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These best museums in Paris, come after the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, two essential Paris experiences.
Best museums in Paris. They are synonymous with a rich and varied trip to the City of Light. There are more museums in Paris (over 130) than you could ever imagine. And new ones keep popping up, like the first one on my “Best Museums in Paris” list.
The Musée du Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay should top your list. These are without a doubt, two of the best museums in Paris.
Once you have dipped your toe in those two best museums in Paris, visit some of the smaller, lesser-known art museums in Paris. There are museums in Paris for everyone’s interest from smoking (haven’t been yet) to fashion to fairgrounds.
Strolling through any of these best museums in Paris opens the mind, feeds the soul, awakens the creative spirit within and launches great conversation.
Here is my guide to 20 of the best museums in Paris, in no particular order.
20 Of The Best Museums In Paris
1. Bourse De Commerce – Pinault Collection
2 rue de Viarmes, Paris, 2nd arrondissement
I love the story of this circular building. I had walked past it many times and wondered about its history and if it was open for exploring. In May 2021, the Bourse de Commerce opened its doors as the newest art museum in Paris.
On this site once stood Catherine de’ Medici’s Palace. The Medici Column in front of the building is the only vestige of the Palace. In 1767 a grain market was created in a circular shape and finally topped by the world’s first and largest metal dome in 1838. The dome is listed as a historical monument. This building also served as a stock exchange.
This art museum in Paris displays the private collection of François Pinault along with exhibitions of contemporary art.
I loved the space. The light from the glass dome, the murals just under the dome, the view from the top floor and don’t miss the double helix staircase. In the grain exchange days, when one worker was carrying sacks of grain up the stairs, he wouldn’t cross with the guy on his way down!
This Paris museum’s website: Bourse de Commerce Pinault Collection
Getting to this Art Museum in Paris: Métro stops: Louvre-Rivoli, Les Halles, Châtelet
2. Best Museums In Paris: Musée Carnavalet
23 rue de Sévigné, Paris, 3rd arrondissement
The Musée Carnavalet is the History of Paris Museum. If you are Paris obsessed like me, you will love it. It is a very large collection (625 000 works) so pace yourself or plan to revisit on another day. It is incredible to be able to pop in for free at one of the best museums in Paris.
Highlights for me include the ancient shop signs, the artefacts from the times of Henri IV, the Belle Epoque gallery and the magnificent recreation of the jewellery boutique of Georges Fouquet. Don’t miss the original mascarons (grotesquely carved stone faces) from the Pont Neuf.
This Paris museum’s website: Musée Carnavalet
Getting to this Paris museum: Saint-Paul, Brèguet Sabin, Pont-Marie, Chemin Vert
3. Best Paris Museum: Le Centre Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou, Paris, 4th arrondissement
Book A Skip the Line Ticket to the Centre Pompidou HERE.
The Pompidou Centre, named for France’s President Georges Pompidou, created quite a stir when it opened in 1977. The “inside-out” design of this building still causes one to stop and ponder, observe and declare.
Although not solely a Paris museum, the Pompidou Centre houses the Public Information Library, the Musée National d’Art Moderne is found here. The National Modern Art Museum has the largest collection of modern art in Europe.
Look for masterpieces by Vassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Man Ray, Andy Warhol and Picasso to name a few of the famous modern artists’ works found beautifully displayed in this Paris art museum. The enormous permanent collection is exhibited on a 6-month rotation basis. Surprise! Every visit will be different.
Do not miss the fabulous views over Paris. Access to the upper levels is free with this Paris museum entry ticket. Otherwise to reach the top levels for a magnificent Paris view, buy a ticket for €3.
Place Pompidou is a happening place. Don’t miss the Stravinsky Fountain and nearby take a quiet break in the Anne Frank Garden.
Please Note: The Centre Pompidou is closing in 2023 for four years.
This Paris museum’s website: Le Centre Pompidou
Best Museums in Paris – Getting there: Métro Stops: Rambuteau, Châtelet, Hôtel de Ville
4. Musée de Cluny: National Museum Of The Middle Ages
29 rue Du Sommerard, 5th arrondissement
And why is this one of the best museums in Paris? I love the Cluny Museum for it is situated on ancient Roman baths, reminding the citizen of the 21st century that Paris was inhabited by the Romans for over 500 years. It’s a pause for reflection.
The gem of this best Paris museum is the series of tapestries from 1500 entitled “The Lady and the Unicorn.” Six stunning tapestries depict the five senses and the sixth tapestry, open to interpretation, displays the sense of the heart.
The newly renovated and recently reopened (May 2022) Cluny Museum holds countless treasures that make it a very worthwhile stop on any visit to Paris.
Read my full article on the Cluny Museum and the 7 reasons you should go!
This Paris museum’s website: The Cluny Museum
Getting to this Paris museum: Metro stops: Odéon, Maubert-Mutualité, Saint-Michel Notre-Dame
5. Musée Eugène Delacroix
6 rue de Fürstenberg, Paris 6th arrondissement
Tucked in the corner of one of the prettiest squares in Paris, Place de Fürstenberg, is the Musée Eugène Delacroix. Eugène Delacroix considered the leader of France’s Romantic movement, lived here during the last years of his life. This delightful art museum in Paris is housed in Delacroix’s apartment, his atelier where he created many masterpieces and his private garden.
The garden is an oasis in Paris. Bring a book or a journal and pass a little time relaxing, soaking up the creative energy, and enjoying the chiming bells from Saint-Germain des Prés church.
Other places to see Delacroix in Paris:
- Église Saint-Sulpice Church – just a short walk from the Delacroix Museum, step into the church and find the first chapel to the right completely painted by Delacroix. Of special note is Jacob Wrestling the Angel
- The Louvre – Liberty Leading the People (1830) is one of Delacroix’s most famous masterpieces
- Luxembourg Gardens- a fountain and bust dedicated to Delacroix
This Paris museum’s website: Eugéne Delacroix Museum
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stops: Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Mabillon
6. Best Museums In Paris: Musée Jacquemart-André
158 Blvd Haussmann, Paris, 8th arrondissement
Book A Skip the Line Ticket to the Musée Jacquemart-André HERE.
Set in a fabulous Paris mansion, this Paris art museum is a delight to visit. Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart were art collectors and travelled to the Far East and Italy to bring precious items back to Paris. In this 19th-century mansion, it isn’t hard to imagine life as it was with its sumptuous rooms, elegant and enchanting staircase, and the Winter Garden.
And why is this one of the best museums in Paris? The Jacquemart-André Museum has an excellent permanent collection and marvellous temporary exhibitions. Plan your visit around the permanent collection and a special exhibition. If you love Italian art, don’t miss the masterpieces of Sandro Botticelli. And be sure to look in the library and find Rembrandt’s The Supper at Emmaus with its spectacular lighting.
This Paris museum’s website: Museum Jacquemart-André
Best Museums in Paris – Getting there: Métro stops: Saint-Augustin, Miromesnil, Saint-Philippe de Roule
7. Musée De La Libération De Paris
4 Avenue du Colonel Henri Roi-Tanguy, Paris 14th arrondissement
The full name of this museum in Paris is Musée de la Libération de Paris Musée du général Leclerc Musée Jean Moulin.
I had read about this museum in Paris opening and visited it right before the first confinement in March 2020. It is definitely a sobering encounter with Paris’s past. I was curious to learn about French resistance heroes in WWII that risked, and often lost, their lives to battle the Nazi occupation and fight for freedom. And as is Paris’s way, I was suddenly seeing the names of heroes like Jean Moulin and Général Leclerc around Paris. The gallery covering the liberation of Paris exudes the hope and joy found on the streets of Paris at the end of the war.
Don’t forget to walk down the stairs (over 100) to the passive defence shelter used from August 20, 1944, as a command post. You can go down without the immersive experience (explained below), but need to book a time.
The Immersive Experience: Experience the command post with 3-D glasses where the workings of the subterranean secret headquarters are right before your eyes…book your spot for a thirty-minute tour. Limited numbers.
This Paris museum’s website: Musée de la Libération de Paris
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stop: Denfert-Rochereau
8. Museums In Paris: Musée Du Luxembourg
19 rue de Vaugirard, Paris, 6th arrondissement
This art museum in Paris opened in 1750 and was the first art museum open to the general public. People flocked to Paris to see paintings of the grand Dutch, Italian and French masters.
Although the museum was closed for 40 years and those masterpieces now hang in the Louvre, the Musée du Luxembourg presents two exhibitions a year.
Stop by this beautiful exhibition space and see what’s on. It’s right by the Jardin de Luxembourg so plan your day to include a stroll through the gardens.
This Paris museum’s website: Musée du Luxembourg
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stops: Saint Sulpice, Mabillon
9. Best Paris Museums: Musée Marmottan Monet
2 rue Louis Boilly, Paris, 16th arrondissement
Book A Skip The Line Ticket and Tour to the Musée Marmottan Monet HERE
And why is this one of the best museums in Paris? If you love impressionist art, add the Musée Marmottan Monet to your list. Set in a lovely mansion the Marmottan Monet Museum has over 100 works by Claude Monet as well as an impressive selection of works by Degas, Delacroix, Pissarro and Renoir (to name a few). A huge delight is the collection of works by Berthe Morisot, the little known female Impressionist painter. This best Paris museum also holds fabulous special exhibitions.
This Paris museum’s website: Musée Marmottan Monet
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stops: La Muette, Ranelagh
10. Museums In Paris: Le Musée de Montmartre
12 rue Cortot, Paris, 18th arrondissement
Book A Skip The Line Ticket to this Best Paris Museum HERE
This art museum in Paris, housed in one of the oldest houses in Montmartre, is a place where artists including Utrillo and Renoir, once lived. The garden holds a version of the swing, where Renoir painted his famous painting Le Balancoire. Visiting this best museum in Paris, one becomes immersed and enlightened in the history of Montmartre and its bohemian spirit.
The Café Renoir in the garden is the perfect place to relax after exploring Montmartre and its museum. There are also candlelight concerts held in the garden during the summer.
This Paris museum’s website: Musée de Montmartre
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stops: Lamarck-Caulaincourt, Anvers (both these stops involve walking up staircases to get to the museum)
11. Musée National Picasso-Paris: One Of The Best Paris Museums
3 rue de Thorigny, Paris, 3rd arrondissement
Book Your Full Day Priority Access to this Best Paris Museum HERE
The Picasso-Paris museum offers a remarkable collection of paintings, sculptures and engravings by the renowned Spanish artist. The collection includes works of art from all stages of Pablo Picasso’s prolific career. You’ll find treasures from the Blue period, Cubist works, Surrealist paintings and Pop art. His lovers, wives and muses are represented in all of his periods. And of course, there are self-portraits of Picasso.
Once again the elegance of the stunning mansion, the Hôtel Salé, is the perfect backdrop for Picasso’s work.
Located in the Marais district, include a visit to this best Paris museum along with these amazing things to do in le Marais.
This Paris museum’s website: Musée National Picasso
Best Museums in Paris – Getting there: Métro stops: Saint-Paul, Chemin Vert, Saint-Sébastien Froissart
12. Musée Nissim De Camondo
63 rue de Monceau, Paris, 8th arrondissement
To walk through this museum in Paris is to witness the life and times of Moïse de Camondo and his family. There was much grief when his son, Nissim, was shot down in WWI. Moïse de Camondo’s wife left him and he spent his life collecting stunning pieces and creating a home filled with precious and priceless 18th-century items. When Moïse de Camondo died in 1935, he bequeathed his home and collection to the Union Central of Decorative Arts. His daughter, Béatrice, and her family were executed at Auschwitz.
Today, the house overlooking Parc Monceau is as the de Camondo’s left it, filled with a world-renowned collection of 18th-century objets d’art exquisitely arranged. Don’t miss the kitchen lined with copper pots!
This Paris museum’s website: Nissim de Camondo
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stops: Villiers, Monceau
13. Best Paris Museum: Musée De l’Orangerie
Tuileries Gardens, Place de la Concorde, Paris, 1st arrondissement
Book Your Reserved Entrance Ticket to the Musée de l’Orangerie HERE
Sit in the two oval rooms of this art museum in Paris. Inhale the complete immersion in nature and Monet’s vision of beauty.
And why is this one of the best museums in Paris? There are eight stunning water lily compositions. Look for reflections, the changing light from morning to evening and seasonal differences. It is a calming and moving experience to be surrounded by these masterpieces and to know that Monet gifted the Water Lilies to the City of Paris at the end of WWI. A true symbol of peace.
The Musée de l’Orangerie also houses a terrific permanent collection: the Jean Walter-Paul Guillaume Collection.
Pro Travel Tip: If you just can’t get enough of Claude Monet, plan a day trip to Giverny.
This Paris museum’s website: Musée de l’Orangerie
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stop: Tuileries
14. Musée De Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
37 Quai Branly, Paris, 7th arrondissement
Book Your Skip The Line Ticket to this Best Museum in Paris HERE
This art museum in Paris is a magnificent space and displays pieces from Asian, Oceanian, American and African arts and civilisations. I was surprised to find artefacts from Indigenous Tribes of western Canada, including a totem pole, argillite carvings and Haida paintings.
I went to see the temporary exhibition of the Olmecs from Mexico and was astonished at the incredible depth and displays of the permanent exhibition.
It’s a magnificent building just a few minutes from the Eiffel Tower. Pop up to the restaurants for amazing views and food!
This Paris museum’s website: Musée de Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stops: Bir- Hakeim, École Militaire
15. Best Museums In Paris: Musée Rodin
77 rue de Varenne, Paris, 7th arrondissement
Auguste Rodin. Immediately I think of The Kiss. And the Thinker.
And why is this one of the best museums in Paris? Visiting the Rodin Museum in Paris is rather a dreamy experience. The stunning Hôtel Biron (the mansion) and the seven acres of gardens where Rodin’s sculptures are positioned for the perfect effect is a museum visit you won’t soon forget. Inside the elegant mansion, are plenty of sculptures and personal effects of Rodin, including some masterpieces painted by Van Gogh, Monet and Renoir.
Rodin lived in this magnificent 18th-century mansion until his death in 1917.
This Paris museum’s website: The Rodin Museum
Best Museums in Paris – Getting there: Métro stops: Varenne, Invalides
16. Musée De La Vie Romantique
16 rue Chaptal, Paris, 9th arrondissement
Yes, I actually went on Valentine’s Day in 2020. I had just arrived in Paris for my year-long stay and planned out a fabulous Valentine’s Day. The temporary exhibition of hearts at this Paris museum had to be part of the day!
This Paris art museum is in the former home of Ary Scheffer, a Dutch-French Romantic painter. It was a meeting place for the artistic and literary elite of Paris in the 1800s. Chopin, Delacroix and George Sand were frequent visitors.
Enter the studio salon and imagine the intellectual conversations that transpired here. Enjoy the portraits and the George Sand memorabilia. I left knowing I needed to read one of George Sand’s novels.
Be sure to allow time for a stop at the lovely tea room in the garden.
This Paris museum’s website: Musée de la Vie Romantique
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stops: Saint-Georges, Blanche, Pigalle
17. Museums In Paris: Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 av du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris, 16th arrondissement
My first visit to the Louis Vuitton Foundation which opened in 2014, blew my socks off! Literally. The stunning building, designed by American architect Frank Gehry, is bathed in light and shaped like sails billowing across the water or perhaps a ship’s hull. “I dream of designing a magnificent vessel for Paris that symbolizes France’s profound cultural vocation,” Frank Gehry said. And then he built it.
Leave yourself ample time to explore this best museum in Paris. Situated in the Bois de Boulogne, not too far from the lovely Parc de Bagatelle, be sure to visit one of the terraces and marvel at the views.
This Paris museum’s website: Fondation Louis Vuitton
Getting to this Paris museum: Métro stops: Les Sablons, and then a 15-minute walk; Place-Charles-de-Gaulle Étoile (the Arc de Triomphe) take exit #2 from the Métro and find the Fondation Louis Vuitton shuttle (€2) at Avenue Friedland.
18. Fashion Museum In Paris: La Galerie Dior
11 Rue François 1er,. Paris, 8th arrondissement
Opening in 2022, La Galerie Dior situated right by the Christian Dior flagship store recounts the personal and creative history of Christian Dior and his six successive designers. And why is this one of the best museums in Paris? If you like fashion, history, and magical ultra-modern displays, this museum is for you. Here is what I found at the Galerie Dior.
This Paris museum’s website: Galerie Dior
Best Museums in Paris – Getting there: Métro stops: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Alma Marceau
19. Best Museums In Paris: Musée des Arts Forains
53 av. des Terroirs de France, Paris, 12th arrondissement
And why is this one of the best museums in Paris? The Museum of Fairground Arts is truly one of the most unique museums in Paris. The privately-owned museum is a true taste of Paris off the beaten path and a marvellous step back in time to the Belle Epoque.
Step into a magical world where old fashioned carousels, curiosity cabinets, magical gardens, and merry-go-rounds sweep you away to another world.
Visiting this museum in Paris throughout the year is by guided tour only. The tours are in French with an English handout.
Le Festival de Merveilleux runs for 10 days after Christmas. Step into an enchanting world with trapeze artists, dancers, singers, magicians, vintage games, and antique merry-go-rounds whirling about. It’s a Paris experience that leaves an unforgettable impression.
This Unique Museum in Paris’s website: Musée des Art Forains
Getting to this Paris Museum: Métro: Cour St Emilion
20. Best Museums In Paris: Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme
71 rue du Temple, Paris, 3rd arrondissement
The Museum of Art and History Of Judaism (commonly referred to as mahJ) is found in the most beautiful 17th-century mansion called the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan in the Marais.
The Museum Of The Art and History Of Judaism’s permanent collection invites one to learn about Jewish history through religious and cultural artefacts ranging from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The art and artefacts come from France, Europe and Northern Africa.
The beautiful courtyard and main floor of the museum are free of charge. Sit a while in the lovely courtyard and don’t miss the art installations on both sides of the bookshop honouring the community of people that lived in apartments here before WWII. A mix of ethnic backgrounds and religions, they lived harmoniously side by side.
The artefacts that particularly caught my attention on my first visit included ancient handwritten Torah scrolls, an exquisite golden 3-dimensional paper maché relief of Jerusalem, Hannukah lamps, a prayer book from 1512, and tombstones from Paris dating from 1281. The mahJ has a detailed and informative display covering the Dreyfus Affair. And, I loved the piece of Jewish folk art, a painted wooden hut, used for Sukkot (The Feast of the Tabernacles).
Make sure to check out their excellent Sunday walking tours of the Marais. Given in English but not that frequently.
This Paris museum’s website: mahJ
Best Museums in Paris – Getting there: Métro: Rambuteau
I hope you enjoy exploring these best museums in Paris as much as I do.
Until next time,
More Travel Info…
If you love that village feel in Paris these areas might interest you:
Montmartre, much like Ile Saint- Louis, feels like a small village. This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places on the hill.
La Butte aux Cailles, tucked away in the 13th arrondissement, is another place in Paris that has retained its village-like charm. My article on La Butte aux Cailles will lead you to discover some of the area and its visually enticing street art.
Canal Saint-Martin is another place full of small restaurants, boutiques and plenty of character. Stroll the bridges of the canal under the chestnut trees and feel like a true Parisian. All the details on this “bobo” district are in this article on Canal Saint-Martin.
Le Marais is one of the oldest areas of Paris. Once marshland, it is hopping with boutiques, cafés, gorgeous old mansions and museums. Read my full guide to le Marais and also insider Marais tips from a local.
If you are looking for food suggestions, read about where to find the best croissants in Paris. There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. And if you are exploring the area around Canal Saint-Martin, here are the best places to stop for a bite or to find the fixings for a picnic.
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download – An Amazing 2-day Itinerary in Paris.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.