In Paris, there are more than 130 museums, some of which are revealing the history of Paris while some others brought masterpieces of the world together.
However, if you will spend only few days in Paris, it is difficult to make your choice and pick among this large amount of cultural places.
This is why we created this list of the TOP 30 museums to visit in Paris. Thanks to this list, you will be able to pick your favorite places and create your own discovery.
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1. Louvre Museum
Famously known as the world’s largest art museum, with almost 10 million visitors annually, the Louvre Museum is one of the main attractions bringing people from around the world to Paris. The Louvre's giant collection presents thousands of objects, spanning from prehistory to the modern times.
The building was constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries and was originally the Louvre Palace. It has functioned as both a fortress and home to multiple kings and royal individuals. It wasn’t until the French Revolution that the building was officially converted into a museum by the National Assembly, in which to display the collection of masterpieces belonging to the nation.
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2. Orsay Museum
This gorgeous museum is home to mostly French art from the period between from 1848 to 1914. The Orsay Museum is known as the largest display of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works and visitors can admire the paintings, photography, sculpture and furniture which make up the collection.
The former train station building sets a perfect stage for this Mecca of Modern Art. Some of the most famous names included here are Monet, Gauguin, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Sisley, Cézanne, Seurat and Van Gogh. Its popularity is world-famous now, as awarded multiple times as the best museum in Paris. It drew almost 4 million visitors in 2019.
Pantheon had been meant to be a church by the monarchs, but transformed into a national monument by the republican regimes back and forth several times along the 19th century. So it represents the struggle between the old and new regimes in France.
This 250-year building still stands with its neoclassic architecture and houses the graves of great figures of French nation like Emile Zola, Voltaire, Rousseau etc. Later, Madame Curie became the first woman lying in the crypt of Pantheon.
4. Picasso National Museum
Located in the Hôtel Salé is the Picasso Museum, a museum dedicated to the famous Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. The artist, born in 1881, spent a great majority of his life in France, moving in 1905 and remaining until his death in 1973. Visitors can tour more than 5,000 works belonging to his collection of paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculptures, notebooks and engravings.
There is also the opportunity to see his personal collection of photographs and manuscripts. A great amount of the collection was donated by the family of the artist, which was according to his final wishes.
5. Rodin Museum
Opened in 1919, the Rodin Museum is dedicated to the master sculptor Auguste Rodin. Visitors can tour over 6,600 sculptures, 8,000 drawings, 8,000 old photographs and 7,000 objects of art completed by the French artist.
The tranquil gardens are the real treat of the museum exhibiting "The Thinker", "The Three Shades" and "The Gates of Hell" under natural light. This Paris museum is particularly popular, with over 700,000 visitors each year. It is definitely a must-visit of Paris.
6. Orangerie Museum
Orangerie is the name of the greenhouse inside the royal gardens of the Louvre Palace. Today, the Orangerie Museum is famous for housing Claude Monet's masterpieces known as "Water Lilies". These 8 pieces are displayed in the double twin rooms and in the exact form the artist demanded while donating them to the state.
Besides those, the post-impressionist collection on the subterranean floor and the Tuileries Gardens outside would make a pleasant combination.
7. Quai Branly Museum
This museum features the cultures and art of indigenous people from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. With over a million artifacts in the collection, from photographs to documents, ethnographic objects to artwork, visitors can see over 3500 displays at any given time. The collection of Quai Branly Museum is so extensive they also lend some of their works to the Louvre, where they are on display in the Pavillon des Sessions.
8. Arts and Crafts Museum
With an English translation of its name, the Arts and Crafts Museum is Europe’s oldest science museum and an unmissable hidden treasure in Paris for people with an interest in industry and machines. This small monastery turned museum in 1794, houses a collection of tools and machines invented over the last six centuries.
The museum is divided into different innovations that fall into seven categories; Scientific Instruments, Energy, Materials, Communication, Mechanics, Construction and Transportation. The collection includes over 80,000 objects and 15,000 drawings. At any given time, there are 2,500 artifacts on display.
9. Montmartre Museum
The Montmartre Museum exhibits both the general history and artistic heritage of Montmartre Quarter in one of the oldest houses of the district, built in the 17th century. The permanent collection inside presents drawings, paintings or illustrations of famous artists who were Montmartre residents but also lived and worked right at this place. The quiet and green gardens and an actual workshop of August Renoir could give more reasons to go there.
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10. Cluny Museum
Located in the Latin Quarter, in the 5th Arrondissement, it is the Museum of the Middle Ages. It is situated in two buildings, known as the thermal baths and a mansion. The ancient baths from Roman times had been built on a 20,000 square foot area, where a medieval mansion, Hôtel de Cluny, was constructed in the 15th century.
Today, there is a nice collection of Among the many works on display are the collection of sculptures and tapestries of the Middle Ages, including the series called The Lady and the Unicorn (La Dame à la licorne).
11. Carnavalet Museum
The Carnavalet Museum reveals the history of Paris from prehistoric times to our modern day. 600 000 pieces are scattered through 100 rooms in two town houses. The collection offers a big variety including archaeological findings, models, portraits, decorative elements and historical scenes. A 4-centuries-old building in Marais neighborhood creates a perfect stage to follow the story of this unique city.
12. Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History is located inside the vast Botanical Gardens of Paris that is consisted of greenhouses, orchards, a library, a zoo and multiple galleries. It was opened in 1793 during the French Revolution. The most famous parts are the Grand Gallery of Evolution and the Children's Gallery, which make it favorable for families too.
13. Paris Museum of Modern Art
Dedicated to the modern and contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries is the Museum of Modern Art of Paris. It is located in the 16th Arrondissement and includes over 15,000 works on display, including huge murals by famed artists, Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy. In addition, every six weeks a different temporary exhibition is displayed.
14. Cinema Museum
The exhibition was formerly known as the Cinema Museum until being relocated into the Cinemateque Française Institute in 2005. The new facility was designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry.
This structure contains thousands of cameras, optic devices, decorative objects, scripts, costumes and most importantly the first moving pictures from the biggest cinema archive of the world. This museum of Paris is perfect for cinematography lovers.
15. Open Air Sculpture Museum
Located in the 5th Arrondissemnt is the open air sculpture theater, The Musée de la Sculpture en Plein Air. Opened in 1980, this free of admission museum displays works of art from the second half of the 20th century. The gardens make for a beautiful setting in which to walk and admire the wide arrangement of works by famous sculptors.
16. Victor Hugo's House
Once the home of famous writer Victor Hugo, rented from 1832 to 1848, visitors can now tour the apartment-turned-museum. The story of the writer’s life is told through displays of his furniture, works of art and personal items that either belonged to him or were created by him. The artifacts are arranged into sections, before exile, exile and after exile, based on his life’s major periods.
17. Atelier des Lumières
Dedicated to digital art, this studio is a stimulating experience for adults and children of all ages together. What was once a former iron foundry, it now functions as an almost thousand square foot museum. It was created by the foundation, Culture Spaces, which envisioned it as the city’s first center for digital art. The studio focuses on famous artists, such as Vincent van Gogh and Gustav Klimt, by projecting their art onto thirty-two-foot walls using high-end lasers.
18. Curie Museum
Formerly the laboratory of Marie Curie, this museum, establish in 1934, now functions as a historical exhibition to her discoveries. Famous for her research on radio activity, she worked here from 1914–1934, accompanied by her daughter and son-in-law Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.
Together the three received the 1935 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Located in the 5th Arrondissement, it is free to visitors, but only open from Wednesday to Saturday.
19. Museum of Science & Industry
With over 5 million visitors annually, the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie is the biggest science museum in Europe. Here visitors can tour the exhibitions which focus on science, industry and technology.
It aims to promote interest in science among the public and to educate the youth on past and present research. Some of the additional attractions found here are a submarine, a planetarium and an IMAX theater.
20. The Museum of Man
Opened in 1937, the Museum of Man is the largest anthropology museum in the city. It one of seven parts of the Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle and was originally established for the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne. It aims to exhibit all artifacts that define humanity.
The exhibitions display years of evolution, the variety in humanity, as well as the unity and the way that humans culturally and socially express themselves. It has also functioned as a research center under multiple ministries.
21. Musée des Arts Forains
For those looking to have some childish fun, The Musée des Arts Forains is a perfect option. Located in Pavillons de Bercy, this private museum is home to funfair and various fairground memorabilia.
On display are different object from the 19th and 20th centuries, which belong to the performing arts, surrounding carnivals, cabarets, and funfairs. The museum is open year-round but booking a tour is required.
22. Yves Saint Laurent Museum
For fashion lovers, a visit to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum is necessary. Opened in 2017, it has exhibitions on fabulous collections of fashion, from dresses to accessories, as well as the original sketches and photos used in the designs.
The fashion designer is one of the most famous of the 20th century, with collections made of thousands of pieces. Located in the Second Empire mansion, this was the original studio for the team of designers working under the brand for more than thirty years.
23. Nationale Archives Museum
Located in the Hôtel de Soubise, The Musée des Archives Nationales, formerly known as the Musée de l'Histoire de France focuses on the history of France.
The museum was first established in 1867 under Napoleon III but is currently owned by the state and curated by the Archives Nationales. It has a wide exhibition of government archives which teach visitors a detailed history of the evolution of the country, society and cultures.
24. Army Museum - Les Invalides
For those interested in the military history of France, the Army Museum is a must see. Located in the 7th Arrondissement, it was created in 1905 by merging the two exiting museums, Musée d'Artillerie and the Musée Historique de l'Armée, together.
The exhibitions display items from antiquity to the 20th century from anywhere in the world. So, don't be surprised if you see a samurai armors !
25. Edith Piaff's House
Known as one of France’s most famous and celebrated singer-songwriters, Edith Piaf is now memorialized in this museum, located in the 11th Arrondissement.
Visitors can tour the life of the singer, cabaret performer and film actress, and see some of her personal items on display. The two-room museum, located in a private apartment is free of charge but visitors must make an appointment.
26. Musée Eugène Delacroix
Located in the 6th Arrondissement is the Musée National Eugène Delacroix. The painter is memorialized here in his former home and studio. The house is filled with his sketches, paintings, furniture and other collected works of art.
Another interesting part is observing the private world of a remarkable Parisian artist. The visitors can also spend time in the charming garden.
27. Parfume Museum
This 19th century perfume museum, located in an old factory, is a worthwhile visit for anyone in Paris. It highlights the history of the perfume trade as well as the objects which developed around the scent.
Surveying a timeline of antiquity to the present day, the museum has displays of different items as well as informative videos. It is filled with the smell of history, character and the spirit of the city.
28. The Museum of Hunting and Nature
Located in the 3rd Arrondissement is The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. The private museum demonstrates the relationship between man and animal, and the way that humans interact with their natural environment. The exhibits focuses on current trends as well as those dating back to antiquity. On display, along with the animals, is a collection of art, furniture, tapestries, carpets and other installations of visual culture.
29. Paris Dali Museum
The World famous Surrealist artist, Salvador Dali, is given his own permanent exhibition in Paris. Visitors can view over 300 sculptures and engravings at the museum in Montmartre. On display are such renown works such as Space Elephant, Don Quixote, Alice in Wonderland, Memories of Surrealism and Moses and Monotheism. For those visiting as a family, workshops are also available for children.
30. Musée Cernuschi
This Asian art museum is home to a variety of work from countries such as Japan, Korea and China. Founded in 1989, it has the second largest collection of Asian works in the city. Located in the former home of Henri Cernuschi, it is said to be the second oldest Asian art museum in France and the fifth oldest in Europe.
The collection is composed of more than 12,500 objects with 900 of them on permanent display. Visitors can view art and artifacts which date as far back as the 3rd century BC.
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BONUS - Chocolate Museum
In this museum visitors will learn about the history of cocoa as well as witness demonstrations by chocolatiers and enjoy tastings and tours. They will learn how it evolved from its original form into the many ways that we eat it today. The museum explains the history of chocolate in French culture as well as displays different artists cups made of chocolate. However, the best part about this museum is during the tours there are no shortages of tastings !
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You are know aware of all the interesting museums to visit in Paris. Which ones would you put on your list of visits ? Let us know in the comments below !
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