With over one hundred museums, you'll need to plan your visits carefully to make the most of the city’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.
The Louvre Museum:
With nearly 8 million visitors annually, the Louvre is by far the most visited art museum in the world. It is also the largest, as well as the oldest, museum in Paris.
Originally built as a fortress by Philippe Auguste in the late 12th century, the Louvre became a royal residence under Francois Ier. Louis XIV’s favourite residence until his departure for Versailles in 1678, it was then converted into a museum in 1793. The glass pyramid, designed by architect Ieoh Ming Pei, was inaugurated in 1989 for the bicentenary of the French Revolution.
The Louvre houses one of the most stunning collections of artworks in the world. It is impossible to see everything, but most visitors come to admire the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo or the halls of the Egyptian pharaohs. For a more in-depth visit, guided tours led by museum lecturers are available. If you prefer to wander around on your own, circuits organized around a period, an artistic movement or a theme can be found online.
Opening hours: daily from 9am to 6pm (except Tuesday, 1st January, 1st May and 25th December). Until 10pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Admission is free on the first Sunday of each month.
Ticket (permanent collections): € 9.5; 6 euros (6pm to 9.45pm) on Wednesdays and Fridays (except exhibitions in the Napoleon Hall).
Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris
Address: 11, avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris.
Tel: 01 53 67 40 00
Located in the Palais de Tokyo, built for the 1937 World Exhibition, the museum was inaugurated in 1961. The collections include more than 8,000 works, and illustrate the major movements and artists from the twentieth century; monographic and thematic exhibitions present the main trends in contemporary art.
Free admission (permanent collection)
Address: 158, boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris.
Tel.: 01 45 62 11 59
Close to the Champs Elysées, this magnificent 19th-century mansion houses the best private collection of artwork in Paris. Note in particular the stunning collection of Flemish, 18th century French and Italian Renaissance paintings, and the furniture. The café Jacquemart-André is worth a visit: located in the former dining-room, it is one of Paris most elegant venues for a cup of tea or a light lunch.
Visit with audio guide: 10 euros
Guided Tour: 15 euros
The National Museum of Modern Art (Pompidou Centre)
Address: Place Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris.
Tel: 01 44 78 12 33
Metro: Rambuteau (line 11), Hotel de Ville (lines 1 and 11)
If nothing else, go and see the amazing building devoted to contemporary art. Few visitors remain indifferent to its design, which caused much controversy when it was first inaugurated in 1977. Jugglers, fire-eaters and other street performers delight passers-by on the square outside the museum. Look out for the Stravinski fountain, which features moving and water-spraying sculptures.
Inside the building, an escalator takes you to the top floor, which offers amongst the finest views of Paris.
The Museum houses one of the largest collections of modern art in the world and includes works by Klee, Kandinsky, Picasso, Bonnard, Matisse. The collection is displayed in chronological order, thus showing how contemporary art has evolved.
Opening hours: 11am to 9pm. The ticket Office closes at 8pm.
Panorama Ticket: 3 € (only gives access to the panoramic view on the top floor):
Ticket (museum and exhibition): Full price € 12; concessions: € 9. Free for young people under 26 and on the first Sunday of each month (except temporary exhibitions).
Address: 1 rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris
Tel: 01 40 49 48 14.
Located along the Seine, opposite the Tuileries Gardens, the museum is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The building itself is worth a detour. The central nave is covered by a vaulted glass and steel roof, which floods the building with natural light.
The museum houses one of the finest collections of artwork by Impressionist artists (Manet, Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Sisley ...) and post-Impressionists (Van Gogh, Gauguin and the School of Pont-Aven, Seurat, le Douanier Rousseau, etc. ..)
Opening hours: from 9:30am to 6pm (9:30 am to 9:45 pm on Thursday).
Ticket sales until 5pm (9pm on Thursday).
Closed on Monday, 1st January, 1st May and 25th December.
Tickets: Full price € 8; concessions: 5.50 euros from 4.15pm (6pm on Thursday)
Free for young people under 25 nationals or residents of EU countries, and visitors with disabilities.
Address: 2 rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris
Tel.: 01 42 24 07 02
Metro: La Muette (line 9)
Founded in 1934, the museum is housed in a beautiful 19th century mansion. Bequeathed to the Institut de France by Paul Marmottan in 1932, it brings together a unique collection of First Empire paintings, furniture and artwork. The museum also boasts the most extensive collection of paintings by Monet (including the famous “Impression, Sunrise”), as well as works by Pissarro, Berthe Morisot, Renoir, Rodin, Sisley. Do not miss the stunning collection of Waterlilies downstairs.
Opening hours: daily from 11am to 6pm (except Monday, 1st January, 1st May and 25th December). Late opening on Tuesdays until 9pm.
Tickets: Full price 9 euros; concessions (under 25): 5 euros
Free for children under 8.
Address: 79 rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
Tel: 01 44 18 61 10
Hotel Biron, a jewel of 18th century architecture, houses an outstanding collection of works by Rodin. Stroll around the garden that stretches over three acres to discover some of his most famous works - The Thinker, The Burghers of Calais and the Monument to Balzac. Works by Camille Claudel, his muse, are also on display in one of the rooms.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5:45pm (except 1st January, 1st May and 25th December). The park closes at 5pm.
Tickets: full price € 6, concessions 4 euros
Address: 23 rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris
Tel: 01 44 59 58 58
Located in the heart of the Marais district, close to Place des Vosges, the museum is housed in two mansions from the 16th and 17th centuries. It is the most Parisian of all the city museums, with over 100 rooms devoted to the history of Paris from its origins to our day.
The collection is as rich as diverse: archaeological artefacts, drawings and prints of Paris, models of ancient monuments, historical scenes, portraits of famous Parisians and a unique collection devoted to the revolutionary period. The museum also houses a remarkable numismatic collection, which can be viewed by appointment.
Access to permanent collections is free.
Address: 10 Boulevard Montmartre, 75009 Paris
Tel: 01 47 70 88 10
Metro: Grands Boulevards (lines 8, 9)
The famous waxworks museum first opened in the late 19th century, brainchild of journalist Arthur Meyer and Alfred Grevin, a cartoonist, creator of theatrical costumes and sculptor. Have fun recognizing the 300 characters, including some of the great figures and pop stars from the 20th century - from Marilyn Monroe to Michael Jackson and Albert Einstein. Story visits can be booked for children.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10am to 6:30pm (last admission 5.30pm); from 10am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and during school holidays (last admission 6pm)
Tickets: 20 euros (adults); 12 euros (children)
Guimet Museum (National Museum of Asian Art)
Address: 6 Place d'Iena, 75016 Paris
Founded in 1889 by Emile Guimet, the museum houses the most comprehensive collection of Khmer Art in the world. The museum also includes important collections on Japan and Korea, and especially Japanese, Korean and Chinese painting.
Opening hours: every day except Tuesday from 10am to 5.45pm (the ticket office closes at 5:15pm)
The Army Museum (Hotel des Invalides)
Address: 129, rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
Founded in 1905, the Army Museum is the largest museum devoted to military history in France. Located in the Hotel des Invalides, it houses an extraordinary collection from the Middle Ages to the present day: weapons and armours, artillery models, emblems and flags, paintings and army uniforms from the 17th century to the Second World War.
Audio guides are available.
Opening hours: from 10am to 6pm (1st April to 30th September) and from 10am to 5pm (1st October to 30th March)
Closed: 1st Monday of each month (except July, August and September), and 1st January, 1st May, 1st November, and 25th December.
Tickets: € 8; concessions: 6 €
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