The city of light, the city of art and artists, the most romantic city in the world, Paris is all of these things. And Paris is the city that you must visit, it deserves a place on your bucket list. There are so many things that you can do in Paris, stroll around charming little streets, enjoy, the breathtaking architecture, drink coffee at cute small cafes, and of course visit museums. Paris is home to some of the best museums in the world, and you need to visit at least one.
Here is our list of the best museums in Paris, that you must visit:
1. The Louvre
It is just fair that we start this list with The Louvre. The Louvre is the largest and most visited museum in the world. It’s a huge complex with a multi-level maze of galleries, that you just can’t explore in one day. The architecture of the museum is breathtaking, and it goes perfectly well with the masterpieces that are there. It has over 35,000 works of art and artifacts on show, including the world-famous Mona Lisa. Everything is split into eight departments and housed in three wings. Before visiting check everything online, and make a list of what you want to see, because you won’t be able to see everything. And you don’t want to miss something special.
2. Musée des Arts Décoratifs
This museum is located in the west wing of the Louvre and it was first opened a century ago. But it reopened in 2006, after the renovation that was ongoing for around 10 years. Here you can see astonishing French furniture and tableware, and most of the items were donated by private collectors. Apart from the beautiful carpets, and crystal and porcelain items, you can also see ten rooms that represent the lives of French people that lived from the late 1400s to the early 20th century.
3. The Centre Pompidou
The exterior of the Center Pompidou is a major touristic attraction of Paris, but the inside holds the largest collection of modern art in Europe. It has a performance space, a repertory cinema, an exhibition space, and a library. You can enter the forum for free, and the library, but you do have to pay to go up the escalators.
4. Musée d’Orsay
One of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist and Post-impressionist art is held at the Musée d’Orsay, which was converted to a museum from the old Belle Époque Orsay train station in 1986. Here you can see the best works of Renoir, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Van Gogh, but you can also see an impressive collection of decorative arts from the Art Nouveau era.
5. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
The galleries at the now Grand Palais were first built for the World’s Fair in 1900. The exterior is famous for the Beaux-Arts style architecture and its steel-framed glass roof. It was closed for renovation until 2005, and now it is the home for some of the masterpieces of Marc Chagall, Irving Penn, and some of the Cartier jewelers.
6. Petit Palais
Across the Grand Palais, there is Petit Palais, and it is known as the Grand Palais’ younger sibling. Younger only because of its size, because this building was built the same year as the Grand Palais. Inside the Petit Palais, you can find some of the Paris’ most wonderful fine art and sculptures, and the work of Poussin, Doré, Courbet and the Impressionists. Also downstairs you can see marvelous jewelry by Lalique and Gallé, famous artists from the Belle Epoque period.
7. Musée National du Moyen Age – Thermes de Cluny
This is the national museum of medieval art that has impressive collections of medieval sculptures and enamels. One of the things that this museum is best known for is the magnificent Lady and the Unicorn tapestry cycle. The building is also an artwork because it’s a rare example of 15th-century secular Gothic architecture, that was built from 1485 to 1489. The building was built on top of the Gallo-Roman baths complex, that is now the finest Roman remains in Paris.
8. Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine
This museum was opened in 2007 and it’s an architecture and heritage museum. It’s something completely different from all of the other museums on this list. On the ground floor of the museum, you can find life-size mock-ups of façades and heritage buildings, and interactive screens that place the models in context. It also has a walk-in replica of an apartment from Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse in Marseille. In the darkened rooms that are upstairs, you can find full-scale copies of medieval and Renaissance murals and stained-glass windows. If you want to visit something different, then this museum is the right place for you.
We hope that we have awakened your inner art lover and that you’ll visit some of these museums once you’re in Paris. Choose any of these and you won’t regret it, and you’ll remember your visit for the rest of your life.