Nothing quite screams ‘visiting Paris’ like a classic museum. The capital city is packed with attractions and activities, whether you want to cruise the Seine or visit the exhibits in the Eiffel Tower. The city is famed for its arts – hosting museums showcasing Asian arts, indigenous art, post-impressionist art, and decorative arts. And Paris is a firm favorite for history lovers, with a wealth of World War II history and even tales of Napoleon Bonaparte and the gruesome French Revolution. That’s all without considering landmarks with their own museum section, like the Arc de Triomphe and exhibits within the Eiffel Tower.
Most people visit Paris for a long weekend. If you have even just 2 to 3 days in Paris, these Paris museums should be at the top of your itinerary. The best part is, depending on where you stay in Paris, you can walk to these museums or catch a quick Metro ride. The best museums in Paris are waiting for you, easy to access and full of fascinating collections.
Best Paris Museums: 20 Amazing Museums in Paris
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the most incredible Paris museums. Get ready to see everything from a Paul Guillaume collection to wax museum exhibits and the jewel of the Louvre itself – the iconic Mona Lisa. The chance to visit a museum in Paris is not something to pass up on. After reading this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to form a museum itinerary of a lifetime.
Get the Paris Museum Pass – Choose from 2,4 or 6 days with access to more than 60 of the top monuments and museums in Paris, including the Louvre and Versailles, and visit the Centre Pompidou.
1. Musée d’Orsay
Musée d’Orsay is nothing short of artistic magic. The grand museum is set in a former railway station, with humongous glass ceilings and one of the most famous clocks in the world. You can head directly to the top floor to peer out from behind the glass clock face – admiring the Paris cityscape below. Of course, people don’t just visit Musée d’Orsay for its architecture, despite this being a big draw. It is also one of the most respected Paris museums. Musée d’Orsay has a vast permanent collection of 19th to 20th-century European art.
Musée d’Orsay hosts art spanning from the years 1848 to 1914. Guests can admire artwork by big names such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Rodin. In short, it is a collection of all the greatest names in the art world. You can also view specific pieces, like The Starry Night and Van Gogh’s iconic self-portrait. We just had to include it. Musée d’Orsay is exceptional, from its unique setting to its valuable exhibits. Included in the Paris Museum Pass.
Address: Esplanade Valery Giscard d’Estaing, 75007, Paris, France Opening Times: 9:30 am until 6 pm Tuesday to Sunday, staying open until 9:45 pm on Thursdays. Closed Mondays. Admission Cost: $15 via the official site.
2. Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Who doesn’t get blown away by decorative arts? Musée des Arts Décoratifs is one of Paris’s most imposing-looking, palatial museum buildings – which is saying something. And inside, it hosts over 6,000 different objects in a collection of haute couture. Musée des Arts Décoratifs sits just outside the Louvre, overlooking Jardins des Tuileries. It is an accessible museum to combine with a visit to the Louvre or Musée de l’Orangerie.
Inside, there’s everything from jewelry, lighting, fine furniture, crystals, and mannequins. This Paris museum is somewhere to visit if you admire the fine things in life. Its exhibits are elegant, with a serious wow factor. Anyone interested in history, fashion, and art will appreciate this museum. Watch for the Iris Van Herpen exhibit, which is a firm favorite.
Address: 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001, Paris, France. Opening Times: 11 am until 6 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Admission Cost: $15 per person via the official site.
3. Musée de l’Orangerie
Musée de l’Orangerie is another Paris favorite. This museum houses a world-renowned 20th-century European art collection, most famous for its Monet water lily murals. Think chunky framed paintings and a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibitions. While this museum is only small compared to some other art museums in Paris, its compact size makes it easy for visitors. It also experiences fewer crowds than its neighboring Louvre Museum.
The best thing to see inside the Musée de l’Orangerie is the Monet water lily murals collection. This is a bucket-list-worthy piece for any art enthusiast. The piece stretches around a vast curved wall – a sole exhibit in a plain white room that is said to evoke the feeling of an oasis in the middle of Paris. Musée de l’Orangerie is the place to visit if you have a passion for the arts.
Address: Jardin des Tuileries, 75001, Paris, France Opening Times: Open 9 am until 6 pm Wednesday until Monday, staying open until 9 pm on Fridays. Closed Tuesdays. Admission Cost: $12 per person via the official site.
4. Grand Palais
The Grand Palais may be closed for renovations until later in 2024, but this art nouveau hall just had to be mentioned in this guide. The structure was created in 1900, and its bold, columned exterior and greenhouse-like ceiling are a much-loved sight in Paris. The Grand Palais famously hosts a quickfire rotation of temporary exhibitions, from Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso to an exposition on Prosper Merimee. If you like the sound of an ever-evolving and shifting arts center, the Grand Palais should be at the top of your must-visit.
You never quite know what you will expect, which is half of the allure. Check out the official site and see what exhibits coincide with your trip. We’ll excitedly await its highly anticipated 2024 reopening.
Address: 3 Avenue du General Eisenhower, 75008, Paris, France Opening Times: Temporarily closed, reopening later in 2024. Admission Cost: N/A – varies depending on the exhibit.
5. Musée National d’Art Moderne
Technically, this museum is the Centre Pompidou. The Musée National d’Art Moderne – a national modern art museum – is set within the bowels of Paris’ famed Centre Pompidou. It covers the 20th to 21st-century history of modern and contemporary European art, including avant-garde and impressionist art. You’ll find a mix of different contemporary artists. Musée National d’Art Moderne covers some of the latest art history compared to other Paris museums.
Musée National d’Art Moderne is set across two floors in the Centre Pompidou, 4th and 5th. The 4th level has contemporary art from the 1960s onwards while the 5th floor has modern art from 1905 to 1965. Make sure to see Xavier Veilhan’s Le Rhinoceros and Donald Judd’s Stack, which resemble a seemingly floating Jenga-like pile of squares in the minimalism section.
This vast complex also houses a massive library and music center in the Center Pompidou. The building is best known for its exterior, though, with a dramatic exterior staircase jutting up its wall. The design makes it look like the Centre Pompidou is constantly under scaffolding, with a network of criss-crossing metal bars. The Centre Pompidou is a modernist-looking building, and its architecture makes it an attraction in its own right. You can easily snap pictures for free from the outside before visiting the National Museum of Modern Art. It is included in the Paris Museum Pass.
Address: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004, Paris, France Opening Times: 11 am until 9 pm from Monday until Sunday, opening until 11 pm on Thursdays. Admission Cost: $15 per person via the official site. It is included in the Paris Museum Pass.
6. Rodin Museum
Rodin Museum is an easy pick when planning a Paris itinerary. This Paris museum has a specific niche – sculptures within a glorious 18th-century mansion. It is the world’s biggest collection of Rodin’s sculptures, all laid out across a serene, manicured garden and airy halls within the mansion. The museum features some incredible sculptured scenes. There’s something just extra engaging about sculptures. And if you aren’t usually an art enthusiast, the extra immersive quality behind 3D exhibits might win you over.
If you could only see one exhibit in the Rodin Museum, make it The Thinker. This sculpture is Rodin’s most iconic work. Take advantage of admiring pieces by other artists, too, as the Rodin Museum offers a few exhibits from other artists such as Van Gogh. Think of it as the cherry on top.
Address: 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007, Paris, France Opening Times: Open 10 am until 6:30 pm from Tuesday until Sunday, closed Mondays. Admission Cost: $15 per person via the official site.
7. Louis Vuitton Foundation
This futuristic modern art museum is one of the most bizarre-looking Parisian museums. The glass domes look like a Parisian version of the Sydney Opera House. But if you love modern and contemporary art, it is one of the best museums to visit.
You’ll want to spend a while snapping pictures of the Louis Vuitton Foundation’s eccentric exterior. When you finish, though, there’s a beautiful interior waiting area with a mixture of a temporary and permanent collection. The beautiful portrait Ladies and Gentlemen by Andy Warhol and a naturalistic piece showing a brown leaf ensnared within a tree called Acacia e Foglie di Zucca. The museum in Paris has tons of thought-provoking exhibits to admire.
Address: 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi Bois de Boulogne, 75116, Paris, France. Opening Times: 11 am until 8 pm Wednesday until Monday, closed Tuesdays. Admission Cost: $20 per person via the official site, with discounts for under 26s, students, and artists.
8. Petit Palais
Petit Palais is another brilliant museum around the Jardins des Tuileries. The grand building has an imposing entrance with great columns and a palatial quality. As an art museum, it has plenty of famous masterpieces on display, including works by Gustav Courbet and Giovanni Boldini. Make sure to check out the rotation of temporary exhibitions in the museum’s West Wing, which included works by Ilya Repine in the past.
However, while all of this is very impressive, one thing particularly sets Petit Palais aside as an art museum in Paris. It is totally free to enter. You can add this art museum to your list of the best free things to do in Paris, and it is an easy way to spend a couple of hours entertained with high-caliber artwork.
Address: Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008, Paris, France. Opening Times: 10 am until 6 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. 10 am until 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Closed on Mondays. Admission Cost: Free.
9. Musée National Picasso-Paris
Musée National Picasso-Paris is set in an awe-inspiring 17th-century building and hosts one of the world’s largest collections of Picasso works. And if that sentence didn’t sell you, we don’t know what will. Pablo Picasso is easily one of the most well-respected artists of all time. An international superstar, Picasso was a leading artist of the 20th century and co-founded the Cubist movement.
Inside, you can view pieces by Picasso and by other artists like Sophie Calle to celebrate Picasso’s life and achievements. Don’t miss the blue-painted rooms marking Picasso’s incredible Blue Period. The museum’s collection is a beautiful ode to the late artist, with an autobiographical museum layout.
Address: 5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003, Paris, France. Opening Times: Open 10:30 am to 6 pm from Tuesday until Sunday. Closed on Mondays. Admission Cost: $15 per person via the official site.
10. Musée du Quai Branly
If indigenous art is more up your street, this is the art museum in Paris for you. This art museum was founded by Jean Nouvel, and it boldly celebrates contemporary art and culture from communities across Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Quai Branly Museum in Paris addresses artwork by analyzing historical, religious, social, and cultural influences. And it provides a fascinating platform for indigenous culture and artists in Paris’s heart.
We’d recommend a visit if you’d prefer to push aside classics like Claude Monet and embrace a more international art collection. The museum is conveniently located right at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, making it an easy addition to your itinerary. And the sheer amount of fascinating exhibits and pieces makes it well worth a visit.
Address: 37 Quai Jacques Chirac, 75007, Paris, France. Opening Times: Open 10:30 am until 7 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Open 10:30 am until 10 pm on Thursdays and closed on Mondays. Admission Cost: $15 per person via the official site.
11. Musée Nissim de Camondo
Musée Nissim de Camondo is a homely museum showcasing residential finery like 18th-century French furniture and decorative art furnishings. The Bella Epoque museum is set in an elegant mansion on the outskirts of Parc Monceau, and it is a highly photogenic place to spend an afternoon. This stunning museum in Paris has luxury and movie-set-style scenery at every turn. If you want to feel like you are stepping back to experience the ultimate 18th-century wealth, this is the spot for it.
Get ready to channel your inner Marie Antoinette. There’s everything from elegantly laden white cloth dinner tables to a grand sweeping staircase to make a dramatic entrance. Don’t miss out on getting the audio guide, which brings the beautiful set to life with stories and background history.
Address: 63 Rue de Monceau, 75008, Paris, France Opening Times: Open 10 am until 5:30 pm from Wednesdays to Sundays. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission Cost: $12 per person via the official site.
12. Louvre Museum
Who hasn’t thought of visiting the Louvre when it comes to the best Parisian museums? The Louvre is the most visited museum in Paris and most known for its grand glass pyramid. The former palace was built on the city’s outskirts to allow royals time to escape any nasty riots. However, it is now one of the most recognized art museums worldwide. There’s everything from Leonardo da Vinci’s artwork to Roman sculptures. Plus, it is the largest museum on Earth by square meter exhibition space.
Out of all the exhibits in the Louvre, you have to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. This is one of the most famous portraits of all time. Despite many visitors commenting on how small it is in reality, it is easily a bucket list piece of artwork to see in person. The Louvre also opens at night on select evenings, one of the best things to do in Paris at night. Could you see the Mona Lisa outside the usual hours?
Address: Louvre Museum, 75001, Paris, France. Opening Times: Open 10 am until 6 pm from Wednesday to Monday, staying open later (until 9:45 pm) on Fridays and closing on Tuesdays. Admission Cost: $17 per person via the official website.
13. Musée du Luxembourg
Passionate about 20th-century painting and female artists? Musée du Luxembourg is the Paris museum best suited to you. The museum is beautifully located in the Jardin du Luxembourg. It opts out of the classic permanent exhibition style of museum running, instead typically offering two annual exhibitions. For 2024, this will be Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso and Match – an exhibition analyzing the future of the relationship between design and sport. This is, of course, inspired by the Olympics.
For Musée du Luxembourg, we’d highly suggest checking ahead to see if the exhibition interests you. If not, we’d still recommend visiting the gorgeous Jardin du Luxembourg, where you can admire the museum’s exterior for free while enjoying walks amongst flowerbeds.
Address: 12 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006, Paris, France. Opening Times: Opens 10:30 am until 7 pm from Tuesday until Sunday, and 10:30 am until 10 pm on Mondays. Admission Cost: $15
14. Musée Carnavalet
Musée Carnavalet is another one of Paris’ gems. Why? This museum is built into two neighboring Parisian mansions, providing a dramatically elegant setting. Visitors enjoy a fascinating mix of art and history exhibits from the 16th and 17th centuries. This includes Marcel Proust’s bedroom, historical paintings, and stories from the French Revolution. Don’t miss the manicured garden, which has a hedge maze.
The Carnavalet Museum is a beautiful place to visit in Paris. The mansion setting gives the museum the feeling of exploring a private collection. And moreover, it is actually free to visit – making it one of the best free things to do in Paris.
Address: 23 Rue de Sevigne, 75003, Paris, France. Opening Times: Open 10 am until 6 pm from Tuesday until Sunday. Closed Mondays. Admission Cost: Free
15. Musée de l’Homme
An anthropology museum might not be the first place you’d expect to visit in Paris. However, if you enjoy human history, it’s easily one of the leading Paris museums. The museum was established in 1937, and its name roughly translates as the ‘Museum of Humanity.’ It is a mix of natural history exhibits and storytelling about the people that inhabited Europe. There’s a permanent collection and rotating temporary exhibitions, like Lekha Singh – Women Carry The World and Picasso and Prehistory.
We’d suggest checking ahead to see what exhibits coincide with your trip to Paris. Keep your eye out for the Incan mummy, too, which is labeled as the ‘movie chachapoya.’ The Museum of Humanity is easily one of the most surprising and varied Parisian museums, so we just had to add it to this guide. Nothing else covers such diverse human history like it in the French capital.
Address: 17 Place du Trocadero et du 11 Novembre, 75116, Paris, France. Opening Times: Open 11 am until 7 pm from Wednesday to Monday. Closed on Tuesdays. Admission Cost: $15 per person, but free for students.
16. Musée Marmottan Monet
Musée Marmottan Monet is unique because it is the world’s largest collection of Claude Monet works. Claude Monet is one of the most major impressionist artists of all time. He is especially respected for his garden and landscape works, where he perfectly combines capturing mood and nature. This art museum is – almost entirely – dedicated to Claude Monet. You can walk through spacious exhibition rooms, admiring heavy gold framed paintings, including some of Monet’s famed water lily scenes.
Musée de Orangerie is better if you want to see the vast display of the Claude Monet water lilies. Still, Musée Marmottan Monet offers much more variety in terms of Monet’s works. If you are an art enthusiast, you’ll get a more in-depth look at Monet and his work at Musée Marmottan Monet.
Address: 2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016, Paris, France. Opening Times: Open from 10 am until 6 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Open later (until 9pm) on Thursdays and closed on Mondays. Admission Cost: $15 per person via the official site.
17. Musée Grevin
Are you ready for one of the most fun Paris museums? This museum’s collection is almost entirely wax figures, depicting a mixture of French historical figures and modern celebrities. Musée Grevin is like Madame Tussauds but upscale Paris style. The figures are set in a dramatically luxurious setting, with checkered floors and high vaulted ceilings coated in gold. You wander through the grandeur – making the presence of celebrities and historical figures even more believable.
The wax figures include people like Lionel Messi (with his hands up in celebration), Marilyn Monroe, and even that squirrel off of Ice Age, who spends the whole time chasing a nut. The range of figures and characters makes Musée Grevin appealing to all ages.
This is one of the most family-friendly Paris museums, which is worth a mention. We’d highly recommend it when visiting Paris with young teenagers. And it is an excellent compromise for those wanting to lighten the mood after historical attractions in Paris.
Address: 10 Bd Montmartre, 75009, Paris, France. Opening Times: Open 10 am until 6 pm from Monday until Friday and 9:30 am until 7 pm on the weekend. Admission Cost: $19 per person via the official site.
18. Musée de Cluny
Musée de Cluny is one of the most unusual Paris museums. This museum is the National Museum of the Middle Ages – displaying everything from history to medieval art. The impressive collection includes tapestries, crafts, and more. It is a fascinating insight into the medieval period. And if you are passionate about early history, it is part history and part art museum. In short, the National Museum of the Middle Ages is a must-visit.
Of all the museum exhibits, make sure to see the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry room. Nothing quite summarises the medieval period like an excellent old tapestry. This room in the art museum contains six beautiful tapestries in total, all kept in low lighting to prevent damage. It is a magical experience with a real sense of atmosphere. To be transported back to the Middle Ages, the Lady and the Unicorn room is by far our favorite.
Address: 28 Rue du Sommerard, 75005, Paris, France. Opening Times: Open 9:30 am until 6:15 pm, Tuesday until Sunday. Closed Mondays. Admission Cost: $15 per person via the official site.
19. Eiffel Tower
If natural history and art aren’t your thing, head to the beautiful Eiffel Tower. Nothing compares to this giant structure. And over the centuries, the tower has become synonymous with Paris. If you want to experience Paris, head to this world-famous tower. You can catch the elevator up the building, stopping to see the exhibits in the upper tiers before admiring the views over Paris.
The exhibits in the tower tell the story of the development of Paris’ cityscape. It also tells of Gustave Eiffel’s mission in building the tower, which is an interesting backstory for anyone scaling this structure. Historical exhibits, stories, and great views – what more could you want? It doesn’t get much better than standing on the top tiers of Paris’ wonderful landmark tower.
Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue, Anatole France, 75007, Paris, France. Opening Times: Open 9:30 am until 10:45 pm from Monday until Sunday. Admission Cost: $15 per person via the official site.
20. Catacombs of Paris
While not a traditional museum, we just had to include the Catacombs of Paris in this guide. These hallowed tunnels run for miles under Paris, and a small section is open for tourism. You head underground via a steep flight of stairs, entering several exhibit rooms explaining the history of the catacombs. From there, you enter the tunnels, famously lined by an ornate mixture of skulls and bones. The catacombs are dimly lit by yellow-tinged lighting, and the whole scene is ridiculously atmospheric.
If you want a Paris museum with a ‘bite,’ the Catacombs of Paris offers a huge chunk of cultural history. It is ideal for someone after a museum experience outside of admiring traditional artwork. Make sure to snap a few pictures of this gruesome-looking labyrinth.
Address: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014, Paris, France. Opening Times: 9:45 am until 8:30 pm from Tuesday until Sunday. Closed Mondays. Admission Cost: $28 per person via the official site.
If you plan to see a lot of museums in Paris, the Paris Museum Pass is a great option. It offers skip-the-line entry to more than 60 museums. You can choose from 2, 4 or 6 days. See more details here.
Best Museums in Paris: FAQs
As you can see, the Paris museums are super unique. Whether you love contemporary art or want to admire stained glass windows and ornate architecture, the French capital has a museum to get your heart fluttering. Paris also has some of the most beautiful museum buildings, hosting exhibits everywhere, from a former railway station to an ex-palace.
Before you head off, though, remember to look at these common FAQs. This is a great section to condense the information we’ve just given you.
What museums are a must-see in Paris?
The Louvre, Musée de l’Orangerie, and Musée d’Orsay are all must-visits in Paris. This famous trio is the classic selection of art museums, with a brilliant collection of permanent and temporary exhibitions. You should also stop by the iconic Eiffel Tower with historical exhibits on its upper floors.
Is the Picasso Museum Paris worth it?
Absolutely, the Picasso Museum is a beautiful ode to Pablo Picasso and his iconic works. Any art enthusiast should prioritize a visit.
What museum in France do tourists visit most?
The Louvre is easily France’s most famous museum. The glass-shaped pyramid is a postcard image of Paris, and the Louvre houses the famous Mona Lisa portrait – meaning it attracts millions of tourists annually.
What are the three musees in Paris?
The top three most visited museums in Paris are the Louvre Museum, Musée d’Orsay, and Pompidou.
Feeling inspired? Paris is the city of inspiration when it comes to museums and sightseeing. Location-wise, many of the museums are located around the Eiffel Tower. You can wander along the River Seine, walking the famed stretch between Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. From here, you can access the Musée de l’Homme, Musée du Quai Branly, Petit Palaias, Musée de l’Orangerie, Louvre Museum, and numerous fashion museums like La Galerie Dior. If you are stuck for time, check out our ultimate one-day itinerary and prioritize this section of Paris. The high concentration of museums in this area of Paris means you can easily combine a couple in one day.
You may have the opposite situation. Do you have more than three days in Paris? Then, use your time wisely by heading out of the city center for a day. We’ve got an entire guide on the best day trips in Paris. Expand your knowledge outside the confines of an inner-city museum, and balance your stay by venturing out on a day trip.
Paris is an incredible city. When it comes to exhibits and stories, Paris takes preservation exceptionally seriously. We hope you have a wonderful time experiencing the best museums in Paris.