Elegant, stylish, beautiful – Paris is a wonderful city to visit and it is no surprise that it is home to so many incredible museums showcasing such fantastic art collections. France’s capital has much to offer art lovers; there are a plethora of statues, paintings, and artworks scattered about the city. Whether it is medieval, contemporary or Impressionist pieces that you are interested in, there is certainly a museum for you.
On top of the fine galleries and the delightful architecture of the buildings themselves, history and culture is also well represented among the city’s institutions. Boasting the most visited museum in the world -the Louvre – Paris’ well-curated museums are a dream to visit.
An elegant building that is beautiful to behold, the Petit Palais – dating back to the Belle Epoque – is one of the best art museums in Paris and is well worth a visit. With some lovely Impressionist paintings on display, marvelous sculptures are spread throughout the premises and there is a fantastic Art Nouveau collection that is delightful to peruse. Exhibiting some famous works by Poussin, Guimard and more, the Petit Palais’s wide range of artworks makes it a fantastic museum to explore.
Located in two old Marais mansions which neighbor each other, the Musee Carnavalet offers a fascinating look at Paris’ long history. A large museum, you’ll start off in pre-Roman Gaul before making your way through the 140 rooms until you arrive and explore the goings on of the 20th Century. There are some lovely objects on show and the museum houses over 2,600 paintings and 2,000 modern sculptures, alongside the 150,000 photos and countless other items documenting the city’s history. With models, coins, jewelry and more represented in the elegant rooms, the Musee Carnavalet never gets boring; there is so much to see and take in.
Dedicated to medieval art, the Musee de Cluny has lots of lovely sculptures on display, as well as a great tapestry collection and lots of other interesting artifacts and objects. Housed in a beautiful 15th Century building that finely shows off its fantastic Gothic architecture, the rooms, staircases, and chapel are divine, and visiting the museum is a truly authentic experience. The building rests on top of an old Roman baths complex; you can also visit the fine ruins down below. On top of all this, the institution hosts medieval concerts and troubadours from time to time, so keep an eye out on their calendar for these entertaining and interesting events.
Located in a spectacular building that is slightly reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House due to its large white sails, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is a fantastic contemporary art museum that houses some impressive artwork. On show are works by Huyghe, Richter, and Lavier, amongst others, while the museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions which are also worth checking out. The brainchild of Bernard Arnaut, the CEO of LVMH, the museum is astounding, both inside and out, and really pushes the boundaries of contemporary design.
Lying on the banks of the Seine, the Musee du quai Branly is surrounded by trees that make visiting the museum a peaceful and relaxing experience. It is dedicated to the protection and promotion of art from non-European cultures. There is loads of amazing art on display and the collection includes everything from jewelry and musical instruments to statues, costumes, masks and more. Accompanied by interesting texts, videos, and photos, the pieces offer an eye-opening look into art and culture from around the world. Whether it is a Moai head from Easter Island, a Dogon statue from Mali, or sumptuous jewelry from Morocco, the Musee du quai Branley is a fascinating place to visit, full of beautiful artwork.
Spanning over seven-hundred years, the art collection in the Musee Marmottan Monet certainly covers a lot of material, although it is primarily known for the huge range of Monet paintings on display. Featuring the largest collection of his works, his Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings are breathtaking; among many visitors’ favorites is the delightful ‘Impression, Sunrise,’ from which the term Impressionism was derived. In addition to Monet’s work, there are lots of other great paintings on show by artists such as Picasso, Renoir, and Magret. Wandering around the galleries really is a perfect way to spend the day.
Located in a decadent and lavish 19th Century mansion that was once home to the couple that the museum is named after, the Musee Jacquemart-Andre is jam-packed with amazing artworks for you to enjoy. The luxurious rooms, galleries and salons house paintings by such renowned artists as Canaletto, Fragonard, and Nattier, and the delightful premises only add to the experience. Art is tastefully exhibited everywhere you go and the upstairs rooms have some fantastic paintings by Botticelli and Uccello, as well as numerous paintings by other 15th Century Venetian artists. A spectacular collection that is so elegantly presented, the works on display at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre are not to be missed.
With some sumptuous architecture on show, the enormous building complex of the Musee de l’Armee at les Invalides was originally commissioned by Louis XIV to act as a hospital and retirement home for disabled soldiers. It is absolutely massive and the complex includes a number of museums within its grounds. The Army Museum, for instance, is one of the largest and best art and military history museums around; it has over 500,000 artifacts on display, including paintings, uniforms, weapons and more. The Musee des Plans-Reliefs is also very interesting to wander around; it contains loads of 3D scale models of various French fortresses and cities, which are very detailed and beautifully laid out. With so much to see and do, you’ll be learning about the French Revolution one minute, France’s involvement in the Second World War the next, and then be off to learn about the history of the French monarchs before you know it.
Formerly the mansion in which Rodin resided, the museum is now dedicated to his life’s work and showcases his fantastic sculptures and masterpieces. With over 6600 sculptures included in the collection, as well as 8000 photos and drawings, the Musee Rodin’s main attractions include such stunning pieces as ‘The Thinker’ and ‘The Kiss’. The beautiful rose gardens and expansive rooms of the mansion are the perfect settings for the influential sculptor’s creations, and wandering around his old workshop and showroom is a magical experience. Split over two sites, the part of the museum that is situated in Meudon is also worth visiting, although most people are content with solely stopping by the Hotel Biron site in the center of Paris.
Located in the picturesque Jardin des Tuileries, the Musee de l’Orangerie is home to eight of Monet’s beautiful water lily paintings. The canvases curve along with the walls, which are elliptical in nature; the effect is very soothing and peaceful, reflecting the tranquil images he portrayed with his brush strokes. While the water lilies and drooping willows that he painted are the undoubted highlights and the main reason people visit the museum, there are also galleries showcasing artworks by other artists. With paintings by Picasso, Cezanne and others on display, the Musee de l’Orangerie is well worth a visit.
Set in what was once an old train station, the beautiful art nouveau building is home to the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in the world. With around 2000 paintings on display and over 600 sculptures exhibited around the Musee d’Orsay, visitors can enjoy spectacular pieces by such renowned names as Cezanne, Manet, Monet, Renoir and more, while Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night over the Rhone’ is one of the main attractions. Wandering around the galleries is awe-inspiring, as beautiful paintings follow you wherever you go. Mainly covering around sixty years of art history, it is impressive to see what the art movement achieved in those productive decades. With fantastic paintings such as ‘The Ballet Class’ by Degas and ‘L’Origine du monde’ by Courbet on show, the Musee d’Orsay really is a must-see when in Paris.
1. Louvre Tours & Activities
The largest museum in the world, the Louvre is also the most visited; over eight million people visited its endless galleries and exhibits in 2017. Housed in an absolutely stunning building – which has at times been used as a fortress and royal residence – the museum is remarkable to visit. There is such a wealth of amazing masterpieces to enjoy, and, with over 35,000 objects on display, one could spend months exploring its almost endless collection. Whether it’s classic sculptures that you are interested in or Egyptian mummies, renaissance paintings and ancient artifacts from around the Middle East, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Breathtaking to behold, the Venus de Milo and The Mona Lisa are just two of the world-famous artworks on display. Visitors to the Louvre will certainly have their work cut out trying to see all the main attractions. Magnificent to visit, the iconic glass pyramid in front of the Louvre is just the cherry on top of a wonderful experience.