Choosing among the museums to visit in Paris can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you realize that they 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.
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10 Best Museums to Visit in Paris
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.