunity to admire the many Van Gogh artworks on display in Orsay.

There you can see one of my favorite paintings too, called Dancing at le Moulin de la Galette by Renoir.

Check the most important artworks of the Musée d’Orsay and learn more about them.

Location: Rue de Lille 75343 Paris, France.

Hours: Open nearly every day of the year from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, except on Mondays. Night opening on Thursdays until 9:45 pm.

Museums in Paris
source: Flickr

Musée de l’Orangerie

Located in the Place de la Concorde, close to the Louvre, the Musée de l’Orangerie is an art gallery exhibiting impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, famous for its murals painted by Monet, including Monet’s famous “Water Lilies” series.

The gallery also contains works by famous artists like Picasso, Modigliani, and Renoir.

It was built to be a greenhouse for orange trees, hence the name. It was converted into a museum at the end of the 19th century.

Location: Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France.

Hours: Open nearly every day of the year from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, except on Tuesday.

Museums in Paris
source: Flickr

Musée Rodin

The Rodin Museum is divided into two different sites, one in the old house of the artist and the other, in his old workshop. It is located in the same area as the Picasso Museum, making it easy to visit both on the same day.

It was originally opened in 1919 and was the first museum in the world dedicated to the works of a single artist. The museum is housed in a beautiful 19th-century mansion, surrounded by lush gardens, and offers a unique and intimate look at the works of one of the greatest sculptors in history.

The Rodin Museum’s collection is dedicated to Rodin, counting over 6,000 sculptures, drawings, and photographs, including his famous pieces like The Thinker, The Kiss, and the Gates of Hell, as well as some paintings by Van Gogh and Renoir belonging to his personal collection of Rodin.

Location: 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France.

Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm.

Museums in Paris
source: Flickr

Musée Picasso

Picasso Museum is located in the Marais and is completely dedicated to the works of Pablo Picasso. It contains a huge collection of 5,000 paintings and sculptures made exclusively by Picasso, using different techniques and from different periods of his life, it spans from Pablo Picasso’s early sketches to ceramic sculptures created throughout his career.

It is one of the largest collections of works by Picasso in Europe.

Besides pieces by Picasso, the museum also keeps different paintings and sculptures by different artists that used to be part of Picasso’s personal collection.

Location: 5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris, France.

Hours: Open Tuesday to Friday from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm, on Saturdays and Sundays it opens from 09:30 am to 6:00 pm.

Museums in Paris
source: Flickr

Centre Pompidou

It is a complex building that houses the Public Information Library, the biggest museum of modern art in Europe, featuring works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, featuring works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Marcel Duchamp, and Marcel Duchamp.

Located just a few blocks east of the Louvre, this contemporary art museum also houses an Institute of Research and Innovation, an auditorium with films ranging from classic silent films to work from new directors, and much more.

Center Pompidou is famous for its eccentric high-tech building, which stands out from a distance and deserves admiration. The museum itself focuses on modern and contemporary art.

Location: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France.

Hours:  Open every day, except on Tuesdays, from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Museums in Paris
source: Flickr

Musée Carnavalet

This museum is dedicated to the history of Paris, it shows the transformation of the small village known by the Romans as Lutéce, to the Paris we know today, passing through different periods of time, such as the Medieval Era, the Renaissance, the French Revolution, and the Paris of the 20th century.

It was established in 1880 and is considered one of the most important museums in Paris. Some of its pieces include paintings of famous Parisian figures such as King Henry IV and Napoleon Bonaparte, the personal belongings of Marie-Antoinette, and Napoleon’s favorite case of toiletries.

Location: 23 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris, France.

Hours:  Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and close on Monday.

Museums in Paris
source: Flickr

Musée de Cluny

Are you a fan of the Medieval Era? If so, you must visit Musée de Cluny, also known as Musée du Moyen Âge Paris, its collection consists of Medieval Era art, mainly religious art.

Musée de Cluny is located in the Latin Quarter and is housed in the Hotel de Cluny, a 15th-century mansion that was once the residence of the abbots of Cluny, which is considered one of the most well-preserved medieval buildings in the city.

Among its masterpieces are the famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, but the museum also displays sculptures, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, and other art from the medieval period.

Another highlight is the collection of Roman baths, very well preserved and restored, that visitors can see at the museum.

Location: 28 Rue du Sommerard, 75005 Paris, France.

Hours:  Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Museums in Paris
source: Flickr

Le Petit Palais

Le Petit Palais was built in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle and was not supposed to be permanent, the style pleased the Parisians though, guaranteeing its permanence. Today the building serves as a museum of fine arts and a cultural center.

It was built in a Beaux-Arts building, designed by architect Charles Girault. Inside, the museum features a range of exhibits that showcase the best of French art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and more.

The permanent collection of the Petit Palais features works by many famous French artists, such as Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Manet, as well as works by international artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.

Location: Av. Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, France.

Hours:  Open every day except Monday from 09:30 am to 6:15 pm.

source: Flickr

Musée Jacquemart-André

It was originally the private home of Edouard André and his wife, Nélie Jacquemart, who were avid art collectors. Today, the museum showcases its extensive art collection, as well as its opulent residence, which has been beautifully restored to its original grandeur.

Édouard came from a banking family and as an art admirer, he spent his life buying works of art, many of which were brought from Italy, making Musée Jacquemart-André the finest collection of Italian art in France.

After the death of her husband, Nelie completed the decoration of the mansion and passed it on to the Institut of France to be transformed into a museum, giving the world a glimpse of how the Parisian high society used to live.

The museum features a wide range of works of art, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics, and more, from the Renaissance to the 19th century. The highlights of the collection include works by famous artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard, as well as a number of Italian Renaissance masterpieces.

Location: 158 Bd Haussmann, 75008 Paris, France.

Hours:  Open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Late night opening on Mondays until 8.30 p.m. during exhibitions.

This text was originally written and posted in January 2018 and updated in February 2022. New information has been added and links have been updated so that it could offer a better experience to the reader.

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55 Comments

  1. I have never been to Paris, but my best friend went there with his culinary class and loved it. If I ever visit Paris, many of these museums would be on top of my list. I love visiting museums!

  2. Love this! We would absolutely love spending some time museum exploring in Paris.

  3. Awesome useful post. Thanks for sharing. Bookmarking it right away for my trip to Paris. 🙂

  4. It is my dream to visit Paris, and I love museums anywhere so this post is soooooo amazing!

  5. Paris is on my wishlist. Such beautiful architecture in these places! This all looks great, thanks for sharing these ideas!

    1. Thank you Beth! Paris is definitely beautiful, I too love its architecture!!

  6. I started reading this post thinking, “oh I will probably only see one or two I would be interested in.” However, all these look so pretty and fascinating! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Definitely! Paris has so many interesting museums to visit, it is not just a list of random boring museums, it actually has many worthy visit museums!

  7. Paris is on my wishlist. I love visiting museums! Love this post!!

  8. I had no idea Paris had such a long list of amazing museums. Thanks for sharing. I’ve pinned this for later reference 🙂

  9. Josephine says:

    Oh that garden looks so beautiful! Pinned for when I visit Paris next time 🙂

  10. I’ve been to three museums on your list: The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and Centre Pompidou. Next time I’d love to see some of the others on your list, Le Petit Palais and Musée Rodin would be my next choices. So much to see and do in Paris! Let’s hope the recent flooding doesn’t cause too much damage.

  11. Paris has been on my bucket list for such a long time, thanks for making this list! Will be definitely looking more into it, awesome insight!

  12. Great choice, my favourites are Musée d’Orsay and Centre Pompidou. 🙂

  13. I’ve never been to Paris, but it’s definitely on my list of places I want to visit. All of those museums look amazing.

  14. I absolutely love your list also I love everything Paris . The city has my heart forever. Your post is very informative.

  15. Love this! Whenever I do finally manage to make it to Paris, I’ll be sure to check out these museums!

  16. I was in Paris once, and I did manage to make it to the Louvre. My stay was too short to see any other museums, but I will make it back to Paris again and now I know some of the top places to visit.

  17. So happy to see Musee Cluny on this list! It’s so overlooked compared to the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay

  18. Paris has been on my bucketlist for so long! I will definitely be adding these to my ‘to-do’ list for when I do eventually get round to visiting.

  19. Denny George says:

    Very useful list, especially for a city jam packed with museums. I’ll make sure to have this handy when I visit Paris.

  20. Is the Musee de Cluny where they have all those beautiful tapestries? I remember being amazed by those

    1. Teah!! There are many tapestries there, and they are all very medieval, it is lovely!

  21. More than 130?! Wow! That’s like a lot and I’m pretty sure it can overwhelm one person trying to see everything! So cool of you to narrow it down to 10! Aside from the Louvre, I want to visit Musée Picasso too! I’ve seen so many samples of his artwork and it will be cool if I see them in person! 🙂

  22. I’m a big, big museum person and do come to Paris to see exhibitions quite often. Therefore I think that it’s difficult to narrow it down to ten (that’s the problem with numbering) – how about the Palais de Tokyo and Musee d’Art Moderne next to it?! They have grand exhibitions! And although I like the Petit Palais, the Grand Palais houses the more important ones. Then I love the Fondations such as Cartier and Luis Vouitton – it’s nice that these people are investing all the money they make in art 😀 Yes, Paris is definitely one of the most important European cities when it comes to art.

    1. Definitely Renata! I love art and I love museums too and I find it really hard to choose between 10 only, since Paris has so much options, you definitely need a long time in Paris, or need to go back there many times to be able to see everything! Thank you for the tips about these other museums! 😀

  23. You’re so right that it can be overwhelming, especially when there’s so much to see. Admittedly, I’ve never been to a museum in Paris but I love the look of Louvre and will add it to my list of things to do in Paris for when I’m next there.

    1. I know how it is, I love to sit there and admire Louvre as well, it is beautiful inside and out! But definitely, if you have time, try visiting inside!

  24. The Louve is definitely the most desired place to visit. It is on my bucket list. I would love to go to all of them though.

  25. Adulting on coffee says:

    Didnt know of so many of these museums! Thanks for sharing~

  26. Those all look awesome! I love museums. Sounds like we’ll have to plan plenty of time to go to these places once we’re in Paris!

  27. Orsay and Rodin are my favorites. Louvre are just overrated and very crowded that I didn’t enjoyed at all. Not to mention, some paintings displayed are not the originals and people were so crazy about them. Just my opinion. 🙂

    1. Well, Louvre can be indeed very crowded sometimes, which is so annoying, but it is still so worthy visiting! There are some pieces there that are a must for those who love art, but definitely, it is not a museums to visit if you don’t have plenty of time and patience!

  28. My favourite is the Musee d’Orsay! I still need to go to the Musee Rodin though! Nice list!

    1. If you really want to get to know Paris, yeah you would need a good month for that hahahha there are way too many things to do there!

  29. Aaah…missing a lot for a week in Paris is not enough to go to all these. We’ll definitely be back😊

  30. This is a great post – I didn’t even know some of these existed! Pinning it too!

  31. Very handy list! So hard to know which museum’s the one for you in these big capitals sometimes!

  32. I have no idea Paris has lots of museums! We’ve got lucky to get inside Louvre for free one time when it was a few minutes before closing time. Not sure if the ticket people were just lazy that time. But it’s worth a try that and see if it still works! We were really starstruck to see the Mona Lisa Painting in person.

    1. That’s a good tip! Who knows if it is not part of their policy, it would make sense since it would be unfair to charge people knowing they wouldn’t have time to see everything and enjoy their time there properly!

  33. What a fantastic list of cultural places to visit. I love Paris and the great thing about it is there is so much to see, so there is always something left for another visit. Thanks for sharing

  34. Já fui a Paris algumas vezes, mas esta última vez tive as horas bem contadas então fiz um raid rápido pelos museus (só entrei a sério no Louvre porque é algo que nunca perco!) 🙂 Este post chamou a atenção porque também escrevi sobre Paris recentemente :p

  35. Great list of Museums in Paris! Unfortunately some of them are closed for restauration so i will need to be patient to re visit them again.

  36. Letina Kelly says:

    It’s been many years since I went to Paris and to the Louvre. I’d love to go back someday and have a little more time to explore. Thanks for this list. It is most helpful.

    1. Thank you too Kelly! Definitely take your time to explore the Louvre and other museums as well, Paris has the best museums in my opinion! 😀

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