The Best Museums in Paris

From the most popular galleries to the hip hideaways you have never heard of, we point you in the right direction for top Parisian museums.

Paris is known for having some of the most impressive museums and cultural institutions in the world. Centuries upon centuries of gorgeous artwork and important historical artifacts are on display within the walls of the many world-class museums in this city.

If you are an art and history lover, what museums in Paris should you make sure to visit during your stay? Let’s take a closer look at some of the best museums that Paris has to offer:

The Louvre

Of course, the most obvious item on this list is the Louvre Museum, the oldest and largest museum in the city. It was constructed in the 12th century as a fortress and was used as a royal residence over the centuries, then converted in the late 1700s into a museum. It is now home to over 35,000 different incredible treasures, including some of the most significant artwork in the world.

The most famous piece on display there is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, but there are many other priceless works at the Louvre as well. There’s the iconic Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the enormous epic painting The Raft of the Medusa by Theodore Gericault, and many more. Make sure you allow for plenty of time during your visit to Paris to enjoy this enormous gallery.

Musee d’Orsay

Another one of the best museums in Paris is the Musee d’Orsay, located within a stunning former railway station on the left bank of the Seine. It is home to the biggest collection of Impressionist artwork in the world, including art by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, and many more. The museum also hosts many major temporary exhibitions throughout the year, as well as exciting special events.

The best way to avoid the crowds when visiting this very famous museum is to visit during the low season from November to March on a weekday. The lines will be shorter, and you’ll have much more time to enjoy each of the amazing artworks. Also, you can buy tickets ahead of time online so that you can avoid the queue. You may even want to take the Orsay Masterpiece Tour, which will provide you with a 1.5-hour overview of the permanent collections that the museum has to offer.

Centre Pompidou

The exposed piping and bright colors of the Centre Pompidou make it one of the most unusual buildings in Paris. It houses an eclectic collection of contemporary art – the largest in Europe. Only the MoMA in New York is at the same level as a museum of modern art.

The museum takes you on a journey through modern art, including the Fauvism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, and much more. You’ll get up close and personal with some incredibly iconic works from this period, including artwork by Braque, Duchamp, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Dali, Magritte, Pollock, and Rothko. When you are done viewing the collection, you can take a trip up to the top floor and enjoy a stunning view over Paris.

Chantilly

The incredible Chateau de Chantilly is slightly outside of Paris, but it is certainly worth the trip. It is home to the Musee du Conde, which is one of the largest and most significant collections of French art other than the Louvre.

You can get there by catching a train from Paris Gare de Nord and getting off at the Chantilly Gouvieux Station. From there, catch the bus called “Le Chateau.”

The Chateau is simply stunning, with fairytale turrets, elegant gardens, and large sprawling fields. Within the collection of the museum, there are several priceless artworks and manuscripts, once owned by Henri d’Orleans (the son of King Louis-Philippe). The unique interior of this castle looks pretty much the same as it would have during the 1800s, giving you the feeling of stepping back in time.

Versailles

The Chateau of Versailles is only a 40-minute train ride from Paris, and it offers an incredible opportunity to learn about French history and experience the wealth and elegance of the Louis XIV era.

This Chateau has been turned into a museum. During your visit, you can wander through room after room of pure opulence. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the finest achievements of the French art of the 17th century. It is also one of the most visited sites of culture and history on the planet.

The best way to visit Versailles is to purchase a ticket in advance online. You’ll be able to join the line for advance ticket holders, which is much shorter than the line for buying tickets on site. Do your best to be there at 9 a.m. when the palace opens, so that you will have time to see it before the crowds start to peak.

If the weather is nice, bring along some food for a picnic. There’s nothing quite like dining on the grass of the beautiful gardens while admiring the chateau and the exquisite fountains.

What are your favorite museums in Paris? Contact us and we may add yours to the list and give you credit in the article!