Paris has more than 170 museums, the first one being the city itself, with its historical architecture and many lovely streets. But if you have time for more, you will certainly enjoy yourself in one of its museums!
To give you an idea, here are our 8 favourite museums (it was hard to limit ourselves to 8 to be honest!!)
1- The Louvre Museum
The most visited art museum in the world and for a good reason: it is spectacular!
The building itself worth a detour: it is the biggest art museum in the world! Built over a fortress dated from 1190, it had successful renovations and extensions over the centuries. Its famous glass Pyramid was an addition from 1989. The collection of master pieces started in the XVIth century (paintings of Leonardo da Vinci being part of the first acquisitions) and it is now composed of about 460,000 works of art! With over nine million visitors per year, the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world, so be prepared to line up (you can also buy tickets online).
The collections include: Paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, Egyptian antiquities, Near Eastern antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities and Islamic art.
2- Quai Branly
A rather recent museum, since it was opened in 2006, it features the indigenous art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas.
Its collection has about 450,000 objects, of which about 3,500 are on display in the permanent exhibition. The fragility of some works is the reason why some pieces of art can only be exposed for a limited duration but that also means that there are regular changes to the exhibition. The way the collections are arranged and presented through a “circuit” really enhances the richness and particularity of some specific region or type of work.
It is my personal favourite museum!
3- Petit Palais
Built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900, the Petit Palais is often overlooked by tourists but it really is worth a visit.
Less rich that the Louvres, its collection still groups an impressive amount of masterpieces mainly donated by generous patrons or ordered by the City of Paris, which covers the period from Greek antiquities to the 19th century. Delacroix, Rembrandt, Géricault, Gauguin, Monet, Cézanne, Saint-Aubin, Steen and many more have a place in this museum.
4- Centre Pompidou
Inaugurated in 1977, it’s also a very unique building that is worth viewing. Located in the heart of Paris, the Centre Pompidou (also called “Beaubourg” by Parisians) with its colourful pipes is an emblematic modern structure.
Its founder, Georges Pompidou, wanted Paris to have “a cultural centre that was both a museum and centre of creation, where the visual arts would mingle with music, film and books.” And he succeeded! With an impressive permanent collection and continuous international exhibition, the museum will please any modern art lover!
5- Jeu de Paume
The name of this gallery comes from its former use – it was a place to play the “Jeu de Paume”, the ancestor of tennis!
It is now an arts centre for modern and postmodern photography and media. Check its program for the current exhibitions as it is always changing!
6- Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie
It actually regroups several museums and centres in one. It offers permanent and temporary exhibitions related to science (from space, oceans and volcanoes to mathematics, energy and automobiles), but also has a planetarium, a cinema, and an aquarium…
If you are with kids don’t miss the “Cite des Enfants” which offers one space dedicated for kids from 2 to 7 and one from 5 to 12.
The unmissable museum to learn everything about Paris and its rich history!
A much smaller museum dedicated to the sculptor Rodin which has a unique romantic atmosphere!
Take the time to wander around the garden.