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Museums Paris

Paris hosts some of the most important museums in the world. I tell you which are the most worthwhile and how to get tickets.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

15 min read

Museums Paris

Exterior of the Louvre Museum | ©Chris Karidis

The museums and cultural offer of Paris is one of the largest in Europe, so much so that sometimes you need a guideline to avoid getting lost among so much variety and to be able to make a better selection. It is impossible to stay with just one, but as I imagine that your time in Paris will not be infinite, I leave you a list of the most important museums in the city so you can choose which one or which ones you dedicate your time to.

1. The Louvre

Views of the pyramid of the Louvre Museum
Views of the pyramid of the Louvre Museum

It needs no introduction; it is the museum par excellence of Paris and one of the largest art collections in Europe. I advise you to book tickets in advance and choose a time slot to visit the museum (the slot is only for the entrance, once inside there is no time limit).

Otherwise, you run the risk that the tickets for the Louvre will be sold out due to the influx of visitors and you will have to wait in long lines. Therefore, I recommend that you book the general admission to the Louvre without queues.

The Louvre collection is so immense that you can spend as much time as you want; in this museum you will find works such as La Gioconda by Leonardo Da Vinci, Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix, the Venus de Milo, The Marriage at Cana by Veronese, The Victory of Samothrace and an impressive collection of Egyptian art.

Skip-the-line entrance with audio guide

If you are interested in the Louvre, I invite you to read the guide I have written about the Louvre. Paris Louvre Museum Tickets and Tours: how to buy, prices and discounts. There is also the option of visiting the Louvre at your own pace with an audio guide, so that you can understand the details of what you see as you walk through the interior of the incredible building.

Guided tour

But there is undoubtedly an option that for me is the most recommended. To enjoy in depth the visual spectacle in front of you I recommend 100% a guided tour of the Louvre Museum; when a professional explains the main works of the museum you enjoy and learn twice as much and in half the time.

Family option

If you are traveling with your family and you are thinking about not visiting the Louvre with children: don't do it! It is true that if you visit the museum with them on their own they can get bored if they spend many hours inside, but you have the option of hiring a visit with a specific audio guide for children that will awaken their interest in art and culture.

Details of interest

  • Hours: Mon, Thu, Sat and Sun from 9:00 to 18:00 X and Fri from 9:00 to 21:45
  • Closing days: Tuesday
  • Recommended length of visit: 3.5 hours
  • How to get there: Metro Palais Royal, Musée du Louvre

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2. D'Orsay Museum

Clock of the Musée d'Orsay
Clock of the Musée d'Orsay

It is hard for me to be objective about this museum because, of all the museums in Paris, it is my favorite. The impressionist paintings of Monet and the plaster replica of Rodin's Gate of Hell are my favorite works and to these we must add the wonders created by artists such as Cézanne and Gauguin.

The dimensions of the museum, divided into two floors, and the lateral and orderly arrangement of the rooms allow you to enjoy it without stress and calmly. In addition, the light that bathes the main gallery and the tranquility that permeates the atmosphere make this place a very special place.

Guided tour

In my case, I prefer to enjoy it alone, but do not rule out the guided tour of the Musée D'Orsay that will give you the information you need both to fall in love with the museum itself and the works of art it contains.

Entrance with audio guide and cruise included

If you are visiting the museum for the first time, don't hesitate to take the audio guide. The works of art housed in the Musée D'Orsay have wonderful lessons behind them. A highly recommended option to extend the experience of visiting this museum, is to complete the day with a cruise on the Seine.

There is a combined option for both activities, the entrance to the museum with audio guide and cruise on the Seine, which will be very economical if you are interested in both activities.

Details of interest

  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Thursday until 9:45 p.m.
  • Closing days: Monday
  • Recommended duration of visit: 2 hours
  • How to get there: St-Germain des-Prés area, metro Solférino

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3. Georges Pompidou

Georges Pompidou Center| ©Chris Waits
Georges Pompidou Center| ©Chris Waits

The contemporary art museum in Paris is one of the most original museums you can see in Europe and one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world. With a very particular architecture, the Pompidou museum is divided into four floors (there are two others dedicated to temporary exhibitions) where you can see works by Duchamp, Kandinsky, Picasso and Matisse.

Contemporary art lovers will enjoy key works, but those less familiar with this discipline will also enjoy this essential reference in Paris for the originality of the collection.

Organize your visit

The spaciousness of the rooms of the Pompidou Museum allows you to experience a visit away from crowds. If you are traveling with children and you have to choose only one museum to take them to, choose the Pompidou; the contact with art will be much more fun and closer than in "conventional" museums and will awaken their curiosity.

Although it is not usual to find long queues at the Pompidou, you can also buy tickets in advance on their website.

Useful details

  • Hours: Wednesday to Monday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
  • Closing days: Tuesday
  • Recommended duration of visit: 2 hours
  • How to get there: Beauborg and Les Halles area, metro Rambuteau

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4. Rodin Museum

Rodin Museum| ©Angela n.
Rodin Museum| ©Angela n.

No matter if you know Rodin's work or if you have never seen one of his sculptures: you have to go to this museum. The collection of 400 works collected inside a historic mansion of the eighteenth century is mixed with the exposed in wonderful gardens where you can stroll without crowds or haste.

As always, I recommend you to get your ticket to the Rodin Museum in advance to simply arrive and enjoy.

Why I like this museum

The Rodin museum is a haven among the museums of Paris; a breath of fresh air where the green of nature mingles with sculptures such as the Gate of Hell, the Balzac, The Burghers of Calais or The Thinker. When you leave this visit you will not feel like big crowds; the Eiffel Tower is within walking distance, I recommend you to go there and lie down to contemplate the surroundings on the Champs de Mars.

Interesting details

  • Hours: 10:00 am to 5:45 pm, Wednesday until 8:45 pm
  • Closing days: Monday
  • Recommended duration of the visit: One and a half hour
  • How to get there: Les Invalides area, metro Varenne

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5. Orangerie Museum

Orangerie Museum| ©Jon
Orangerie Museum| ©Jon

If you like impressionist painting, it is in this museum where you can enjoy impressionist and post-impressionist works by Matisse, Picasso, Renoir or Cézanne. Located near the Louvre, in the Tulleries garden, the Orangerie is a small and specialized museum (you will recognize it by its appearance of Greek temple), but still remains one of the most visited in Paris and one of the most prominent in the city.

You may have seen Monet' s painting of the water lilies (the one he painted up to 250 times in search of perfection); eight of those works are in this museum. To make sure you don't miss out, be sure to buy your ticket to the Musée de l'Orangerie in advance.

Interesting details

  • Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Closing days: Tuesdays and some holidays
  • Recommended duration of visit: One hour
  • How to get there: Les Tuilleries area, metro Concorde

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6. Picasso Museum

Picture of the Picasso Museum| ©Carsten Sprotte
Picture of the Picasso Museum| ©Carsten Sprotte

The Spanish artist of reference in cubism, always had in Paris his second home. If you take a guided tour of the Montmartre district, you will discover the places he frequented during his stay in the French capital and more than one anecdote about the artist. For this reason, there could not fail to be a museum dedicated to his figure in Paris, specifically in the Marais district (a neighborhood that, by the way, is worth visiting).

Although it is not the largest existing collection of this artist, the works and documentation collected in this museum are still a window into the life and work of the Spanish genius. In addition, with your ticket to the Picasso Museum you can also admire pieces by Matisse, Miró, Derain or Cézanne that were part of the artist's own collection.

Interesting details

  • Hours: M, X, J and V from 11:30 to 18:00, S, D and holidays 9:30 to 18:00
  • Closing days: Monday
  • Recommended duration of the visit: One hour
  • How to get there: Le Marais area, St Paul metro station

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7. Museum of the Great War

World War I Uniforms| ©John Coster
World War I Uniforms| ©John Coster

You have to move away from the center of Paris to see this museum dedicated to the First World War, but if you are particularly interested in this part of history will be worth buying the ticket to the Museum of the Great War, being able to see a total of 70,000 objects and historical documents.

The collection began thanks to a private historian, Jean-Pierre Verney, who was gathering for 50 years the objects that were later bought by the community of Pays de Meaux, which currently houses the museum. One of the advantages of this museum is that it is adapted so that children can also visit it and, in an interactive way, learn a little more about this important period in the history of Europe.

Details of interest

  • Hours: From 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Closing days: Tuesday
  • Recommended duration of visit: One hour
  • How to get there: Outside Paris (Meaux)

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8. Wine Museum

Subway cellar
Subway cellar

Not all the works of art in Paris are exhibited on a pedestal or a frame. The cultural legacy of the city is also something worth admiring and within this legacy is framed the French wine tradition. In this museum you will learn more about wine, its production and its importance in the French capital. The entrance to the Wine Museum also includes wine tasting.

The wine museum is located in the surroundings of the Eiffel Tower and its galleries are built on the old quarries of Passy.

Details of interest

  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00
  • Closing days: Monday and Sunday
  • Recommended duration of the visit: One hour
  • How to get there: Quartier Chaillot area, metro Passy

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9. Les Invalides (Musée de l'Armée)

Tomb of Napoleon| ©Dennis Jarvis
Tomb of Napoleon| ©Dennis Jarvis

France is a country that places great importance on its military history whose achievements are embodied in the figure of Napoleon. On a visit to the Musée des Invalides, located in the hotel of the same name, you will learn about the European political landscape while viewing the collection of armor, war paintings, weapons and other objects related to the French Revolution and World War II.

The visit also includes the Dome Church where Napoleon's tomb is located.

Interesting details

  • Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Closing days: Some holidays
  • Recommended duration of the visit: One and a half hour
  • How to get there: Les Invalides area, metro Invalides

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10. Montmartre Museum

Montmartre Museum Room| ©Shadowgate
Montmartre Museum Room| ©Shadowgate

Impressionist painter Auguste Renoir lived in what is now the Montmartre Museum, which is why the stunning gardens surrounding the museum (overlooking a secret vineyard) still bear his name. This museum is dedicated to nostalgia; nostalgia divided between Renoir's life and the essence of the Montmartre neighborhood that inspired the artist during one of the most relevant artistic periods of his career.

In the Montmartre museum the most important thing is not the works of art (which are also there) but the history of a neighborhood and an era, the history of the artistic bohemia of Paris. If you fell in love with the stories of this place and those who inhabited it, I recommend you to visit the Montmartre Museum and take some time to assimilate all that this museum has to tell you.

Interesting details

  • Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
  • Closing days: Some holidays
  • Recommended duration of the visit: One and a half hour
  • How to get there: Montmartre area, metro Abbesses

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11. Petit Palais Museum

Petit Palais| ©Edgardo W. Olivera
Petit Palais| ©Edgardo W. Olivera

The Petit Palais building, at the beginning of the Avenue des Champs Elysées, houses works of art ranging from antiquity to the early twentieth century and is known as the Museum of Fine Arts of the city of Paris.

Admission to the permanent collection is free, but the most interesting in this museum are the temporary exhibitions. It is also advisable to take a look at the building itself and walk through the placid central garden.

Interesting details

  • Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Closing days: Mondays and some holidays
  • Recommended duration of visit: One hour
  • How to get there: Champs-Elysées area, metro station Champs-Elysées Clemenceau

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12. Grevin Museum (Wax Museum)

Figure of Albert Einstein, Grevin Museum| ©Vijay Krishna
Figure of Albert Einstein, Grevin Museum| ©Vijay Krishna

All major cities have a wax museum in which are represented the great personalities that are part of the history of the city. Paris was not going to be less and also in his case, the wax museum (Grevin Museum) is quite successful and enlivened with the show you'll find in the Mirage Gallery.

Ryan Gosling, Marilyn Monroe, Louis XIV or Mozart are some of the figures represented in the museum. This is one of the most fun visits to do with the family, but I recommend booking tickets to the Grevin Museum in advance to avoid the queues that form at the entrance.

Interesting details

  • Hours: M, T, T, Th, Th and F from 10:00 to 18:00, S and Sun from 9:30 to 19:00
  • Closing days: Some holidays
  • Recommended duration of the visit: One and a half hour
  • How to get there: Quartier de L'Opéra area, metro Richelieu Drouot

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13. Museum of Illusions

Optical effect| ©Fran Parra Carrión
Optical effect| ©Fran Parra Carrión

In this museum you are not going to see works of art nor are you going to learn history. In this museum you will have a good time and you will be amazed at what your own senses can deceive you. The museum of illusions is, as its name suggests, focused on optical phenomena and intellectual challenges.

This experience, which can also be enjoyed in cities such as New York, Shanghai, Toronto or Dubai, is ideal to share with friends or children. If you want to take a break between visits on your trip to Paris, book your tickets to the Museum of Illusions and enjoy a different experience.

Interesting details

  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 20:00
  • Closing days: Saturdays and Sundays
  • Recommended duration of visit: One hour
  • How to get there: Beauborg and Les Halles area, metro Étienne Marcel

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14. Chocolate Museum

Chocolate, bars and cocoa| ©Tetiana Bykovets
Chocolate, bars and cocoa| ©Tetiana Bykovets

You'd better not go to this museum hungry, because you run the risk of getting a sugar rush. The visit to the Chocolate Museum in Paris includes a tasting of all the chocolate you want and will help you learn about the history of what is one of the most reputable treats in France and, of course, its manufacture.

With a one and a half hour audio-guided tour that you can book online, your mouth will be watering during this visit.

Interesting details

  • Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Closing days: New Year and Christmas
  • Recommended duration of the visit: One and a half hour
  • How to get there: Quartier de L'Opéra area, Grands Boulevards subway station

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15. Carnavalet Museum

Courtyard of the Carnavalet Museum
Courtyard of the Carnavalet Museum

There are gastronomic museums, museums of works of art, museums of the history of those who inhabited the city, war museums... Of course, there had to be one that tells the evolution of the city of Paris itself from its birth to the present day.

This is the Carnavalet Museum, is located in the Marais district and houses all kinds of works of art, models, furniture and other objects related to the history of the French capital. A recommended visit for all those who are curious to know how the City of Light has become what it is today.

Interesting details

  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
  • Closing days: Monday
  • Recommended duration of visit: One hour
  • How to get there: Le Marais area, metro St Paul

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16. Palais de Tokyo

Palais de Tokyo Exhibition| ©Chiara
Palais de Tokyo Exhibition| ©Chiara

Don't let the name confuse you; in this museum you won't learn about the history of Japan, but you will still experience key pieces of modern and contemporary art similar to those at the Pompidou Museum. The Palais de Tokyo houses a smaller collection than its big brother, but equally interesting.

The Palais de Tokyo museum flees from the traditional to become a center of artistic creation in which the visual arts, fashion or music have a place. One of the most original and necessary visits for those art lovers looking for something new and out of the norm.

Interesting details

  • Opening hours: Every day from 12:00 to 23:55
  • Closing days: Tuesday
  • Recommended duration of visit: One hour
  • How to get there: Quartier Chaillot area, metro Léna

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17. Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art, Paris| ©Fred Romero
Museum of Modern Art, Paris| ©Fred Romero

The access to the permanent collection of this museum, in one of the wings of the Palais de Tokyo, is free. The Museum of Modern Art focuses on the painting of the twentieth century and therefore in the currents such as surrealism, Dadaism, Fauvism and Cubism of artists such as Modigliani, Picasso, Matisse and Braque.

The Museum of Modern Art usually goes unnoticed by most, but I assure you that it is worth a visit.

Interesting details

  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, Thursday until 22:00
  • Closing days: Monday
  • Recommended duration of visit: One hour
  • How to get there: Quartier Chaillot area, metro Léna

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Paris Museum Pass

If you are a museum lover and after reading this list you already have several on your travel plan, I recommend you invest in the Paris Museum Pass, a city pass that includes free admission without queues to all museums for 2, 4 or 6 consecutive days depending on the mode you choose.

Organize yourself according to the time you have to see the city (the museum offer is only a part of what there is to see in Paris), the size of the museums you want to see and the areas in which each one is located. Once you have this clear, I think the Paris Museum Pass can compensate you if there are several museums on your list to see during your visit.

Ana's Traveller Tip

In Paris, museums are usually closed on Monday or Tuesday. Keep this in mind when planning your visit.

19. Other attractions

If in addition to the cultural offer that Paris has to offer, you feel like completing your visit to the City of Light with some other more relaxed attraction, a good icing on the cake is always to climb the Eiffel Tower and enjoy the incredible views of the city from the top. I leave you this article I have written about Eiffel Tower Tickets: how to buy and prices so you can read all the details you need to know when planning your visit.

If on the other hand you feel like relaxing while you see the most incredible buildings of the city, taking a cruise on the Seine will be a great option. I have also written a guide on Seine River Cruises in Paris to tell you everything you need. Bon voyage!