Are you planning a trip to the City of Lights? Looking for the best Paris art museums to visit? From the modern artworks at Centre Pompidou to the timeless masterpieces of Museé d’Orsay, consider this your essential guide to the Parisienne art scene.
In a city that contains more art museums than you could ever visit in one trip, it’s tough to decide which ones you should see. But don’t worry, we’ve done the work for you. Here are the 10 best Paris art museums you should see right now, including a selection of the key artworks to look for.
Best Paris Art Museums, Ranked
10. Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris
Address: 11 Avenue du Président Wilson; Metro: Iéna; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
It’s almost shocking that the Paris Museum of Modern Art, with its 10,000 incredible artworks on display, is still considered a hidden gem among Paris art museums. As its name suggests, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is almost fully dedicated to modern and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Fans of Modigliani will particularly appreciate a visit here, as the museum showcases one of the greatest collections of paintings by the Italian genius.
The Paris Museum of Modern Art is located in the 16th arrondissement and access to its permanent collection is completely free.
Key artworks not to miss in the permanent collection include:
- Evocation ou l’Enterrement de Casagemas, Pablo Picasso
- Woman with Blue Eyes, Amedeo Modigliani
- La Ville de Paris, Robert Delaunay
- Le pigeon aux petits pois, Picasso
Woman with Blue Eyes, Amedeo Modigliani
Le pigeon aux petits pois, Picasso
9. Musee Jacquemart-Andre
Address: 158 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 8; Metro: Saint Philippe du Roule; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
Located in a private eighth-arrondissement villa, the Jacquemart-André Museum houses a remarkable collection of artworks dated between the 15th and 18th centuries. The mansions stand right in the middle of Boulevard Haussmann, between the hectic Champs Élysées and the peaceful Parc Mon. The opulent ambiance of the villa is worth a visit alone, but we do highly recommend paying attention to the superb permanent collection on display that includes masterpieces by Botticelli and Rembrandt.
The most significant artworks include:
- The Supper at Emmaus, Rembrandt
- Portrait of a Judge, Antoon Van Dyck
- Virgin and Child, Sandro Botticelli
Portrait of a Judge, Antoon Van Dyck
The Supper at Emmaus, Rembrandt
8. Petit Palais
Address: Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 8; Metro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
The Neo-Classical Petit Palais was designed for Paris’ 1900 Universal Exposition by the famous architect Charles Girault. The luxurious interior is packed with incredible stucco work, frescoed ceilings, and decorated floors, among which one cannot help but imagine the lavish lifestyles of the aristocratic Parisians of that time. The core of Petit Palais’ permanent collection is from the 19th century and includes paintings and artifacts by Rembrandt, Fragonard, Delacroix, Daumier, Courbet, Clairin, Monet, Rodin, Sisley, and many others.
Among the most famous paintings showcased here you can find:
- Portrait of Juliette Courbet, Gustave Courbet
- The Chess Players, Honoré Daumier
- Portrait of Sarah Bernhard, Georges Clairin
Portrait of Juliette Courbet, Gustave Courbet
Portrait of Sarah Bernhard, Georges Clairin
8. Picasso Museum
Address: 5 Rue de Thorigny, Paris 3; Metro: Saint-Paul or Filles du Calvaire; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
The Picasso-Paris museum is located in the Marais district and housed in a splendid 17th-century private mansion, the Hôtel Salé. The widespread Baroque style of the villa makes for an interesting contrast with Picasso’s artwork. Following a long renovation finished only in 2014, the museum has nowadays a seasonal calendar of temporary exhibitions, which often focus on specific periods in Picasso’s life. There are more than 5,000 Picasso creations currently on display, including early sketches, sculptures, notes, and even his own personal collection of paintings from his contemporary artists.
Key art pieces not to miss in the permanent collection include:
- Massacre in Korea
- The Death of Casagemas
- Portrait of Olga in an Armchair
Portrait of Olga in an Armchair
The Death of Casagemas
6. Musée National Rodin
Address: 77 Rue de Varenne, Paris 7; Metro: Varenne; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
Auguste Rodin is considered to be the greatest French sculptor of all time, and when visiting the Musée Rodin one can clearly see why. Set in 7 acres of garden, the Musée Rodin houses more than 30 artworks that span the sculptor’s career, with some of its most beautiful sculptures showcased outdoors, bringing the garden to life.
Among Rodin’s most notable sculptures exhibited here you can find:
- The Thinker
- The Kiss
- The Gates Of Hell
5. Musée de l’Orangerie
Address: Tuileries Garden; Metro: Concorde, Assemblée Nationale; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
Designed to inspire peaceful meditation, the Orangerie is mostly known for housing Monet’s collection of Water Lilies (Les Nymphéas) within two luminous, elliptical rooms. However, the Orangerie Museum also offers an incredible collection of masterpieces, like the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection, a highly original insight into modern art featuring Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Rousseau, Matisse, and Modigliani.
Key pieces not to miss in the permanent collection include:
- Water Lilies, Claude Monet
- Jeunes filles au piano, Auguste Renoir
- Odalisque a la culotte rouge, Henri Matisse
La Carriole du Père Junier, Henri Rousseau
Odalisque a la culotte rouge, Henri Matisse
Jeunes filles au piano, Auguste Renoir
4. Musée Marmottan-Monet
Address: rue Louis-Boilly 2; metro: La Muette; Ranelagh; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
Housed in a beautiful townhouse with Empire-style décor in east Paris, the Marmottan holds an impressive collection of both Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. Several masterpieces by Monet, Manet, Morisot, and Renoir can be found in the permanent collection, including the “Impression, Sunrise” painting by Monet credited with gifting the Impressionist movement its name.
Must-See Paintings at Musée Marmottan-Monet include:
- Impression: Sunrise, Claude Monet
- Woman with a Parasol, Claude Monet
- Berthe Morisot Reclining, Edouard Manet
Impression: Sunrise, Claude Monet
Berthe Morisot Reclining, Edouard Manet
3. Centre Pompidou
Address: Rue Saint-Martin, 4th; Metro: Rambuteau, Hôtel de Ville, Châtelet; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
The National Museum of Modern Art at Centre Georges Pompidou is one of the most important and prestigious permanent collections of modern art in the world. Cubism, Surrealism, Expressionism, and Dadaism, from Picasso to Dali and a whole host of masters in between, the artworks here are internationally renowned and admired. The primary colors, the exposed pipes and air ducts designed in 1977 by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rodgers make the Centre Pompidou one of the best-known sights in Paris.
Key pieces not to miss in the permanent collection include:
- Luxe, Calme, et Volupté, Henri Matisse
- Bildnis Der Journalistin Sylvia Von Harden, Otto Dix
- Untitled (Black, Red Over Black On Red), Mark Rothko
Untitled (Black, Red Over Black On Red), Mark Rothko
Bildnis Der Journalistin Sylvia Von Harden, Otto Dix
2. Louvre Museum
Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1; Metro: Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
With a collection of some 30.000 works of art and relics, the Musée du Louvre is the world’s largest and most visited museum, with representative examples from almost every civilization on Earth. The Louvre is divided into 8 departments: Near Eastern Antiquities; Islamic Art, Paintings; Egyptian Antiquities; Sculptures; Prints and Drawings; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, and Decorative Arts.
Because of its scale, it is important that you have a game plan in mind before you get there. The museum is simply too large to be visited in one afternoon and it’s best to know a bit about the collection to maximize your experience. We recommend browsing the permanent collections online before your visit and settling on one or two wings to focus on. You can also choose a thematic trail if you wish to focus on certain artistic schools.
The greatest works of art showcased include:
- Liberty Leading the People, Eugène Delacroix
- The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore Géricault
- La Grande Odalisque, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
- Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci
Liberty Leading the People, Eugène Delacroix
La Grande Odalisque, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
1. Musée d’Orsay
Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris 7; Metro: Pont de l’Alma; Invalides; Visit the official website for updated info on opening hours, tickets, and temporary exhibits.
The Musée D’Orsay occupies an old train station that was designed and built for the 1900 World’s Fair by architect Victor Laloux. The decorated skeleton of the train station is still visible today and acts like the very first artwork you see upon entering the museum.
The collection of Impressionist paintings showcased at Musèe d’Orsay is absolutely unmatched. Its permanent collection houses countless works by masters of impressionist art, including Matisse, Monet, and Degas, as well as post-Impressionist icons like Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cézanne.
The most important artworks in the permanent collection include:
- Le Moulin de la Galette, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- Self-Portrait, Vincent Van Gogh
- The Floor Scrapers, Gustave Caillebotte
Self-Portrait, Vincent Van Gogh
Le Moulin de la Galette, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Paris Museum Pass: what is it? And it is Worth it?
The Paris Museum Pass gives you free access to several museums’ permanent collections and monuments in Paris. Besides allowing you to skip ticket office queues and therefore save precious time, the Paris Museum Pass can potentially save you a great deal of money, provided, of course, that you take full advantage of it. You can check out different options and pricing on the official website.
The Paris Museum Pass covers the entrance fee for the permanent collection of all the museums included in the list with the following exceptions:
- Musée Marmottan-Monet, which requires a separate ticket
- Musee Jacquemart-Andre, which requires a separate ticket
- Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris’, whose entire permanent collection is free of charge
- Petit Palais Admission, whose entire permanent collection is free of charge.
As you can guess, the more you visit, the more you save.
Paris Art Muséums: FAQ
How many art museums are in Paris?
There are 36 art museums in Paris, within city limits. You can find the complete list here.
What is the most famous art museum in Paris?
The Louvre is the largest and most visited art museum on earth, which makes it on all accounts the most famous art museum in Paris.
What is the best art museum in Paris?
There are many incredible art museums in Paris, but two are so majestic in terms of collection extension and visual impact, that they deserve to be especially admired: the Louvre, and Museé d’Orsay. It’s nearly impossible to pick one over the other, as it all depends on your artistic taste.
If you’d like to go from Ancient Greek sculpture to Renaissance artworks, or if you prefer classical painters like Vermeer, Delacroix, and Goya, then the Louvre is the best Paris art museum for you. If you prefer Impressionist and post-Impressionist painters like Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh, or Cézanne, then Musée d’Orsay is where you will want to go.
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