There are over eighty museums in Paris! So, when time is limited, it can be hard to decide where to go and which ones are the ‘best’ to visit.
The Louvre? Or Musee D’Orsay? How about the Centre Pompidou? These are normally at the top of the list of tourist attractions in Paris for first time visitors. They such incredible (and vast) collections of art, that you could return to them again and again and see something different each time.
So, if this is your first time to Paris or you’re looking for some new ideas, here is a selection of some of the best museums in Paris.
Many of these museums are in elegant hôtels particuliers (private mansions) with gardens, or in former homes of painters and sculptors. The artwork can often be on par with the more famous places in Paris.
Some of the Paris museums listed below are smaller, too, which can be a good thing! They are not as overwhelming – and crowded – as some of the more famous museums in Paris can be.
We’ve also included :
- a map at the bottom of this page for easy reference, PLUS
- some general tips and advice on how to make the most of your time and money when visiting museums in Paris.
Catch a glimpse of medieval (and Roman!) Paris at the National Museum of the Middle Ages, in the heart of the Latin quarter.
The museum, known by the locals as “Cluny”, is made up of the Hôtel de Cluny, one of only two remaining gothic residences in Paris, and the remains of roman baths dating from the second century.
Inside of Cluny Museum
The museum has some of the most beautiful medieval art collections in the world, including tapestries, manuscripts and sculptures.
Musée National du Moyen Age Thermes et
Hôtel de Cluny (Cluny Museum)
6, place Paul Painlevé
Métro: Cluny-La Sorbonne/Saint-Michel/Odéon (#10 yellow line)
The Picasso museum is one of our favourites.
Picasso Museum Paris
Not only does it have an impressive collection of sculpture, paintings and drawings (one of the most important Picasso collections in the world), but we love the location – an elegant seventeenth century mansion in the fashionable Marais district.
You can also see paintings by Matisse and Rousseau in this museum – works that were acquired by Picasso during his lifetime.
Musée National Picasso
5 Rue de Thorigny
Métro: St-Paul (#1 yellow line)
Another favourite is the Musée Rodin, which is in a beautiful old mansion with manicured gardens. Rodin lived here for a period of time before his death. You’ll find the world famous sculptures, The Thinker and The Kiss here; there are others displayed throughout the gardens.
Don’t miss the sculptures created by his pupil and lover Camille Claudel, as well as works by Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir.
77 rue de Varenne
Métro: Varenne (#13 blue line)
Rodin Museum in Paris
The Marmottan museum (Musée Marmottan) is a great alternative to the Musée D’Orsay.
The Marmottan is in a nineteenth century mansion, and has the most extensive collection of art by Claude Monet in the world – including the famous waterlillies collection.
You’ll also find works by Rodin, Renoir and Pissaro, and other lesser known artists. Overall, the museum has a very comprehensive collection of impressionist art.
2 Rue Louis-Boilly
Métro: La Muette (#9 green line, on the west side).
Charming and Eccentric
The ivy coloured mansion and gardens with old fashioned roses and trees feel like you’re visiting a house in the country. This is one of the rare museums in Paris where you might find yourself wandering the rooms alone.
The museum pays homage to the great romantics – George Sand, Chopin, and Lizt among others. If you’d like to rest your feet afterwards, there is a lovely period tearoom in the gardens of the museum, with delicious cakes, tea and coffee.
Musée de la Vie Romantique
16 Rue Chaptal
Métro: Blanche St-Georges (12 green line or #2 blue line)
The nineteenth century symbolist painter Gustav Moreau spent the last few years of his life converting his home and studio into a museum. The Musée Gustave Moreau is one the most interesting and unusual museums in Paris (weird and wonderful could be an accurate description!) and provides a unique insight into the life of an artist.
Musée Gustave Moreau
14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld
Métro: Trinité d’Estienne d’Orves
The Musée Zadkine is a small white house hidden off the street, near the Jardins de Luxembourg (it’s not the easiest to find, so make sure you have a good map).
The Russian sculptor lived and worked here until his death in 1967. It’s a cozy place, with a lovely garden which is open to the public (benches to sit on!). Zadkine’s work is displayed both in the museum itself and the gardens.
100 bis, rue d’Assas
Métro: Vavin (#4 pink line), Notre Dame-des-Champs (#12 green line)
If you’re planning on seeing a few museums in Paris during your stay, it might make sense to buy a Paris Museum Pass. It’ll give you access to over 60 paris attractions and museums in Paris and around (including Versailles), and means you don’t have to wait in line to get in; it can also be cheaper than paying for each museum individually.
You can buy them in major métro stations and tourist offices. The Paris Museums Pass website will tell you which museums the pass is valid for.
Remember to check that the museum is open on the day you plan to visit – they can be closed on either a Monday or Tuesday.
If you would like to go to the Louvre, a little advance planning can really pay off.
The Louvre in Paris France (Musée du Louvre)
You can go on a virtual tour of the museum (see their website) so you can get a feel for what’s there, and choose the areas that interest you.
The website also has an online map so you can see where the main entrances are, and some interesting history and facts about the Louvre.
You can book tickets online and have them mailed to you (so no need line up at the ticket desk when you arrive).
Musée du Louvre
Rue de Rivoli
Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre (#1 yellow line)