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Last updated on the 25th April 2022 by Lena

 

The 16 Best Art Museums in Paris

Visiting Paris can be overwhelming because of just how much there is to do within the city. Paris is home to some of the best art museums in the world, so art lovers won’t want to miss them. The problem is, however, that visiting the famous art galleries of Paris can be time-consuming because you want to see EVERYTHING. So, we’ve put together a list of the best art museums in Paris for you to check out. 

If you are planning to visit many museums and monuments, you definitely should consider getting the Paris Museums Pass. It is financially very interesting, not only if you are traveling to Paris on a budget.

For more information on visiting art galleries and museums in Paris, such as free entrances and reservations, don’t miss the dedicated chapter at the end of this article.

 

Get the Paris Museums Pass

 

If you’re planning to visit any number of the best art galleries in Paris, here are the reasons why it’s your best bet to purchase a Paris Museum Pass:

  • Free admission to 50 museums and monuments (including Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Panthéon, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles and Sainte-Chapelle)
  • Skip-the-line bonus that saves you lots of time
  • 2, 4 or 6 days available for your flexibility
  • pays off as soon as you visit 4 museums
  • 24h full refund cancellation policy (if purchases through getyourguide.com)

To help you decide if the Paris Museum Pass is worth getting, I highlighted every museum and art gallery in the list below, that grants free admission for Paris Museum Pass holders.

 

 

The Louvre

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Get your pass here

A trip to Paris isn’t complete without visiting the Louvre. You’ve surely heard of the most famous art museum in Paris that houses the original Mona Lisa. The Louvre is home to one of the richest art collections in the world, encompassing over 11,000 years of human art and culture. 

Before becoming a museum, the Louvre was a royal palace for two centuries and underwent renovations before opening to the public. There’s a lot of ground to cover here, so if you are on a short trip, you might want to make a list of your must-see items in the Louvre. This museum could easily eat up an entire day, or even multiple days. Purchase your ticket here to save your time slot! 

one of the best art galleries in paris: The Louvre
The remarkable main entrance of the Louvre: The Glass Pyramid

 

Typically, visitors will want to make sure they get a view of Davinci’s Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo statue. There are more than 30,000 works of art housed in the Louvre, covering everything from the Greeks and Romans to displays of the French crown jewels. 

If you don’t have time to go inside the Louvre, you’ll want to make sure you at least visit the pyramids in the courtyard. These metal and glass structures grace the front of many postcards and make a great photo opportunity. Stop by at night to see them illuminated, and get some great Instagram pics. 


 

Musée d’Orsay

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Get yours here

The Musee d’Orsay is located inside a converted Belle Epoque railway station. This museum is for the fans of impressionism and is home to works by Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. Be prepared to spend a while at this museum to take it all in. There is a two-hour guided tour to ensure you don’t miss the important items, or you can make your own list and go at your own pace. 

The Musée d’Orsay has late openings on Thursday nights and is as well a good place to visit in Paris at night.

Important things to see are Van Gogh’s self-portrait, Monet’s Coqulicots (Poppies) and Renoir’s la Balancoire (The Swing.)

 

One of the best museums in Paris: The Musée d'Orsay
The Musée d’Orsay sits in a beautiful old railway station

 

If you are not a holder of the Paris Museum’s Pass, I advise purchasing a ticket for the Musée d’Orsay here in advance. They come at the same price as at the official ticket booth but are refundable.

Are you interested in visiting both of the significant Impressionist museums of Paris, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Musée de l’Orangerie? Buying this bundle and save some Euros.


Picasso Museum

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Get your pass here

The Picasso Museum is dedicated to the artist and is home to his private collection. In fact, it’s the largest public Picasso collection in the world, making it one of the best art galleries in Paris. Here you can enjoy over 5000 works from Picasso himself and the artists he loved. It’s an intimate setting that allows you to feel like you’re viewing the artwork that Picasso kept closest to himself.

This museum was made possible by donations from Picassos’ heirs. His wishes were for his collection to be displayed by the State. You can visit the collection in the private mansion in the Marais. Click here for your tickets.

What Not to Miss:

  • Make sure to admire the building’s architecture 
  • Olga in an Armchair 
  • The Kiss 
  • The Archives
  • Picasso’s Drawings 
one of the most famous art gallery in paris and the worlds biggest picasso museum
The Picasso Museum in Paris enchants you with the world’s largest Picasso collection

 

Musée National Rodin

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Get your pass here

Opened in 1919, the Musee National Rodin is dedicated to the work of sculptor Auguste Rodin. It’s located in the Hotel Biron. If you’re a sculpture fan, you cannot miss this museum. There are around 400 pieces of artwork in this art museum in Paris. There are also extensive galleries and lovely gardens surrounding the building. It’s all gorgeous. 

The Musee National Rodin is located very close to the Eiffel Tower, so it will be easy to access on the day you are visiting the Eiffel Tower.  Must-sees at the Rodin: 

  • The Thinker 
  • The Kiss 
  • The Walking Man 
  • The Age of Bronze
The Rodin Museum in Paris, on of the best art museums in Paris
“The Thinker”, Rodin’s most famous sculpture

Hotel Marine

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Get your Paris Museums Pass here

Located in Place de la Concorde, this historical building was built between 1757 and 1774. Hotel Marine is considered a national monument and is a great piece of Parisian history.

The monument was under restoration for around four years and just opened back up to the public in the summer of 2021. Take yourself back in time by viewing the courtyard where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were both beheaded.

You’ll be overwhelmed with the beautiful architecture housed here, along with the rich history. There are also incredible views of the Eiffel Tower to be seen at Hotel Marine.

Tip: If your schedule is too tight to visit the Castle of Versailles, the Hotel Marine is a valid alternative because it’s the same style as the castle. Use this link to purchase your ticket.


Musée Carnavalet

No Paris Museums Pass needed – it’s one of the admission free Museums of Paris

This art museum in Paris is dedicated to the history of the city. Musee Carnavalet also claims to be the oldest museum in all of Paris. If you’re interested in learning what Paris is all about, this museum is for you. There’s an extensive painting collection celebrating Parisian artists, and you can easily kill an entire afternoon here. 

The Musee Carnavalet is home to about 615,000 artifacts that tell the story of Paris with around 26,000 paintings, 20k drawings, and 150k photographs. You can visit the main exhibit of this art gallery in Paris for free, as it’s one of the 16 municipally managed museums. 

Do you want to more ideas on what to do in Paris for free? Check this guide.

So come visit to take a trip down Paris memory lane and learn about Roman and Medieval times, the French Revolution, and even Prehistoric times. 


Musée Jaquemart-André

Click here to purchase your skip-the-line ticket

Now, this is a famous art gallery in Paris that is a little different than most. When you visit Musee Jaquemart-Andre, you’re getting to enjoy the personal collection of bank heir Edouard Andre and his wife Nélie Jacquemart. Visiting this art museum in Paris gives you an intimate look into a personal collection of work and souvenirs the couple collected over their lifetime. 

The museum is not large and is inside the home the couple shared when they weren’t traveling. Most of the artwork you’ll find here is from during the Italian Renaissance. It’s located in the 8th Arrondissement of Paris. Must-see works:

  • The Toilet of Venus and Sleeping Venus 
  • Piazza San Marco
  • Louis XV Desk 
  • The Flight Into Egypt 

Musée de l’Orangerie

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Order your Museums Pass here

The Musee de l’Orangerie is an impressionist and post-impressionist art gallery in Paris. Those who are fans of Monet should definitely add this one to their must-see list. It’s a pretty small museum, so you could pair it with a larger one to fill up your day. 

Monet water lily murals in the Musée de l'Orangerie
The famous murals of Monet in the Orangerie Museum in Paris

The building was originally built to protect the orange trees in the winter, hence the interesting name. It wore many hats before becoming the museum it is today, such as a home for musical events and other exhibitions. 

You could spend a while here if you like, but the work you absolutely cannot miss is Monet’s Water Lillies murals. You’ll also find works by Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Renoir here. If you’re short on time, certainly stop in to see Water Lillies if nothing else. 

Click this link to save some Euros when buying your Orangerie Ticket in a bundle with the Musée d’Orsay.


Musée Marmottan Monet

Click here to for tickets to the largest collection of Monet’s masterpieces

After you take in the beauty of the Water Lillies murals, Monet fans will want to head over to the Musee Marmottan Monet. Here you’ll find over 300 Monet paintings under one roof.

What more could a Monet fan ask for, except of course a visit at his source of inspiration, his gardens in Giverny? One of the best art galleries in Paris is made possible by donations from Monet’s only heir, his second son, Michael. When you visit, be sure not to miss Sunrise, done in 1872.

This museum is located in the 16th Arrondissement near the Louis Vuitton Foundation, so you could pair them together and make a day of that area. Use this link to buy your tickets hassle-free. 


 

Musée du Quai Branly – Jaques Chirac

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Get the Museums Pass or buy your individual ticket here 

So far, we’ve covered many museums in Paris that revolve around impressionism. A visit to Musee du Quai Branly will break up Monet viewings with art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Opened in 2006, this museum is relatively new for Paris are galleries, but it’s still one of the best. It’s located near the Eiffel Tower in the 7th Arrondissement, so it’s easy to fit into a tourism day centered around the main attractions. 


 

The Cluny museum in Paris
The Cluny Museum of Paris – also known as the Medieval Museum

 

Musée de Cluny (reopens spring 2022)

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Get the pass here

The Musee de Cluny is an art gallery that encompasses the Middle Ages in Paris. This is a pretty small museum, but there are over 23k pieces that span over 1000 years of human existence. It’s also considered a two-in-one deal because the museum itself is partially constructed from the remnants of an ancient Roman bathhouse, so you can take in the architecture juxtaposed with the artwork. 


 

Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Get your pass here

This famous art gallery in Paris is located in the Palais de Chaillot in the 16th Arrondissement. Here you’ll find plenty of sculptures and architecture. The main focus of this art museum is the architecture and urban planning of Paris. It’s home to a collection of models, so you can take a visual tour of what France has looked like architecturally since the Middle Ages.  

There are three permanent galleries with life-size models, paintings, and stained-glass windows to take you through history. There is A LOT to see here, make sure to reserve your spot here in time, if you are not holding a Paris Museums Pass.

one of most impressive art museums in Paris
Palais de Tokyo in Paris – One of the best art galleries in Paris

Palais de Tokyo

The Palais de Tokyo is in the Paris Museum Pass, but you can buy your tickets here

Moving into the contemporary art territory, we have Palais de Tokyo. Opened in 2002, it’s a newer art gallery in Paris. The focus here is showcasing work from living artists, and the collections are always rotating. When you visit, you must check out the subterranean levels with large graffiti murals on display. You won’t find anything like this in other art museums in Paris. 

 

Pinault Collection

Click here to reserve your admission to the collection

The Pinault Collection is the newest gallery that displays contemporary works. This art museum in Paris is home to over 10,000 works from 400 different artists. Francois Pinault, a French businessman, is behind the project. He also has a collection in Venice, but the Paris collection is by far the largest.

Pinault’s main focus is supporting young artists, and the museum hosts artists in residency every year with an ever-changing body of work. If you like modern art, I recommend checking it out. 

contemporary art galleries in paris
The Pinault Collection is one of the newest contemporary art museums in Paris

 

This art gallery, in Paris, opened only in summer 2021! It’s located in the old Bourse de Commerce , which is a gorgeous building with a remarkable Coppola.


 

Centre Pompidou

Included in the Paris Museums Pass – Get the pass here

Centre Pompidou is home to the National Museum of Modern Art, which is the largest modern art museum in all of Europe. Located in the heart of Paris, a stop here is a great addition to any Paris trip for art gallery lovers.

The building itself is worth going to see. The glass pipes on the sides bring in an incredible source of natural light and make the building look almost like a heart. Centre Pompidou also includes an extensive public library and cinema, a rooftop restaurant, and a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower!

One of the modern art musuems in Paris
The architecture of the Centre Pompidou is remarkable and unique in the Parisian Cityscape

Louis Vuitton Foundation

Click here to reserve your tickets with full refund guarantee

The Louis Vuitton Foundation might make you think of purses, but you won’t find the fashion collection here. This beautiful building in Paris is an art museum and cultural center. It was designed by Frank Gehry, who you may know the name of from designing the Guggenheim and the Jay Pritzker Pavillion in Chicago’s Millenium Park. 

The foundation was created by the LVMH group that does own the fashion brand, Louis Vuitton. When you visit this art gallery, it’s a bit of a hike. It’s worth seeing but plans to dedicate time to getting there. There are several contemporary and modern art exhibits to see, and the building is great for vacation pictures. Exhibits are always revolving, so anytime you come back there will be something different. 

The Louis Vuitton Foundation lays a bit outside Paris, within the Bois de Bologne, which is one of Paris’ big parks and forests.


TOP TIPS for visiting the best Art Museums in Paris

 

→ Get the Paris Museums Pass

The easiest and cheapest way to visit the best art galleries in Paris is by purchasing the Paris Museums Pass. The pass grants you free admission to more than 50 attractions in Paris. You can see the complete list here.

The pass pays off already when you visit 4 art museums and monuments in Paris. It also allows you to save lots of valuable time as it grants you priority entrance.

→ Reserve your time slot in advance 

Whether you are holding the Paris Museum Pass or decide to purchase individual tickets when visiting art museums in Paris, verify the museum or monument requires a reservation.

Since Covid-19, the maximal number of visitors is strictly limited and many museums require an advance reservation to assure compliance with regulations. This applies as well to many free museums. Just check on their homepage and book a slot.

If you are planning to purchase the Paris Museum Pass, you will be asked to enter the pass number. If you don’t know it by then, just enter a random number, it doesn’t matter.

 

→ Check if you are eligible for free admission for art museums in Paris

Paris is an expensive city, but the good news is that it’s a very generous one as well when it comes to granting free admission to cultural sites. Generally, many of the national museums and monuments are free for:

  • everyone under the age of 18
  • members of the European Union under the age of 26

Furthermore, many museums offer free admission on certain days of the month. Often it’s the first Sunday of a month, but it might vary. Check on the website of the museums what applies.