10 Museums You Must Visit In Paris

Step back in time to discover the City of Light’s art and history

The French capital is a true thrill for culture cravers. There are so many fascinating things to do in Paris, and its museums are world-class: choose from Picasso’s mind-bending artwork, the joys of the Impressionists and the creepy Catacombs. A handy museum pass can get you into over 50 attractions for less than $80, so what are you waiting for? Lean more about our top picks here:

1. Famous faces at the Louvre

We’ll start with one of the world’s leading art galleries: the Louvre Museum Paris. It’s renowned for its iconic glass pyramid and some of the most famous – and priceless! – paintings on the planet. It’s also right in the heart of the city, on the banks of the glittering River Seine.

If you’re keen to get up close and personal with Da Vinci’s enigmatic Mona Lisa but don’t want the queues, pre-book a Museum Pass to enjoy priority access.


2. Pay homage to Pablo at the Picasso Museum Paris

Pablo Picasso was a bit of a trailblazer in the world of modern art. To find out why, take a trip to the Musée Picasso. This dream-like gallery houses everything from casual sketches to giant masterpieces. There are more than 5,000 weird and wonderful works to see, including Cubist and Surrealist paintings as well as 1950s Pop Art sculptures.

3. Seine-side culture at the Musée d’Orsay

Musée d’Orsay is on the Seine’s famous Left Bank and is a pretty impressive sight. In an old railway station, this spacious museum pays homage to the French greats. Take a morning to explore and you’ll find everything from classic Rodin sculptures to works by the likes of Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh.

Round off your visit with a scenic River Seine lunch or dinner cruise and tempt your taste buds with Parisian treats as you enjoy views of the Notre-Dame, Eiffel Tower and Le Grand Palais.

4. Eye-catching architecture at the Centre Pompidou

If innovative architecture is your thing, then the Centre Pompidou should be on your hit list. With a unique exterior in the style of a futuristic exoskeleton, this intriguing place stands out from the more classical Parisian buildings. Inside, you’ll find a modern art museum, a music centre and, right up on the rooftop, a restaurant where you can dine and sip cocktails with views over the skyline.

Head straight to the front of the line with the Centre Pompidou with your Museum Pass!


5. The Petit Palais – small only in name

Don’t be fooled: the Petit Palais isn’t as small as it sounds! In fact, this art museum has a huge variety of works – ranging from sculptures and paintings to tapestries and jewellery – by artists such as Cézanne, Dürer and Delacroix. Its Beaux-Arts building is worth an Instagram story in itself, with an enormous front archway and a picturesque courtyard at the centre.

This cultural hub just a short walk from the stately Eiffel Tower, so grab a skip-the-line entry ticket and ascend up the city’s tallest monument. See if you can spot the Petit Palais from the top!

6. International innovation at Palais de Tokyo

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Palais de Tokyo was dedicated to works from the East. In reality, this modern museum is a dynamic exhibition space for international artists and the largest centre for contemporary artistic creation in Europe. It actually got its quirky title from the former street name, Avenue de Tokio – now Avenue de New York!

You can get here on the handy Paris Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off tour, which goes right past the museum’s front door.

7. Greenery and scenery at the Musée du Quai Branly

With much of its exterior consumed by greenery, the Musée du Quai Branly is a feast for the eyes. Sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, this central museum showcases indigenous art from Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas. You’ll find items such as traditional (and sometimes scary!) masks, intricate carvings and ornate jewellery.

If the museum’s landscaped gardens leave you craving more natural beauty, use a Paris Visite TravelCard to take you to Le Jardin du Luxembourg, the perfect spot for a flower-ringed picnic.

8. Tour the darkness of the Catacombs

Enter the quiet of the Catacombs for a tour of this ancient underground cemetery. As the final resting place of around six million Parisians, it’s pretty different to any other museum you’ll visit in Paris. You can wander through the winding labyrinth of remains, learning about its history and discovering the reasons behind its creation. Macabre? Possibly. Fascinating? Definitely.

Cut to the front of the line when you pre-book your entrance ticket.

9. Immerse yourself in Impressionism at Musée de l’Orangerie

The charming creations of talented Impressionists await at Musée de l’Orangerie. Here, you can see Claude Monet’s eight gigantic Water Lilies murals, alongside scenes by Cézanne, Renoir and Sisley. To fully appreciate the fascinating Impressionism movement, follow your museum tour with a day trip to Chatou Impressionists Island and Musée Marmottan Monet, followed by a gourmet cooking class. Alternatively, you can go on an excursion to Giverny, Monet’s home and gardens, to see the location that inspired many of his masterpieces.

10. Brush up on your military history at Musée de l’Armée

The Musée de l’Armée is a must for anyone interested in all things military. It showcases a range of weapons, uniforms and world war artefacts. You can even see the imposing tomb of Napoleon, one of France’s most infamous rulers: his sarcophagus sits on a green granite pedestal in the Chapel of the Invalides.

If you buy the Paris Museum Pass online, you can swiftly swerve the queues and start exploring. Maybe you’re still wondering exactly how much this pass costs? The cheapest starts from $50 and gets you unlimited entry over two days to more than 50 attractions.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg (or should that be the Eiffel Tower?!)

For more information on what to see in Paris, check out the other tours available.


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