The 5 Best Museums in Paris
Paris may be the city of love, but when you’re checking off a cultural bucket list it’s also the city of unmissable, world-class museums. To save yourself time and money purchase the Paris Museum Pass upon your arrival. It’ll give you free, express access to the infamous museums and galleries listed below (plus more)...
At the top of the list is no surprise, inarguably Paris’ best museum, and the world’s largest, is The Louvre. No trip to Paris is truly complete without a seeing the Mona Lisa, Aphrodite, or Une Odalisque, however the museum itself is a sight to explore. From the famed clear pyramids at its entrance, to it’s maze-like layout, the Louvre has an astounding collection of pre-20th century paintings, sculptures, drawings, and artefacts. For a truly unique experience, visit the gallery in the evening, exploring its labyrinth of masterpieces from a different, quieter perspective.
Where the Louvre ends, the Musée d’Orsay begins. This former railway station houses an impressive collection of work produced between 1848 and 1914. With the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, the museum is home to works by Delacroix, Manet, Pissarro, Monet, Van Gogh and many more. It’s famed upper levels received a serious facelift in 2011, including a €24-million renovation and are worth checking out. Close to the Louvre and The Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Orsay makes an afternoon of gallery hopping convenient, and is a must-see in Paris.
With it’s exposed pipes, air ducts and inside out structure, the Centre Pompidou is a well known Parisian sight in itself. Two floors of the museum are dedicated to France’s Musée National d’Art Moderne, with 65,000-plus pieces of modern art, ranging from surrealist to pop art. It is the only museum in the world which offers a complete view on the 20th and 21st century art. This historical journey begins with the founding fathers of modern art; Matisse, Ernst, Warhol, and more, and carries on to the latest contemporary artists. The museums 6th floor also has sweeping views of the city, making the Centre Pompidou is an unmissable art experience.
Monet’s infamous water lilies find a home at Musée de l'Orangerie. His wall expanding and stunning paintings cements the space on Paris’ best list museum, as these works are best experienced in the flesh. Tucked away in the heart of Paris, close to it’s big brother, Musée d’Orsay. The space also features 144 works from the Walter-Guillaume Collection. Soft and inspiring, Musée de l'Orangerie, is well worth a visit when exploring galleries in Paris.
Located a short distance from the Lourve and Musée d’Orsay, Musée National Picasso is found in the historic Marais quartier. Housing an unrivaled collection of 5000 creative works, 200,000 personal documents and 150 pieces from Picasso’s private collection, including Matisse, Le Douanier, Rousseau, and more. It's entrance is slightly hidden (see pictures) as it rests amongst the iconic white brick buildings of the quartier. This museum transports its patrons into the mind of Picasso and demonstrates why the artist was so compelled and inspired by the city.
Article and photos by Alice Dundon - a Berlin based editorial freelance journalist with a strong focus on travel, culture and social-impact pieces. For more follow her on twitter @AliceDundon.