The most interesting museums in Paris – which ones are an absolute must?
Paris is one of the most visited cities in Europe. Its rich history and beautiful sights delight thousands of visitors every day. The Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe or the Sacré-Cœur Basilica are recognizable landmarks all over the world. However, in addition to these, there are many other sights worth visiting in the City of Lights. The French capital is not just a romantic place where you go to stroll in the moonlight. After all, Paris' museums have some of the most valuable works of European and world art in their collections. So which ones are worth visiting? We answer!
Paris - one and only the Louvre!
There is no doubt, the Louvre is the most famous museum in Paris. The ticket prices work wonders here. Admission is free for anyone under the age of 18, also residents of the European Economic Area (this includes the European Union member states, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) up to the age of 26 enter for free. It is necessary to show proof of age. So if you are travelling to the Louvre from the EU and are not yet 26 years old, you will enter the museum for free! Otherwise, you have to pay €15 per ticket. However, this is not a high price - especially when you consider how many amazing works of art you can see in this Parisian museum.
The very building that houses the museum is unique. After all, the Louvre is a former royal palace. It was built in the 12th century, initially as a fortified castle. Two hundred years later, Charles V the Wise moved in, and the building has served as a royal residence ever since. Today, it bears little resemblance to a 12th century fortress; it has been rebuilt dozens of times over the centuries. It is a mix of Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist architecture. Also, because of that, it is by far the most interesting museum in Paris.
So what exhibits are worth seeing in the Louvre? Among the most valuable works of art in the museum's collection are:
a stele with the Code of Hammurabi, dating from around 1700 BC,
Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa,
the famous sculpture of the Venus de Milo,
the stele from the crypt of Osiris,
works by Michelangelo - including The Rebellious Captive,
the throne of Napoleon I.
In addition, the museum displays more than 30,000 other artefacts. Among them are works of art from the Middle East, Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and historic Etruria - for example the Etruscan sarcophagus of a married couple from the 3rd century BC. You can also visit the Islamic Art Department, the extensive Sculpture Department and the Arts and Crafts Department. According to many, however, the most important part of the museum is the Painting Department. This is where you will find the Mona Lisa, as well as more than 6,000 other works of art by major masters such as Albrecht Dürer, Jerome Bosch, Rubens, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Caravaggio. The Louvre is also home to two of Vermeer's thirty-four surviving paintings: The Lacemaker and The Astronomer.
To get the most out of the museum, we recommend that you reserve a minimum of three to four hours to visit the Louvre. However, we are sure that the biggest art lovers will spend much more time there.
Museums of Paris - Orsay
Located on the left bank of the Seine, just one kilometre from the Louvre, the Orsay museum is also a popular tourist destination, with around 4 million visitors a year. Its collections mainly feature French art from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Among other things, you can admire works by the famous Impressionists and Post-Impressionists - including Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Edward Manet, Auguste Renoir, and Vincent van Gogh.
What paintings does the Musée d'Orsay have in its collection? Among the most valuable exhibits of this Parisian museum is van Gogh's Self-Portrait. You will also see Degas' famous Blue Dancers, Monet's Breakfast on the Grass or Renoir's Ball at the Moulin de la Galette.
The Musée d'Orsay is certainly one of the most important museums in Paris. Ticket prices are €16 (or €14 if you choose to buy them on site) for those over 26. Younger residents of European Union countries can visit the museum free of charge. It is worth knowing that on the first Sunday of each month admission is free for all visitors - you just need to book a ticket in advance.
How long does it take to visit the Orsay Museum? Most visitors spend around 3 hours inside. You can find a useful guide at the entrance so you can navigate the building efficiently and see all the exhibits of your interest.
Paris - Museum of contemporary art at the Centre Georges Pompidou
The Paris Museum of Contemporary Art is located in the Centre Georges Pompidou building, in the Beaubourg district. It offers a panoramic view of the city from its roof, and the museum itself occupies the top three floors. What is worth seeing there? It boasts the best collection of contemporary art in all of Europe! Its collection comprises some 15,000 works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries. These include not only paintings (by Picasso or Chagall, among others), but also sculptures, photographs, objects and works related to cinema, design, architecture and new media. Both the permanent exhibition and the interesting temporary exhibitions perfectly demonstrate the dynamic development of art of the past and present century.
Ticket prices for this Parisian contemporary art museum are €15. As with the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, admission is free for EU residents under 26. A visit to the Centre Georges Pompidou usually takes 2.5-3 hours.
Lesser-known museums of Paris - Musée Rodin
The Rodin Museum in Paris is a treat for all lovers of art - especially those who enjoy sculpture. It houses a collection of sculptures and paintings by Auguste Rodin, a French artist who created impressionist works that also contain elements of symbolism. Among the most valuable exhibits are the famous The Thinker, as well as The Kiss and The Gate of Hell. The beautiful gardens at the rear of the building are also worth a visit.
The most interestingmuseums in Paris therefore include not only the world-famous Louvre, but also slightly more intimate venues. The Musée Rodin will certainly have the advantage of smaller crowds of visitors and a shorter tour time (around 2 hours). The cost of admission is €14 per person, besides EU visitors under 26 who will enter the museum for free.
We wish you a great visit and a memorable experience!