Paris and the Louvre are synonimous with one another but there is so much more to see. Entire museums dedicated to Rodin, Monet and Picasso outside the Louvre.
This post is dedicated to the Top Museums in Paris.
What this article covers
Top 9 Museums in Paris
Wikipedia boasts that Paris has 130 museums from the Arab World Institute to the Louvre & Musée d’Orsay to a museum created by the Louis Vuitton Company – yep, the expensive bags!
Needless to say, the French really like art and culture. They didn’t invent it but they definitely elevate it and preserve it. Here is a list of Paris’ top museums that you should see over the course of a few visits.
1. The Louvre Museum
The Louvre is the largest museum on Earth boasting more than 380,000 works of art in a gallery that is 652,300 sq ft (60,600 sq meters). It is considered amongst many historians as the greatest collection of art on Earth.
The Louvre, or la Louvre, is famous for many works of art including the Mona Lisa and the famous pyramid entrance which was added to this beautiful complex in the 1980s. The meaning of the word “Louvre” is loosely related to a type of old window. Yep!
Address: Rue de Rivoli (1st arrondissement)
For more info on tickets, hours, artworks and facts, read our other articles specifically on the Louvre:
- Visiting the Louvre: Everything You Need to Know to Plan
- Top 10 Things to See in the Louvre Museum, Paris (Map + Video)
- Best Guided tours of the Louvre
- Restaurants near the Louvre
2. Musée d’Orsay
This museum is located conveniently just across the river from the Louvre which makes it easy to find. Its history goes far beyond its artwork. Its former name was Gare d’Orsay or the Orsay Train station and most of the architecture is remaining from the original structure. The train station was famous for being the first electrified urban train station in the world when it was inaugurated in the year 1900.
The museum is host to 80,000+ works of art mostly dating from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century. It has a really cool layout and is a bit easier and is much less intimidating than it’s older sibling the Louvre. You’ll find far fewer crowds in this gallery.
Does it deserve a visit or a tour? It is one of the greatest art collections on Earth, but it may not warrant a visit on your first trip with so much to see in Paris unless you have 4+ days and a ton of energy. If you have a time-slot of 2 to 3 hours, you should definitely visit it. Like any museum, the works of art need to be brought to life by a local licensed guide.
Address: 1 Rue de la Legion d’Honneur (7th arrondissement)
For more info on tickets, hours, artworks and facts, read our other articles specifically on the Musée d’Orsay:
3. Rodin Museum
Auguste Rodin remains the most famous French sculpture to date. He is most famous for his sculpture The Thinker which is located at the Rodin Museum in Paris, France.
The museum is located next to Invalides metropolitan station. It consists of a garden with two structures on it. The first is Boutique du musée Rodin which is basically a gift shop and cafe.
Then there is the Mansion which is the main structure which is named Hôtel Biron. The name was due to the structure being sold to a very wealthy individual by the name Louis-Antoine de Gontaut-Biron. Hence, Hôtel Biron.
The mansion sits in a large well-manicured garden dotted with various sculptures created by the master himself. There are also works from other artists including Rodin’s prize student Camille Claudel.
There are over 6000 sculptures in the collection but many are housed off-site. You will find The Thinker outside in the garden.
This museum is a wonderful visit with a local guide.
Address: 77 Rue de Verenne
Hours: 10am – 6:30pm (Closed Mondays)
For more info on tickets, hours, artworks and facts, read our other articles specifically on the Rodin Museum:
- Top Things to See in Rodin Museum, Paris.
4. Musée de l’Orangerie
When you think Paris you definitely think Louvre and Versailles. You may think Musée d’Orsay. When someone mentions Rodin Museum people normally say, “Oh yea, I forget about that one.” Well, if you didn’t study art you probably never heard of l’Orangerie Museum but you definitely know who Claude Monet is.
Monet’s Water Lillies installation is not the only thing to see in the l’Orangerie Museum but it is definitely the highlight. It probably would not qualify as an “art installation” by today’s measures but at the time it was painted (1918 post-WWI armistice) it was the only installation.
The term didn’t even fully exist at the time and wasn’t used in popular art culture until the 1950s.
Regardless, Musée de l’Orangerie is one of my personal favorite museums to visit in Paris for a few reasons.
- Tickets are cheap 6€
- You won’t find thick crowds
- Easy to pop in after your post-Louvre lunch (check out restaurant recs near Louvre)
Address: Jardin Tuileries (1st arrondissement – opposite of Tuileries Garden from the Louvre)
For more info on tickets, hours, artworks and facts, read our other articles specifically on the Musée de l’Orangerie:
- # Things to See inside Musée de l’Orangerie Paris, France (coming soon)
5. Paris Museum of Modern Art
Been to Paris so many times and you are way too cool for the Louvre? I have the museum for you. Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris or MAM Paris.
This is a pretty cool collection that you can pass through on your own possibly after a cocktail and before seeing the Eiffel Tower. It has a few huge works of art and a ton of other eye-grabbers. Give it an online search and I think you’ll be convinced.
The Paris Modern Art Museum is technically free to visit but they ask a non-mandatory donation of 5€ to see the permanent artwork.
This museum is also great for exhibitions. They charge between 7€ to 13€ for different exhibitions. Promoting this museum is part of our “20th Century Medici” program to promote the curation and creation of art for future generations. While we love and appreciate classical art, one day our art will be classical in a sense and it won’t compare without our support.
Address: 11 Avenue du Président Wilson (4th Arrondissement – near Eiffel Tower)
For more info on tickets, hours, artworks and facts, read our other articles specifically on the Paris Museum of Modern Art:
- Top # Things to See at Paris Museum of Modern Art
6. Musée National Picasso-Paris
Yes, Pablo Picasso is Spanish, not French. That said, like most artists, he loved Paris and Paris loved him back. Paris loved him so much he has a museum named after him. The Picasso Museum is in Hôtel Salé which is tucked into Le Marais district of Paris.
The museum is host to thousands of Picasso works in all forms of media from painting to ceramics. Unlike the Rodin Museum that contains works from many artists, the Picasso Museum keeps its collection closely tied to the master.
Yes, there are works by others, but mostly artists copying, mocking or paying tribute to Picasso. The museum also features newspaper clippings and other historic items to form a sort of chronological timeline of Picasso’s 70 years of dedication to the evolution of art. Tickets cost 12€ but can vary when the museum takes on an exhibition.
Address: 5 Rue de Thorigny (3rd arrondissiment)
Hours: 11am – 9pm (closed Mondays)
For more info on tickets, hours, artworks and facts, read our other articles specifically on the Musée National Picasso-Paris:
- # Must See Things at Picasso Museum (Coming Soon)
7. Musée Marmottan Monet
Similar to the Picasso Museum, the Monet Museum is mostly about Monet. It is the proud home of over 300 paintings by Claude Monet including one of the most influential paintings of the Impressionist movement, Impression, Sunrise. According to scholars is the epoch painting and namesake of the Impressionist Movement.
You will also find Nympheas and many other works of art by the master. The museum is only what it is today thanks to Michel Monet’s, 2nd born son and heir, famous donation of his father’s remaining works of art. Instead of allowing the works to enter the private world, Michel left them to the state of France to be memorialized. An extremely French thing to do.
If you have been to Paris a few times or love Monet, this museum is a must. Admissions will run you from 8€ – 12€.
Address: 2 Rue Louis Boilly (16th arrondissement near Metro station La Muette – line 9)
Hours: 11am – 7 pm (closed Mondays)
For more info on tickets, hours, artworks and facts, and one of the coolest robbery stories ever you should read our other articles specifically on the Musée Marmottan Monet:
- # Things You Shouldn’t Miss in the Monet Museum, Paris
8. Louis Vuitton Foundation
The architecture of this building alone is worth the drive-by. If you thought you were cool for going to the Paris Modern Art Museum, now you are in a completely new league.
The building alone, designed by renowned architect Frenk Gehry, is worth a visit. Once inside, you’ll find mostly modern art and very elaborate art installations. You’ll find works of art by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ellsworth Kelly, Olafur Eliasson, Gilbert & George, Jeff Koons, and many others.
Due to the elaborate and innovative architecture, the building finds itself home to many Parisian events including the occasional Louis Vuitton fashion show (2015)
The admission ticket to get inside is 14€ but they offer reduced prices for youths and family discounts.
Address: 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi (16th arrondissement)
For more info on tickets, hours, artworks and facts, architectural concept and all the dramatics that riddled this building’s opening you should read our other articles specifically on the Louis Vuitton Foundation:
- Dramatic Opening and Top # Things to See at the Louis Vuitton Foundation
9. The Palace of Versailles
The palace of Versailles is so incredibly rich with history that it is a must-see while in Paris. It is a short ride on the RER and a 10-minute walk to the golden gates of Versailles.
It is one of the greatest destinations to visit in France and the world due to how diverse of a location it is. Not only is the museum (palace) full of art. and history but the gardens are immense. Most people that visit don’t see a tenth of the estate.
Address: Place d’Armes, Versailles
For more info on tickets, hours, artworks and facts, read our other articles specifically on the Château de Versailles:
Paris is the capital of France and home to over 2 million people in the 35 sq mile city (87 sq km). The Seine river splits the city into two sections, the Right Bank and the Left Bank with two islands, île Saint -Louis & Île de la Cité. It is a relatively flat city with two more elevated areas, Montmartre and Belleville which are home to fabulous views!