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23 Best Museums in Paris, From Louvre to Curie Museum

Planning your trip to Paris and wondering what incredible places you should add to your itinerary? Then you will want to check out this article about the best museums in Paris!

We will let you in on the best Paris museums to view stunning art, learn about science and culture, and generally soak in the rich cultural scene of Paris.

No matter who you are, whether it be a nature enthusiast, a history buff, an absolute Andy Warhol devotee, or you’re trying to escape a rainy day in Paris, there is something for everyone at these Paris museums.

Looking for accommodation? We wrote a handy guide on where to stay in Paris for different budgets. Still, if you want to splurge a little just to make sure you get the best out of the city, book one of these incredible hotels with Eiffel Tower views. They are simply mindblowing.

23 Absolute Best Museums in Paris, From Louvre to Curie Museum

Hey, before we start talking about the best Paris museums, we’ll drop you a handy tip. Buying the Paris Museum Pass can save you some money in entry fees, depending on your itinerary. You can read our review in the post above if you have more questions.

Click here to buy your Museum Pass

1. Musée d’Orsay (Orsay Museum)

Museum D'Orsay seen from a Seine River cruise
Orsay Museum seen from a Seine River cruise

The Musée d’Orsay is the most popular Paris art museum beside the Louvre. And this is with good reason. 

This Parisian museum is home to an unparalleled collection of Impressionist art. At every corner, you will be invited to take in the splendor of another oddly familiar painting.

Whether you’ve first seen them in an art class, in a heist film, or on the cover of someone’s diary, these paintings can seriously enchant you when you see them in real life. 

Whether it be the swirling brushstrokes of Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait, the dark, masterful intonations of Manet’s portrait of Bertha Morisot, or the sheer joy that is seeing Degas’ ballet girls bring, you can hardly go wrong with the Musée d’Orsay.

You can also find famous artworks by Renoir, Monet, and Cézanne in the permanent collection. 

This is among the upper echelons of museums in Paris, but more than that, there is something so special about this museum. From the building’s beginnings at a train station to the magnificent art, Musée d’Orsay is not to be missed!

2. Louvre Museum

Venus de Milo statue at Louvre, one of the best museums in Paris
Venus de Milo statue at Louvre, one of the best museums in Paris – Reidl / Shutterstock

Ah, the Louvre.

This excellent Parisian museum once served as a royal residence for many French royals, including Louis XIV.

In the 17th century, Louis XIV moved to Versailles and only years after did the Louvre shift into a museum, more precisely in the 18th century, and it is still one of the best in the world.

That’s why visiting the Louvre Museum is one of the best things to do in Paris. If your time in the city is limited, you will want to make sure to explore the one museum that attracts the most visitors of any museum on the planet.

Lose yourself as you make your way across 782,910 square feet of history that contain approximately 380,000 objects and 35,000 works of art, from French paintings, drawings, sculptures, and archaeological finds, some pieces dating back to the beginning of time.

Some of the most famous paintings in the Louvre are Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty of Leading the People, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa.

We strongly suggest you buy a timed entrance ticket to save lots of time. A typical trip to this famous museum will last between 2 to 3 hours.

If you want to visit this Parisian landmark in the evening, you can do so every Tuesday. You will be surprised by how many things you can do in Paris at night.

Good to know: The Louvre Museum entrance ticket is included in the Paris Pass. Click here to read the Paris Pass review.

3. Quai Branly Museum

Quai Branly Museum is at the top of the the list when it comes to places that offer beautiful Eiffel Tower views in Paris
Quai Branly Museum- Oliverouge 3/ Shutterstock

The Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is a museum dedicated to studying non-European civilizations from the Neolithic period to the 20th century.

Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum opened in 2006 after a long history of impressive collections passing from collector to state to a cultural institution. 

It inherited the collections from two museums, one of African and Oceanian Art and also from Musée de l’Homme, and now includes over 370,000 artifacts from all over the world.

The Quai Branly Museum has several cultural objects like masks, pottery, and shields.

As far as Paris museums go, this is one of the most varied.

On top of that, this place offers some of the best Eiffel Tower views, and believe it or not, it boasts an incredibly romantic restaurant too. Les Ombres is a rooftop restaurant with jaw-dropping views.

4. Musée de la Vie Romantique (Museum of Romantic Life)

Musée De La Vie Romantique
Photo: Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Musée de la Vie Romantique is a monument to the city of love. It is a museum of romantic life and houses paintings by several romantic painters. 

The museum building itself once belonged to Ary Scheffer, a Dutch artist who built the villa in the 19th century. 

The ground floor of the picturesque building pays homage to a female French writer who wrote under the pseudonym George Sand. Various contemporary pieces accompany Scheffer’s paintings on the first floor. 

The building also houses a tea room so you can indulge in a perfectly blissful afternoon soaking in France’s most beautiful romantic artworks. It is one of the most enchanting museums in Paris.

5. Musée National D’Art Moderne De Paris (Modern Art Museum)

Musée D'Art Moderne De Paris
Musée D’Art Moderne De Paris – UlyssePixel/ Shutterstock

Although it may seem paradoxical to include the words “modern” and “museum” in the same sentence, the Musée D’Art Moderne, the MAM, is dedicated to modern art exhibitions from as far back as the 1960s.

Consequently, it is both a celebration of older styles of modern art and its evolution and progression as contemporary art into the 21st century; thus, the Musée D’Art Moderne creates a historical timeline and predictions, unlike other museums in Paris.

As the name implies, modern and contemporary art exhibitions are commonplace at the Musée D’Art Moderne, meaning that it is the perfect location for fans of modern art and anyone looking to see the current state of contemporary art!

Oh, and it boasts Europe’s largest collection of modern art!

Looking for free things to do in Paris? Well, then you will love this place. The permanent collection is without charge, making it one of the best free museums in Paris.

Also, the permanent collection consists primarily of paintings from famed modern artists, while the special timed shows and temporary exhibitions are subject to an entrance fee. 

Address: 11 Av. du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris – 16th arrondissement 

6. Musée De l’Orangerie (Orangerie Museum)

Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris
Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris – Takashi Images /

The Musée de l’Orangerie is situated in the Tuileries Gardens and can be considered another heavy hitter. This is because it boasts Claude Monet’s astonishing water lilies paintings, among other paintings.

Besides the water lilies, works by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani, and Renoir grace the walls of the Musée de l’Orangerie.

The Orangerie was built at the behest of Emperor Napoleon III and was used to store orange trees during the winter to keep them from succumbing to frostbite.

The former Orangerie was transformed into an art gallery after World War I. The museum at the time was meant to provide living artists with a place to display their art. 

Monet, who died in 1926, donated his water lily painting to the new museum, which was finalized in 1922.

Whatever your reason for going to the Musée de l’Orangerie, whether it be the combination of art and nature, a keen architectural interest, or an obsession with Monet, you will have a lovely time at this Paris art museum. 

7. Musée Marmottan Monet (Marmottan Museum of Monet)

View of the Musee Marmottan Monet, one of the best museums in Paris
EQRoy / Shutterstock

And if that wasn’t enough of a Monet fix, visit the most extensive collection of his work at Musée Marmottan Monet. This exquisite collection is housed in a gorgeous former hunting lodge. 

Collector Paul Marmottan bequeathed his home and collection to make it a museum when he died in 1932. 

Michel Monet, the son of the prolific artist, donated 165 of Monet’s works to this museum. The museum is also fortunate to have works by Gauguin, Renoir, Monet, and Berthe Morisot in its collection. 

On top of the impressionist masterpieces the museum boasts, there are also several illuminated manuscripts and other pieces of Middle Age and Renaissance art. 

Several sculptures and unique pieces of furniture feature at this museum. 

8. Musée Rodin (Rodin Museum)

The beautiful courtyard of Musee Rodin in Paris
Rodin Museum, Paris, France

The Musée Rodin is named after prolific sculptor Auguste Rodin, most famous for his The Thinker sculpture. 

The museum is located in the former Hôtel Biron, where Auguste Rodin lived in the years leading up to his death. The museum was opened to the public in 1919. 

The museum houses the many works of Rodin, including over 6,500 sculptures, approximately 8,000 photographs, around 8,000 drawings, and many other pieces of superlative art. 

The museum is home to a 7.4-acre sculpture garden. The building houses the rest of the works by Rodin and his contemporaries. 

In addition, it boasts a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, one by Claude Monet, and even one by Edvard Munch (of The Scream fame) depicting Rodin’s sculpture, The Thinker. 

The Thinker isn’t the only famous sculpture of Rodin on display. The Kiss is also available for viewing, as is The Gates of Hell. 

Furthermore, the works of Rodin’s protégé and mistress, Camille Claudel, are on display. Rodin’s paintings also grace the walls of the museum. 

The experience of visiting the Musée Rodin is an overwhelmingly superb one. The beautiful 1927 house is enough reason to visit. 

With all the sculptures and paintings added in, you’re in for a real treat at one of the most fantastic museums in Paris!

Sites like these make the French capital one of the most beautiful places in the world!

9. Musée Curie (Curie Museum)

Marie Curie's Lab in Musée Curie
Musée Curie – EQRoy/ Shutterstock

Previously the laboratory of Nobel Prize Winner Marie Curie, the Musée Curie was opened in 1964 and housed various exhibitions and instruments to educate visitors on the history, science, and implication of artificial radioactivity.

Following the popularity of the museum, Marie Curie’s actual chemistry laboratory was decontaminated and reconstructed, thus allowing visitors to safely enter and explore the real space and equipment, which was instrumental in improving our understanding of the uses and dangers of radiation and oncology.

Marie Curie remains a central figure in scientific research and a figurehead for improving access to STEM for women in the 21st century.

Although permanent exhibitions are free, the museum does allow visitors to donate money to the Musée Curie.

Address: 1 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris – 5th arrondissement 

10. Picasso Museum

Musée Picasso Paris is a beautiful mansion turned into a museum dedicated to Pablo Picasso's work
The Musee Picasso – Takashi Images/ Shutterstock

The Picasso Museum is located in the former Hôtel Salé and was founded in 1974.

The museum consists of 5,000 works, including 297 paintings, over 1,700 drawings and notebooks, and 360 sculptures and 3D works. This constitutes the most extensive collection of Picasso’s work. 

The museum comprises donations from Picasso’s heirs and later his wife’s heirs. Some notable artworks include Guernica, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and The Weeping Woman. 

The museum also holds 50 pieces of Diego Giacometti furnishings as well as engravings, archives, and photography by Picasso. This is one of the best Paris museums dedicated to cubism. 

On top of all this, there are paintings by Cézanne and other artistic renderings by Modigliani, Matisse, and Degas, to name a few. 

11. Louis Vuitton Foundation

Louis Vuitton Foundation is an art museum and cultural center in Paris
Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock

The Louis Vuitton Foundation is an artist’s haven founded in 2014. 

The building, designed by Canadian-American Frank Gehry, is certainly unlike the other architecture in this list so far. 

Instead of quaint 17th-century hunting lodges, this stunning building is a spectacle of glass and steel, which allows natural light to illuminate the halls. 

The museum showcases primarily contemporary art and classifies its collection into four categories: contemplative, expressionist, pop, and music & sound.

You can see art from famous artists like Joan Mitchell, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Takashi Murakami. This is one of the most thrilling museums in Paris.

12. Musée Des Beaux-Arts (City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts)

Museum of Fine Arts of the City of Paris
Museum of Fine Arts of the City of Paris – Franck Legros/ Shutterstock

Beginning life after the French Revolution in the Jesuit Church, the expansion of the Musée des Beaux-Arts led to the transfer of the museum’s extensive collection to the Petit Palais.

However, the ongoing collection expansion resulted in numerous renovations and extensions to the museum. 

A highlight of the museum’s extensions includes the sculpture garden, which doubles as a venue for social and business events, making it one of the most diverse museums in Paris.

Consequently, Musée des Beaux-Arts is a space of learning and discovery and a modern venue to meet like-minded people, engage in business discussions, and establish networks in one of Europe’s most iconic cities! 

While the permanent collections are free, special exhibitions which are typically shown after 7 pm, require an entrance fee.

Address: Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris – in the 8th arrondissement near the Avenue des Champs-Elysées 

13. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (National Museum of Natural History)

Skeletons of dinosaurs in the National Museum of Natural History in Paris
Rrrainbow / Shutterstock

The National Museum of Natural History. If you are a science lover, this is the place for you! 

The museum hosts a collection of complete skeletons of creatures long since extinct – including dinosaurs – and other paleontological finds, including fossils. 

There are also over 7,000 taxidermized animals. Additionally, a collection of unique large-scale minerals can be viewed at the museum. Moreover, a subdivision of the museum hosts an array of plants for the nature lover in you and a zoo. 

Finally, the museum also acts as a training facility for students, teachers, and professionals. It publishes academic articles and books for the general public. 

14. Dalí Museum

Dali museum in Paris
TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock

The Dalí Museum constitutes the collection of Salvador Dalí’s great surrealist works by Beniamino Levi, an art dealer. 

The museum was reopened in 2018 after renovations. The permanent collection has over 300 Dalí artworks on display. 

This includes etchings, sculptures, surrealist furniture, and objects. Past exhibitions include ones on street art, photography, jewels, and letters. 

You never quite know what you will find at the Dalí Museum, but one thing is for sure: you will be stunned by the many Dalí artworks gracing this museum’s walls – and floors.

15. Maison De Balzac (Balzac’s House)

Maison De Balzac is a literary museum in Paris worth a visit
Maison De Balzac – irena iris szewczyk/ Shutterstock

Located in the former residence of acclaimed 19th-century French writer Honoré de Balzac, the Maison de Balzac is a converted literary museum and one of the best free literary museums to visit during your next stay in Paris! 

Renovated in 2012, the literary home come museum includes five different rooms which house the author’s furniture, trinkets, memorabilia, and writing materials from Honoré de Balzac’s writing career in the 19th century.

The first floor includes a library dedicated to Honoré de Balzac’s writing pieces, books about Honoré de Balzac, and historical newspaper and magazine articles from the 19th century that highlighted Honoré de Balzac’s success.

Entrance is free to permanent exhibitions, while timed special collections charge an entrance fee.

Address: 47 Rue Raynouard, 75016 Paris – 16th arrondissement

16. Musée de Cluny (Cluny Museum)

Musee national du Moyen Age in Paris, formerly known as Musee Cluny, houses medieval artifacts
Christian Mueller / Shutterstock

The Musée de Cluny is a museum devoted to medieval art. It is one of the museums in Paris with the most history behind it. 

It is situated in the former residence, which was built in 1485, of the abbots of the town of Cluny. The building houses Roman thermal baths and a Gothic chapel.

The most well-known piece in the collection is undoubtedly The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. 

However, the collection also includes stained glass pieces, sculptures, gold- and silverwork, jewelry, and everyday objects from the Middle Ages.

17. Musée Bourdelle (Bourdelle Museum)

Musée Bourdelle
Musée Bourdelle – EBASCOL / Shutterstock

The popularity and the diversity of pieces on display make it one of the best museums in Paris, meaning it should be on anyone’s radar once it has been reopened to the public!

The museum pays homage to its namesake, renowned sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, by housing over fifty beautiful sculptures while preserving his original studio. 

The purpose is to showcase Bourdelle’s artistic evolution and life story chronologically.

Bourdelle, a student of Auguste Rodin, was a French artist who mentored Alberto Giacometti.

While the museum has bronze, marble, and plaster sculptures from other artists, it also has a collection of paintings and sketches from Bourdelle’s private collection.

On top of Bourdelle’s personal collection, the museum also showcases over 500 works of French artists, like Eugène Delacroix, Auguste Rodin, and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. 

While permanent exhibitions are free, limited exhibits may be subject to an entrance fee.

Address: 18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015 Paris – 15th arrondissement 

18. Centre Pompidou

Façade of the Centre Pompidou
Façade of the Centre Pompidou – Dmitry Brizhatyuk / Shutterstock

The Centre Pompidou, named after the former French president, joins Fondation Louis Vuitton in carving out their own niche by creating a building as unique as the art inside of it. 

This contemporary art museum is constructed from glass and industrial pipes. 

It contains over 100 000 artworks, including pieces from Kandinsky, Chagall, Matisse, Mondrian, Rothko, and Warhol. The museum also hosts a library and a cinema and puts on shows and concerts. 

19. Musée Jacquemart-André (Jacquemart-André Museum)

Jacquemart-Andre Museum in Paris

The Jacquemart-André Museum is simply breathtaking. The building is as lavish as the art it houses. 

This mansion was commissioned by Edouard André and his wife, Nélie Jacquemart, in the 19th century. In fact, Nelie was an artist herself, and they were bonded by their shared love of art.

The permanent collection is devoted to Renaissance art and 18th-century French painting. It includes works by Giovanni Bellini, Jacques-Louis David, Rembrandt, and Botticelli. 

20. European House of Photography

The European House of Photography is calling your name if you love to marvel at the glory of a developed photo. 

However, if you are pretty serious about your own photography, you can also peruse their library. 

Besides its vast collection of photographs by leading photographers like Sabine Weiss, Brassaï, Michel Journiac, and Alice Springs, the museum also holds a stellar collection of 30,000 reference works and 750 films on the subject of photography and its most influential contributors. 

The museum is located in the 18th-century Hôtel Hénault de Cantobre and has been there since 1996. It is one of the finest museums in Paris for photography enthusiasts.

21. Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts)

View of the Musee des Arts decoratifs, a decorative arts museum in Paris
EQRoy / Shutterstock

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, known in English as the Museum of Decorative Arts, is unique in that its emphasis is so great on objets d’art instead of more traditional art forms. 

Situated in the western wing of the Louvre, the museum is a spectacle for those who enjoy the finer details. 

The museum houses decorative arts and design, fashion and textiles, rare documents, and posters from various eras. 

So, if you want to see a Robe à la française, an Art Nouveau poster, and a vase from the 18th century, you have come to the right place! 

The museum houses a jewelry gallery, two floors dedicated to furniture, ceramics, advertising posters, and fashion, and floors devoted to modern and contemporary furniture. 

There is also a library with extensive works, including 120,000 books and exhibition catalogs. Seventeen thousand rare books from the 15th century and onwards are included in this collection. 

22. Pasteur Museum

Facade of the historic building of the Institut Pasteur, one of the best museums in Paris
HJBC / Shutterstock

The Pasteur Museum is located in the former home of Louis Pasteur. If you didn’t know, Louis was the French chemist who invented pasteurization, which was named after him. 

He is also partly responsible for developing vaccines against rabies, anthrax, and fowl cholera.

This is a fascinating visit for those interested in science and history. The house where he lived in his later years has been made to look exactly as it did when he lived in it. 

The ground floor of the house constitutes a Byzantine-style funerary chapel. 

This was at the behest of his wife, who wanted his body to be at peace in his home rather than at the Panthéon as the government had wanted. His wife was later laid to rest at the foot of the altar. 

At the museum, you can see Louis Pasteur’s study, his science collections room, and his private living quarters. It certainly is one of the most unique Paris museums out there!

23. Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts)

The Musee des Arts et Metiers is an industrial design museum in Paris
R.Nagy / Shutterstock

Founded in 1794 by Henri Grégoire, this science museum of technological innovation is Europe’s first of its kind.

The museum has over 80,000 objects and 15,000 drawings in its permanent collection, of which about 2,500 are on display in Paris.

Some of its highlights on permanent display include the original model of the Statue of Liberty, some of the first planes made, and the first mechanical calculator.

Address: 60 Rue Réaumur, 75003 Paris, France

More Paris Museums Worth Mentioning

Gustave Moreau Museum

Musée de l’Armée

Palais de Tokyo

Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine

Musée d’Art Naïf Max Fourny

Musée Nissim de Camondo

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais

Petit Palais

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23 Absolute Best Museums in Paris, From Louvre to Curie Museum

1. Musée d’Orsay (Orsay Museum)

2. Louvre Museum

3. Quai Branly Museum

4. Musée de la Vie Romantique

5. Musée National D’Art Moderne De Paris (Modern Art Museum)

6. Musée De l’Orangerie

7. Musée Marmottan Monet

8. Musée Rodin

9. Musée Curie (Curie Museum)

10. Picasso Museum

11. Louis Vuitton Foundation

12. Musée Des Beaux-Arts (City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts)

13. National Museum of Natural History

14. Dalí Museum

15. Maison De Balzac (Balzac’s House)

16. Cluny Museum

17. Musée Bourdelle (Bourdelle Museum)

18. Centre Pompidou

19. Musée Jacquemart-André (Jacquemart-André Museum)

20. European House of Photography

21. Musée des Arts Décoratifs

22. Pasteur Museum

23. Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts)

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