There are so many wonderful museums in Paris that it can be overwhelming when you start to plan your trip. How can I see them all? (Hint: you probably can’t!) Which one to go to first? How do I prioritize? Which is best? So much art, so little time. Even after going to Paris several times, I haven’t seen them all, but I’ll try to help guide you on how to choose the best experience for you.
ICONIC “MUST SEE” MUSEUMS
- Louvre Museum https://www.louvre.fr/en go at opening time, enter through Port de Lions entrance and go directly to the Mona Lisa-you can see from the picture below that we got a clear shot of her when we visited. You could spend a week at the Louvre and not see everything. Based on how much time you have there, prioritize what you want to see and go for it! You can book a guided tour or wander aimlessly like we like to do.
- Musee de l’Orangerie https://www.musee-orangerie.fr/en We went here to see the large, curved Monet paintings (8 of them at this museum-see one below). If you love Monet, this is a “must see” stop for you. More info:
- The Musée de l’Orangerie (English: Orangery Museum) is an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located in the west corner of the Tuileries Garden next to the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The museum is most famous as the permanent home of eight large Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet, and also contains works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Sisley, Chaïm Soutine, Maurice Utrillo, and others. (Wikipedia)
- Musee d’Orsay https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en Wear your walking shoes because this place is HUGE and there is so much to see. Again, prioritize your visit based on the top art you want to see or plan to spend days here to see it all. Go to the beautiful cafe, rest between seeing different floors and take a picture of the famous clock-see below. More info:
- It is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and van Gogh. (Wikipedia)
SMALLER, “SEE IT ALL IN ONE DAY” MUSEUMS
- Musee Picasso https://www.museepicassoparis.fr/en/ is located in the heart of the Marais, one of my favorite neighborhoods. This museum is an art-filled oasis in a beautiful mansion with a courtyard cafe. Heaven! What I really appreciated was the pictures and stories about the artist himself. I’ve always enjoyed his art, but I never knew much about the man behind the art. I also love goats and there was quite the collection his goat art on display! More info:
- The museum collection includes more than 5,000 works of art (paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, prints, engravings and notebooks) and tens of thousands of archived pieces from Picasso’s personal repository, including the artist’s photographic archive, personal papers, correspondence, and author manuscripts. A large portion of items were donated by Picasso’s family after his death, in accord with the wishes of the artist, who lived in France from 1905 to 1973. (Wikipedia)
- Musee Rodin has both outdoor gardens with sculptures and an inside art museum https://www.musee-rodin.fr/en Definitely plan a visit here on a sunny day so you can walk the gardens and enjoy the fabulous sculptures in their natural setting. More info:
- While living in the Villa des Brillants, Auguste Rodin used the Hôtel Biron as his workshop from 1908, and subsequently donated his entire collection of sculptures – along with paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir that he had acquired – to the French State on the condition that they turn the buildings into a museum dedicated to his works. The Musée Rodin contains most of Rodin’s significant creations, including The Thinker, The Kiss and The Gates of Hell. Many of his sculptures are displayed in the museum’s extensive garden. The museum includes a room dedicated to the works of Camille Claudel and one of the two castings of The Mature Age.The gardens around the museum building contain many of the famous sculptures in natural settings. Behind the museum building are a small lake and casual restaurant. Additionally, the nearby Métro stop, Varenne, features some of Rodin’s sculptures on the platform. The building is served by Métro (Line 13), RER (Line C: Invalides) and bus (69, 82, 87, 92). (Wikipedia)
Musee Marmottan Monet showcases all Monet all the time https://www.marmottan.fr/en/ and is the perfect museum for the Monet superfan, which I am. We went to his home in Giverny on another Paris trip-see separate blog post on that adventure! This museum flies under the tourist radar. The day we visited we were one of the few visitors, allowing us to sit (yes-there are benches!) and just soak in the panorama of Monet art. My husband took the panorama shot below of the empty gallery when we got there-Monet all to ourselves.
OTHER MUSEUMS THAT I HAVEN’T VISITED-YET ANOTHER REASON I NEED TO GO BACK TO PARIS SOON!
- Montmartre Museum Organisation d’évènement au Musée de Montmartre à Paris (museedemontmartre.fr)
- Dior museum for fashion lovers https://www.galeriedior.com/en
- Jardin des Plantes museum and so much more! Galleries, Gardens, Zoo, Libraries | Galleries, Gardens, Zoo – Jardin des Plantes (jardindesplantesdeparis.fr)
- Musee des Arts Forains entertainment and fairground arts Museum show – Les Pavillons de Bercy (arts-forains.com)
- Musee de l’Armee Invalides military history and art Home – Army Museum (musee-armee.fr)
- Musee Jacquemart-Andre private mansion and art collection Musée Jacquemart-André – Official site – managed by Culturespaces, Paris (musee-jacquemart-andre.com)
- Musee de Cluny medieval art Cluny Museum | National Museum of the Middle Ages Paris (musee-moyenage.fr)
- Dali Museum https://www.daliparis.com/en/
- National Archives https://www.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/fr/web/guest/musee;jsessionid=5EB74A704DC980B42D1FA0FFFA8C84B2
- Musee Carnavalet https://www.carnavalet.paris.fr/en
- Petit Palais https://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en
We love to wander the streets of Paris and look for street art, whether it’s a mural or artistically hung umbrellas. Make sure you allow enough time to see this type of art. Enjoy the journey!