Paris is a top Europe travel destination that is rich in history and culture, and there are many museums in the city that can be visited to learn more about both. The best museums in Paris are not only interesting, but they also offer beautiful architecture and stunning works of art.
While there are many things to do in Paris, one good way to dive into the city’s roots is by visiting some of the Paris museums on offer and immersing yourself in some fun learning experiences.
Paris Museum Pass
Before exploring the museums in Paris, you should know that the city of Paris have a Paris Museum pass which covers over 60 museums in the city including the top favorites like The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and Centre Pompidou.
This means that with the pass, you can get free admission to these museums and some even with priority fast track entry. The pass is available in 2,4,6 day periods, so you can choose the one most suited to your itinerary and travel plans.
Check out the Paris Museum Pass beforehand as it can provide some significant time and cost savings if you are planning on visiting museums in Paris.
Alternatively, the city also has a Paris Pass that covers various attractions and tours across the city. They work similarly within a specific time period and give you entry to some top attractions and transportation options to facilitate your stay in Paris.
Top Paris Museums
For the hasty readers that don’t want to run through everything, here are 5 of the best museums in Paris that you should definitely check out. And you should probably get tickets beforehand because they tend to draw a big crowd and long queues.
Louve, Catacombs, Orsay, Centre, Versaille
Most Famous Museum in Paris
Musee du Louvre
Without a doubt, the Louvre is the most famous museum in not just France, but probably even in the world. The unique pyramid architecture and impressive collections make it one of the core landmarks in Paris. It is also one of the most visited art museums globally.
Located in the heart of Paris on the Right Bank of the Seine, it is home to some of the most iconic works of art in history, including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Liberty Leading the People.
Founded in 1793, the Louvre is the largest art museum in the world, with a collection that spans centuries and cultures. From Renaissance to Baroque art, you can spend days here appreciating the masterpieces.
In addition to paintings, sculptures, and objets d’art, the museum also has an extensive collection of Egyptian antiquities.
The Mona Lisa is the most famous piece here and often draws a huge crowd. You definitely want to get your ticket in advance to avoid queueing for a long time.
Location: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Art Museums In Paris
Housed in a building that is an attraction in itself, the Centre Pompidou has been one of Paris’ most-visited museums since it opened its doors in 1977.
The brainchild of then-President Georges Pompidou, the museum was designed by an architecture team including Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers with the intention of housing the largest public collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe.
The building is instantly recognizable with its exposed steel structure and multi-colored exterior elevators and staircases.
Inside, there are five floors of galleries devoted to art from the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as a library, bookshop, auditorium, and rooftop terrace with great views.
The collection includes works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, Georges Rouault, František Kupka, and many more. Get a skip-the-line ticket to get entry to this popular Paris museum and start exploring quickly.
Location: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
If the Centre Pompidou is devoted to modern art, then the Musée d’Orsay is its natural counterpart with a collection of art from the Impressionists onwards.
This former railway station was converted into a museum in 1986 to house the world’s largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art.
With work by masters like Van Gogh, Manet, Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir and Gauguin, the Musee d’Orsay is an art lover’s paradise.
Don’t miss the Van Gogh collection, which includes the artist’s self-portrait as well as works like Starry Night Over the Rhone and Bedroom in Arles.
Also on display are Renoir’s Dance at le Moulin de la Galette, as well as Cézanne’s Apples and Oranges.
Grab a reserved ticket in advance to plan your visit and save time.
Location: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
Musee de L’Orangerie
This unassuming museum is located in the Tuileries Gardens, between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. The Neoclassical building was built in 1852. It was initially constructed to protect the orange trees in the Tuileries, and is today a gallery known for both impressionist and post-impressionist art.
The museum’s main attraction is a series of water lilies paintings by Claude Monet, which were designed to flow seamlessly around the curve of the walls.
You can also see works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. There are also temporary exhibitions as well as larger-scale pieces and monographic galleries to discover. Get tickets online for quicker access.
Location: Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France
The Rodin Museum is one of the most interesting museums in Paris, and it’s easy to see why. Housed in a beautiful 18th-century mansion, the museum is dedicated to the work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, who is best known for his work The Thinker.
The Musee Rodin was actually once the artist’s house, which he lived in from 1908 until his death in 1917.
The museum has two sites – the Hôtel Biron where Rodin lived and worked, and a smaller section known as the Villa des Brillants. The Hôtel Biron houses many of Rodin’s most famous sculptures, including The Thinker, The Kiss, The Gates of Hell, and Balzac.
The Villa des Brillants is a smaller section that was once a private art gallery. It now contains works by Rodin’s contemporaries, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Vincent van Gogh.
Get a ticket to explore the main gallery in Hôtel Biron, beautiful sculpture garden, and temporary exhibitions.
Location: 77 rue de Varenne; Paris, France
It’s taken a while, but Paris finally has a worthy Picasso museum.
Housed in the 16th-century Hôtel Salé, the building itself is almost worth the entrance fee. But it’s the work inside that is most impressive, with some 5,000 or so pieces on show, making it the largest public collection of Picasso’s work in the world.
Some of the iconic pieces include his self-portrait as well as the Homme à la Mandoline, the Demoiselles d’Avignon, and more.
You’ll find paintings from every period of his career, as well as sculpture, ceramics, drawings, and photographs. It is almost like getting a glimpse of the artist’s creative thought process.
And if you want to see where he lived in Paris, head to the nearby Bateau Lavoir, the ramshackle building in Montmartre where he and his peers hung out.
Get a priority ticket to uncover the genius behind this renowned artists.
Address: 5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris
Musee du Quai Branly
The Musée du Quai Branly is one of Paris’ newer museums, having only opened in 2006. Located near the Eiffel Tower, the museum is devoted to ‘the arts and civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas’.
In other words, it’s a showcase for the non-European art that was collected by French explorers and missionaries during the colonial era. Most of these pieces ranges from the Neolithic period to the 20th century.
One of the museum’s standout features is its architecture, which was designed by French starchitect Jean Nouvel. But the collection is also impressive, with some 3500 objects on display, including masks, sculptures, textiles, and jewelry.
Get a ticket online to explore the indigenous culture from all over the world.
Location: 37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris, France
Fondation Louis Vuitton
The Foundation Louis Vuitton is a relative newcomer to the Paris museum scene, having only opened its doors in 2014. But what it lacks in history it makes up for in architecture, with a stunning building designed by Frank Gehry that resembles ship sails or billowing clouds, depending on how you look at it.
The foundation is devoted to contemporary art, with temporary exhibitions of work by the likes of Cindy Sherman, James Turrell, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. The interior is modern and spacious.
And if you need a break from all the art, there’s a beautiful 12-hectare garden to explore, or you can simply enjoy the views over Paris from the terrace.
Get a skip-the-line ticket to visit this stunning and modern museum in Paris.
Location: 8 Av. du Mahatma Gandhi, 75016 Paris, France
This beautiful museum is located in an 18th-century townhouse that was once the home of art collectors Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart. The couple were avid art collectors, and their former home is now a museum that houses their impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, and objets d’art.
The lavish interior of the museum and former home is also stunning and worth a visit in itself. You can get a ticket online for convenient access. There is also an option to get an audio guide to understand more about the place, and explore the museum at your own pace.
Location: 158 Bd Haussmann, 75008 Paris, France
Petit Palais (Museum of Fine Arts)
This beautiful Belle Époque building was built for the 1900 World’s Fair, and today houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts.
The permanent collection includes paintings, sculptures, furniture, and objets d’art from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century.You’ll find works by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, and many more.
Some of the popular masterpieces include a self-portrait of Rembrandt, Soleil Couchant sur la Seine by Claude Monet, and Charles-Alexandre Giron’s La Parisienne
There is also a pretty garden with a cafe, which is the perfect place to rest your feet after a few hours of walking around the museum.
Location: Avenue Winston-Churchill 75008 Paris
Palais de Tokyo
This modern and contemporary art museum is located in the 16th arrondissement, in the same building as the Museum of Modern Art.
The Palais de Tokyo was built for the Universal Exposition of 1937, and today it is one of the city’s leading contemporary art museums. The museum has two floors of exhibition space, as well as a cafe, restaurant, and bookshop.
Temporary exhibitions are devoted to specific artists or topics, while the permanent collection includes works by Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons, among others.
The museum is also home to the Tokyo Art Club and an event space called The Yoyo. It is a popular nightspot that hosts DJ sets and live music performances, as well as more classic events like conferences and fashion shows.
Location: 13 Av. du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is housed in a converted Art Nouveau building. The museum opened in 1961 and features an impressive collection of over 10.000 artistic creations from the 20th and 21st-century.
It runs a theme of “One artist, one masterpiece”. The collection includes works by famous artists such as Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque. You’ll also find works by more contemporary artists.
In addition to the permanent collection, there are always temporary exhibitions on display as well.
Location: 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
Musée du Luxembourg
Located in the Luxembourg Gardens, this museum is one of the oldest public museums in France. It was previously housed in the Luxembourg Palace, but today sits in its own building, of what used to be the Orangerie of the Luxembourg Gardens.
This is one of the rare museums in Paris that doesn’t have a permanent exhibition. Instead, they host temporary top-quality exhibitions that change throughout the year which keeps it fresh and exciting.
So when you visit, check out what’s on offer. Or simply drop by for a surprise after enjoying some time at the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens.
The museum also has a lovely tea room and even a workshop space that sometimes hosts fun educational events for kids.
Location: 19 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris, France
History Museums In Paris
This museum is devoted to the history of Paris, and is housed in two adjoining mansions: the Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. It is also one of the oldest museums in Paris.
The museum contains over 600,000 exhibits comprising of paintings, drawings, sculptures, objets d’art, photographs, and archival documents, which chronicle the story of Paris from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Among the highlights are a model of medieval Paris, scale models of 17th- and 18th-century Paris monuments, and artifacts from famous French personalities such as Napolean.
You can learn more about the historical events of Paris here. The museum’s permanent collections are free to visit and it also has a nice garden for relaxing.
Location: 23 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris
Les Invalides Army Museum
This museum is located in the Les Invalides, a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement that includes museums, a church, and a hospital.
The Army Museum was founded in 1804 by Napoleon Bonaparte and is devoted to the history of the French army. It is one of the largest military museums in the world.
The museum has an extensive collection of 500,000 exhibits including weaponry, armour and artillery, as well as uniforms, medals, and other military artifacts. These all aim to give you an idea of France’s military history.
There are also scale models of famous battles, dioramas of life in the trenches during World War I, and a section on the French Foreign Legion.
You can even visit the Dome Church which is home to Napoleon’s Tomb. This is one of the popular attractions in Paris and it is good to get your ticket in advance.
Location: 129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France
Hotel de la Marine
This beautiful 18th-century building on the Place de la Concorde was once the home of the French Navy’s Ministry.
It’s now a museum devoted to maritime history, with exhibitions on everything from ancient shipwrecks to modern-day sailing. You can learn more about the history of the French Navy, with interesting exhibits on maritime exploration and naval battles.
The museum also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions on topics such as the Titanic. The museum is home to many art collections, furniture, and accessories pieces as it housed the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne even before its military past.
The building also has a restaurant, bookstore, and gift shop. You can enjoy some great views of the city and the Eiffel Tower from the terrace. You can visit the museum and also use their audio headsets for a more immersive experience.
Location: 2 Pl. de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, France
Musee Yves Saint Laurent Paris
This relatively new museum that opened in 2017 is devoted to the work of legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
Housed in his beautiful haute couture townhouse on the rue de Babylone, the museum traces the designer’s career from his start at Christian Dior all the way through to his acclaimed haute couture collections. There are also changing exhibitions devoted to fashion and photography spread across the exhibition space.
For a deeper discovery into Yves Saint Laurent’s life, history and works, you can do a guided tour that spans over an hour which includes a look at his studio.
Location: 5 Av. Marceau, 75116 Paris, France
Musee de Montmartre
For a slice of old-school Paris, head to the hilly Montmartre neighbourhood and the Musee de Montmartre.
Housed in the former home and studio of famous painters such as Pierre-Auguste Renior and Suzanne Valadon, the museum offers a rare glimpse into the bohemian lifestyle of late-19th and early-20th century Paris.
Valadon was the first woman to be admitted to the prestigious Académie des Beaux-Arts, and the museum is also a shrine to her life and work, with furnishings, letters, photographs, and paintings on display.
The museum also has an excellent temporary exhibition space which has previously hosted shows on Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and other Parisian painters.
Get an audio guide and learn about this historic area’s cultural and artistic developments throughout the years.
Location: 12 Rue Cortot, 75018 Paris, France
Le Grand Rex
The Grand Rex is a Parisian institution, and not just because it’s the largest cinema in Europe. This art deco behemoth has been screening films since 1932, and today it’s a popular venue for premieres and special screenings.
But the real reason to visit is the behind-the-scenes museum, which gives visitors a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a working cinema. You can see the different film sets, backstage and learn fun facts about the production process.
The museum is located in the basement of the cinema, and it includes original props and costumes, as well as vintage posters and photographs.
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of this historic building that has a significant role in Paris’ entertainment and cinema scene.
Location: 1 Bd Poissonnière, 75002 Paris, France
Food Museums In Paris
Chocolate Museum Paris
For chocolate fans, this will be an interesting museum to visit. The Chocolate Museum is located in the St. Paul district of Paris and is devoted to the history and production of chocolate.
The museum has a collection of antique chocolate-making equipment, as well as exhibits on the history of chocolate and its role in different cultures around the world. From the Aztec origins to the modern-day indulgence, take a trip back in time to see how cocoa came to become one of the tastiest treats in the world.
Visitors can also learn about the process of making chocolate, from bean to bar, and even sample some chocolates. The demonstrations are usually in French but even just watching it is a fascinating or rather soul-calming process. Exhibitions have English descriptions and you can also get an audio guide.
There is a shop on site where you can buy all sorts of chocolate-related products. The museum is open every day except on certain holidays, and tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
Location: 28 Bd de Bonne Nouvelle, 75010 Paris, France
Wine Museum (Guided Tour with Wine Tasting)
The Wine Museum, housed in medieval cellars, is devoted to the history of wine-making in France. The museum has a collection of vintage wines, as well as exhibits on the different wine-growing regions of France and the winemaking process.
Visitors can also learn about the history of French wine and all the tools (past and present) that are used in the process. The museum offers a guided tour with wine tasting, as well as a shop where you can purchase wines and other wine-related products.
If you are not that interested in the whole history and process of wine making, it comes as no surprise that there are many wine tasting sessions and other cellar tours you can do in Paris. Perfect for just indulgence.
Science Museums In Paris
Cite des Science et de l’Industrie
This is one of the largest science museums in Europe featuring a bunch of interactive and immersive exhibits. The hands-on exhibits are great for kids, but there’s plenty here to fascinate adults too, with topics ranging from space exploration to genetics.
The Solar Impulse simulator is a hot favorite for visitors. With tons of exhibits on display, you can explore from deep in the ocean to up in the sky and through to outer space at the Planetarium.
There are also temporary exhibitions on everything from dinosaurs to the human body. The museum is made up of three main pavilions: the Cité des Enfants (City of Children), the Cité des Sciences (City of Science), and the Géode (a giant dome where you can watch movies about space on a hemispherical screen).
Get a ticket, get curious, and get learning on your visit to this Paris Museum.
The museum is located in the Parc de la Villette, northeast of the city center, and is easily accessible by metro.
Location: 30 Av. Corentin Cariou, 75019 Paris, France
Musée National des Arts et Metiers Techniques
The Musée National des Arts et Metiers is one of the lesser-known museums in Paris, but it’s well worth a visit if you’re interested in the history of science and technology. Contrary to its name, it is not as much a art museum but rather one about innovations in our time.
The museum was founded in 1794 and housed in a beautiful 18th-century building. It has more than 2,400 objects on display, ranging from early scientific instruments to more modern inventions. One of the most striking exhibits is the mesmerizing Foucault’s Pendulum.
There are also interactive exhibits, demonstrations, and sometimes workshops, making it a great place to visit with kids as well.
Location: 60 Rue Réaumur, 75003 Paris
Sports Museums In Paris
Parc de Princes
Home to one of the world’s most famous football teams, Paris Saint-Germain, the Parc des Princes is a must-visit for any sports fan. Even if you’re not into football, a tour of the stadium is a great way to learn about the history of the club and see some of the memorabilia on display.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris when PSG are playing at home, then a match is an experience not to be missed. The atmosphere is electric and the fans are some of the most passionate in the world. Even if you don’t understand French, you’ll still be able to follow the action and enjoy the experience.
Location: 24 Rue du Commandant Guilbaud, 75016 Paris, France
Stade de France
The Stade de France is the largest stadium in France, and was built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. It’s located in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis, about 10 minutes by train from Gare du Nord station. The stadium is home to the French national football and rugby teams and has a capacity of over 80,000.
If you’re in town for a match, or just want to take a look around, there are guided tours (in English or French) of the stadium that run every day except match days and on certain holidays. The behind-the-scene tour takes you to the changing rooms, player’s tunnel, VIP areas, and onto the pitch itself.
Location: 93200 Saint-Denis, France
Other Unique Themed Museums In Paris
Grévin Wax Museum
One of Paris’ most unusual museums, the Grévin Wax Museum is well worth a visit if you have an hour or two to spare.
Founded in 1882, it was the first wax museum in Europe and today has over 200 wax figures on display, ranging from French celebrities and historical figures to international stars.
You can see everyone from Marie Antoinette and Napoleon to Marilyn Monroe and Brad Pitt. From historical figures to famous modern-day personalities, choose your stars to have a photo with.
There is also a classy Grévin Theatre where you can catch shows and concerts when there are performances scheduled.
You can get your ticket online to this fun Paris museum where you can get whacky with wax figures.
Location: 10 Bd Montmartre, 75009 Paris, France
SEA LIFE Paris
This is the perfect activity for an indoor day or if you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The SEA LIFE Paris houses more than 2000 creatures from over 350 different species.
From penguins to sharks, seahorses, and stingrays, you can learn about different marine life and also explore a diverse bunch of habitats where these animals thrive.
If you’re visiting with kids, there are plenty of shows, activities, and workshops that they can participate in. Highlights include animal feedings and interactive experiences with the virtual aquarium and I-Sand Creation.
This is a popular aquatic museum in Paris for both locals and travelers. Get your ticket in advance to save some time.
It is also nearby the Paris Disneyland so it can certainly be packaged in together with all the magic and fun!
Location: Ccial Val d’Europe, 14 Cr du Danube, 77700 Serris, France
Cite de l’architecture et du Patrimoine
This little-known museum is a must for anyone with an interest in architecture. Housed in the Palais de Chaillot, the museum has three permanent exhibitions devoted to different aspects of architecture, from historical periods to contemporary trends.
There are also scale models of famous buildings, as well as temporary exhibitions on specific architects or topics. The museum also has an extensive library with over 50,000 books and periodicals on architecture and related subjects.
Location: 1 Pl. du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75116 Paris, France
The Paris Catacombs
How about an underground museum on the darker side of history?
The Paris Catacombs are a network of tunnels and caves under the city that were once used as a burial ground. Today, they’re one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris.
Descend into the depths of the earth and see the bones of more than 6 million people that have been arranged into eerie displays. The catacombs are located in the 14th arrondissement, near the Denfert-Rochereau metro station.
Due to the popularity of the attraction, there is often a long wait to get in. It’s best to buy your ticket in advance or visit first thing in the morning. Once you’re inside, the catacombs are spread out over a huge area, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking.
You can also take a guided tour if you want to hear the stories and history of the place which really adds to the immersive experience.
Location: 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France
Versailles Palace & Gardens
A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the magnificent Palace of Versailles. This is the most popular and impressive among a range of palaces in France.
Located just outside the city, the palace was built in the 17th century for Louis XIV and was intended to be a symbol of his power and wealth.
The palace is opulent in every sense of the word, with gilded furniture, ornate decorations, and grandiose architecture. Don’t miss the famous Hall of Mirrors, which is a dedication to the success of France.
After exploring the palace, take a stroll around the gorgeous gardens, which span 800 hectares and include canals, fountains, sculptures, and perfectly manicured lawns.
Location: Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France
Paris – Getting Around
In addition to the two city passes, here are some useful ways to get around the museums and attractions when traveling in Paris.
- Paris City Pass: Access to over 75 attractions with some skip-the-line privileges.
- Paris Museum Pass: 2,4 or 6 day pass for museum nuts to access to over 80 museums in Paris.
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus: Similar concept to hop-on-hop-off buses in other touristic cities. 1 or 2 day tickets that help you get to different popular attractions and sights in Paris.
- Hop-on-Hop-off Cruise: If you prefer to travel by water, there are 1 or 2 day boat ride passes to help you explore Paris with ease.
- Private Airport Transfer: If you are coming in or leaving by flight, the most convenient option to travel between the CDG Paris airport and city center.
Visiting Famous Museums In Paris
With so many museums in Paris, it can be hard to know what to see and explore. Hopefully, this list of the best museums in Paris gives you an idea of a starting point.
From world-renowned art galleries to lesser-known museums that are off the beaten path, they offer a different perspective of Paris. So whether you’re a history buff or an art lover, there’s much to be discovered in the museums of Paris.