Welcome to the Best Museums In Paris guide.

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Best Museums To Visit in Paris - The coronation of Napoleon - Louvre Museum
The coronation of Napoleon – Best Museums To Visit in Paris – Louvre Museum

Header photo Coronation of Napoleon, Louvre Museum, from the city of Paris. Credit photo : Olivier Bergeron

Table of contents

History And Ancien Art

Modern Art

Divers

Louvre Museum

Indispensable and at the top of this Best Museums in Paris guide, the Musée du louvre is the world’s most-visited museum in the world with more than 10 millions visitors in 2018 before the pandemy. The Louvre is located in the first arrondissement in the center of the city of Paris on the right bank of the river Seine.

pyramide du Louvre - Paris
pyramide du Louvre – Paris

History

A little bit of history, the foundation of the medieval fortress of the 12th-13th centuries are still visible under the museum. Gradually the louvre became a royal residence intermittently until the 14th century.

Francois 1er the king of France ordered the demolition of the dungeon in 1528 in order to build an Italian style palace and
in 1546, he charged the architect Pierre Lescot to build a modern palace in the spirit of the Renaissance architecture. After that, the Louvre Palace was gradually modified by his successors.

Mona Lisa - La Joconde - Leonardo Da vinci - louvre Museum
Mona Lisa – La Joconde – Leonardo Da Vinci – louvre Museum

In 1983, the President of the French Republic François Mitterrand commissioned the Louvre Pyramid, a glass and metal structure, designed by the Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei. Opened in 1989, it is now the main entrance to the museum.

Les noces de Cana - The wedding at Cana - Paolo Caliari dit VERONESE  1562-1563 - Oil on canvas
Les noces de Cana – The wedding at Cana – Paolo Caliari dit VERONESE 1562-1563 – Oil on canvas

Loving old stones, my favorite collections are Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities as well as Persia. I also have a weakness for the gallery of Africa, Asia and Oceania arts. But I still feel a great emotion when admiring paintings such as Mona Lisa, the Liberty Guiding The People, the Raft Of Medusa, the Coronation of Napoleon, the Wedding at Cana.

Liberty guiding the people - La Liberte guidant le peuple - Louvre Museum
Liberty guiding the people – La Liberte guidant le peuple – Louvre Museum

Don’t forget the Louvre is a GIANT museum and you will need more than one day to fully appreciate the collections in details.

However you can speed up and concentrate on the most famous artworks and on the subjects that interest you the most to fit them all in one day.

The winged victory of Samothrace - La Victoire De Samothrace - Louvre Museum - Paris
The winged victory of Samothrace – La Victoire De Samothrace – Louvre Museum – Paris

Location

The two nearest metro stations are louvre-Rivoli and Palais Royal-Musee Du louvre while the main entrance is at the Pyramid of Louvres.

sculpture of Malo Island - Vanuatu - Trou Korrou
sculpture of Malo Island – Vanuatu – Trou Korrou

free

In terms of free, the Louvre is only free on July 14. In the past, the museum was free on the first Sunday of the month and I took the opportunity to discover the Louvre at my own pace for several weekends of the year and take the time to appreciate the collections.

Venus De Milo - Aphrodite - Louvre Museum - 120 BC
Venus De Milo – Aphrodite – Louvre Museum – 120 BC

For certain categories the Louvre is free: -18 years old, -26 years old and residents of the European Economic Union and some categories like art teachers. Check the conditions on the Louvre website.

palace of Persian King Darius I - Susa  - Reigned 522-486BC
palace of Persian King Darius I – Susa – Reigned 522-486BC
Door lintel in the name of King Ramses II
Door lintel in the name of King Ramses II
Discobole - Athens - Red figure cup
Discobole – Athens – Red figure cup

Adress :
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Metro :
Palais-Royal / Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7)
Pyramides (line 14)
Main Entrance : the pyramid



Carnavalet Museum – History Of Paris

Located in the heart of the Marais district in Paris, the Carnavalet museum traces the history of Paris from the Mesolithic to the French Revolution, passing through the Gallo-Roman civilization and the medieval period.

After 5 years of renovation, the museum has reopen in 2021. It is the oldest museum in the City of Paris, effectively it opened to the public on 1880. The museum has a collection of around 600 000 pieces !

Entry - Carnavalet Museum
Entry – Carnavalet Museum – Musee Carnavalet

The Musee carnavalet is one of my favorite in this best museums to visit in Paris guide, especially for stone lover and history lover.

And above all, the permanent collection is FREE so don’t miss the opportunity to visit this museum during your stay in Paris.

Entrance courtyard with the statue of Louis XIV as a Roman emperor by Antoine Coysevox and bas-relief on the wall by Jean Goujon - Carnavalet museum.
Entrance courtyard with the statue of Louis XIV as a Roman emperor by Antoine Coysevox and bas-relief on the wall by Jean Goujon – Carnavalet museum.

The first time I came to this museum, when I was 14 years old, it was with my college Latin teacher who had wisely decided to take our class of provincials from central France to discover the Gallo-Roman civilization of Paris. In this time, I was really impress by the antic piece of the museum !! Since the museum has changed enormously, at that time, the neolithic canoe of Bercy had not even been discovered yet !

Large ovoidal vase - Neolithic - terracotta  -4200BC  -3500BC
Large ovoidal vase – Neolithic – terracotta -4200BC -3500BC
prehistoric canoe made of a single piece of wood - Neolithic - Bercy excavation - Carnavalet museum
prehistoric canoe made of a single piece of wood – Neolithic – Bercy excavation – Carnavalet museum
polished axe and rough cut - final Neolithic -2700BC -2200BC - flint - Carnavalet Museum
polished axe and rough cut – final Neolithic -2700BC -2200BC – flint – Carnavalet Museum

Some others pieces of the collection

Stele of Mercury - limestone - excavations of the Hotel-Dieu in 1867, 1st - 2nd century
Stele of Mercury – limestone – excavations of the Hotel-Dieu in 1867, 1st – 2nd century

We can recognize Mercury by his attributes, he wears a winged-hat and he hold a purse in his right hand and a caduceus in the left.

parade of Bacchus - limestone - 3th century - Carnavalet Museum
parade of Bacchus – limestone – 3th century – Carnavalet Museum

Bacchus is the god of wine and pleasure. He is also the protector of the dead so he is frequently depict on funerary monument. On this pilaster we see two naked men dancing in a Bacchus parade, maybe drunk or in trance. At the top, a horseman is crushing an ennemy.

Commemorative monument of the battle of Bouvines or slabs of the vow of the sergeants-at-arms in Bouvines - 15th century
Commemorative monument of the battle of Bouvines or slabs of the vow of the sergeants-at-arms in Bouvines – 15th century

The sergeants in armor address the prior of the Schoolchildren who, with his index finger, points to the church, fulfillment of their wish.

Woodwork Hotel Colbert De Villacerf - mid 17th century - Museum carnavalet
Woodwork Hotel Colbert De Villacerf – mid 17th century
Salon of the Hotel de Breteuil - Carnavalet Museum - late 18th century
Salon of the Hotel de Breteuil – Carnavalet Museum – late 18th century
Sun brewer shop sign – 18th century – Musee carnavalet
hatter sign shop - Museum Carnavalet - 18th century
hatter sign shop – Museum Carnavalet – 18th century

Adress :
23 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris
Metro :
1) Line 1: Saint-Paul
2) Line 5: Bréguet Sabin
3) Line 7: Pont-Marie
4) Line 8: Chemin Vert

Paris Museum Of Modern Art

Inside the magnificent Palais de Tokyo, built for the universal exposition of 1937, along the Avenue de New-York, the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris is devoted to modern and contemporary art.

Museum of Modern Art - Paris
Museum of Modern Art – Paris

Globally the museum has a collection of around 15 000 pieces while the permanent collection is FREE so it’s a good opportunity to visit this museum during your stay in Paris.

La Danse - Henri Matisse - 1931-1933 - Oil on canvas
La Danse – Henri Matisse – 1931-1933 – Oil on canvas

Location

The entry of the museum is located on the 11 avenue Wilson , additionally the nearest metro are the stations Alma-Marceau or Iéna on the line 9.

Femme aux yeux bleus - Amedeo Modigliani - 1918 -Oil On Canvas
Femme aux yeux bleus – Amedeo Modigliani – 1918 – Oil On Canvas
6 janvier 1968 - Zao Wou-Ki
6 janvier 1968 – Zao Wou-Ki – Oil on Canvas – 1968
Engloutissement - Andre Masson - Musee d'Art Moderne de Paris - 1968 - oil on Canvas
Engloutissement – Andre Masson – Musee d’Art Moderne de Paris – 1968 – oil on Canvas
Composition - Otto Freundlich - Oil on Canvas - 1911
Composition – Otto Freundlich – Oil on Canvas – 1911
Pierre Bonnard - nu dans le bain - Oil on Canvas - 1936
Pierre Bonnard – nu dans le bain – Oil on Canvas – 1936
Baigneuses - Andre Derain - museum of Modern Art - Paris
Baigneuses – Andre Derain – near 1908 – Oil On Canvas
The War - Marcel Gromaire - 1925 - Oil on canvas
The War – Marcel Gromaire – 1925 – Oil on canvas
main entrance - Museum Of Modern Art - Paris
main entrance – Museum Of Modern Art – Paris

Adress :
11, avenue du Président Wilson 75016 Paris.
Metro :
line 9 – Station Alma-Marceau or Iéna.

Orsay Museum

A visit to the Orsay Museum is a must in Paris. Its collection of works by impressionist painters is astonishing.

Portrait Of The Artist - Vincent Van Gogh - 1889 - Oil on canvas
Portrait Of The Artist – Vincent Van Gogh – 1889 – Oil on canvas
The church in Auvers-Sur-Oise View of the Chevet - Vincent Van Gogh - 1890 - Oil on canvas
The church in Auvers-Sur-Oise View of the Chevet – Vincent Van Gogh – 1890 – Oil on canvas

Free

The Musée d’Orsay is free on the first Sunday of the month.

Les Glaneuses - Jean-Francois Millet - 1857 - Oil on canvas
Les Glaneuses – Jean-Francois Millet – 1857 – Oil on canvas
The Starry Night - Vincent Van Gogh - 1888 - Oil on canvas - Orsay Museum
The Starry Night over the Rhone – Vincent Van Gogh – 1888 – Oil on canvas – Orsay Museum
Les romains de la décadence - Thomas Couture
Les romains de la décadence – Thomas Couture
the fife player - Edouard Manet - 1866 - Oil on canvas
the fife player – Edouard Manet – 1866 – Oil on canvas
La pie - Claude Monet - 1868-1869 - Oil on canvas
La pie – Claude Monet – 1868-1869 – Oil on canvas
Naissance de Venus - Alexandre Cabanel - 1863 - Oil on canvas
Naissance de Venus – Alexandre Cabanel – 1863 – Oil on canvas
Cing baigneurs - Paul Cézanne - 1900 - 1904 - Oil on canvas
Cing baigneurs – Paul Cézanne – 1900 – 1904 – Oil on canvas
Glaïeuls - Auguste Renoir- around 1885 - Oil on canvas
Glaïeuls – Auguste Renoir- around 1885 – Oil on canvas
La Guerre - Henri Rousseau dit Le Douanier - 1894 - Oil on canvas
La Guerre – Henri Rousseau dit Le Douanier – 1894 – Oil on canvas
Art Deco room - Orsay Museum
Art Deco room – Orsay Museum
Coupe Les Veilleuses d'automne - Emile Gallé - 1891
Coupe Les Veilleuses d’automne – Emile Gallé – 1891
The Thinker - Auguste Rodin - around 1881 - plaster
The Thinker – Auguste Rodin – around 1881 – plaster

Picasso Museum Paris

Picasso Museum Paris
Picasso Museum Paris
Picasso - autoportrait - 1906 - Musee Picasso Paris - Oil on canvas
Picasso – self-portrait – 1906 – Musee Picasso Paris – Oil on canvas
 The Luncheon on the Grass after Manet  - Pablo Picasso - 1961 - Oil on canvas
The Luncheon on the Grass after Manet – Pablo Picasso – 1961 – Oil on canvas
Maya with doll - Pablo Picasso - 1938 - Oil on canvas
Maya with doll – Pablo Picasso – 1938 – Oil on canvas – Picasso Museum
Woman sitting in a red armchair - Pablo Picasso - 1932 - Oil on canvas
Woman sitting in a red armchair – Pablo Picasso – 1932 – Oil on canvas
Emilie Marguerite Walter called Mémé - Picasso - 1939 - Oil on canvas
Emilie Marguerite Walter called Mémé – Picasso – 1939 – Oil on canvas
Portrait of Marie-Thérèse - 1937 - Pablo Picasso
Portrait of Marie-Thérèse – 1937 – Pablo Picasso

Going more far

Reference Best Museums In Paris

Musee Carnavalet website

Louvre Museum official Website

Paris Museum Of Modern Art website

Orsay Museum website

FAQ Best Museums In Paris

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