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25 Best Museums in Paris

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Paris boasts an incredible diversity of museums, showcasing not only some of the most exquisite art in the world but also tickling the fancy of some more niche interests. With over 140 museums in total, it can be tough to know where to spend your time, especially if you’re only visiting Paris for a short period. Of course, many visitors will think to go to the famous Louvre or Palace of Versailles, but if you’re on a tight schedule, you and your crew might want to visit museums with closer ties to your interests and there is no better place to do this than Paris! From quirky and morbid displays to luxury artwork and masterpieces, we’re here to share the best museums in Paris so you can enjoy a memorable vacation to the City of Love. 

Best Way to See Paris’s Museums

Before we unveil all the magnificent and weird on display in Paris’s museums, we first want to cover how to get the most bang for your buck! While you can purchase tickets to museums separately, there are actually several ways to visit multiple museums and attractions in the city at a discounted price. The below passes offer savings of up to 50% on entry to Paris’s most popular sites! 

Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Explorer Pass

The Go City tourist passes are an excellent choice for those who plan to tour several attractions in Paris (not just museums) since you can save up to 50% on attractions with these passes. Each pass functions a little differently but works the same by bundling multiple attractions at a discounted price. The Go City All-Inclusive Pass has a validity of either two or three days and allows unlimited access to over 90 museums, tours, and experiences, including the Louvre Museum, the Army Museum, a French wine tasting, and even a macaron pastry-making class.

The Go City Explorer Pass works a little differently. Instead of having unlimited access, tourists simply choose the number of activities and tickets they would like to bundle and then they have 60 days from the date of first use to visit all the attractions. There are over 45 entry tickets and experiences to enjoy with the Explorer Pass, including the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, a Seine river cruise, and a cheese tasting. 

Paris Museum Pass

The Paris Museum Pass works exactly like the Go City All-Inclusive Pass, with visitors choosing how many days they would like the pass to be valid for unlimited access to attractions. While the Go City All-Inclusive Pass offers more attractions to choose from, the Paris Museum Pass offers more days of validity and priority access to all attractions. Tourists can choose a validity period of two, four, or six days and visit over 60 museums and monuments across Paris, including Musée Picasso Paris, Musée Rodin, Musée d’Orsay, and the Army Museum.

Best Museums in Paris

Now that we’ve covered all the great bundle passes available, let’s jump into the weird and the wonderful on display in Paris’s museums! 

Drawing and painting exhibition in the Louvre Museum
© Kit Leong / shutterstock.com

Musée du Louvre

The Louvre is one of the most iconic and well-known museums in the world, often ranking first as the world’s most-visited museum and the best museum in the world. Several artworks come to mind when thinking of the Louvre, but the one people are often most excited to see is the famous Mona Lisa by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. However, the Louvre is home to several other European masterpieces, archaeological finds, and works of art from around the world. Some of the most popular works in the Louvre include Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of Medusa, The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David, and The Venus de Milo. The museum’s building is reason enough to visit as it’s not only a stunning testament of architecture but also rich with history as the building dates back to the 12th century when it served as a fortress and then a royal residence before becoming the Louvre Museum. 

The Musée du Louvre is included in the Go City Explorer Pass, Go City All-Inclusive Pass, and Paris Museum Pass. If you just want to purchase an individual ticket, check out our guide on how to buy tickets to the Louvre.

The Musee d'Orsay, a museum in Paris, France.
Felix Lipov / shutterstock.com

Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay is one of the biggest museums in Europe and a great museum to visit in Paris for those who enjoy French art. Visitors will find plenty of artworks by familiar names, such as Manet, Vincent van Gogh, and Claude Monet, as well as the world’s largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. Some of the most popular works in the collection include Van Gogh’s La Nuit Étoilée (Starry Night Over the Rhone), Manet’s Le Déjeuner Sur l’Herbe, and Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette

The Musée d’Orsay is included in the Go City Explorer Pass, Go City All-Inclusive Pass, and Paris Museum Pass. If you just want to purchase an individual ticket, check out our guide on how to buy tickets to the Musée d’Orsay.

The Hall of Mirrors (Galerie des Glaces) of the Royal Palace of Versailles in France.
Takashi Images / shutterstock.com

Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is the ultimate museum to spend a full day in and easily one of the most visited attractions in the Paris region. Located in the town of Versailles, roughly a 40-minute metro ride from Paris, the palace is a former royal residence dating back to the 17th century. Versailles is home to an impressive collection of over 60,000 artifacts and artworks on display, including a massive outdoor sculpture garden with over 400 sculptures on display. In total, there are over 800 hectares (over 1900 acres) of buildings, gardens, estates, and parkland encompassing the estate. 

Editor’s Note: If you have time after your visit, head down the street to the Gallery of Coaches. This is a free museum that displays historic and beautifully detailed carriages and coaches from the royal families. 

The Palace of Versailles is included in the Go City All-Inclusive Pass. If you just want to purchase an individual ticket, check out our guide on how to buy tickets to the Palace of Versailles.

Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France
Photo: frlegros | Depositphotos

Musée des Arts et Métiers

The Musée des Arts et Métiers (the Museum of Arts and Crafts in English) hosts a collection of roughly 80,000 technical inventions and designs from throughout history. Highlights include several fascinating objects, like the first-ever model of the Statue of Liberty, the original model of Foucault’s Pendulum, and even a Cray supercomputer. There are roughly 3,000 objects on display which have been spread across six different themed areas: scientific instruments, transport, construction, communication, mechanics, and materials. This is a great museum for those keen on learning more about human advancement and engineering. 

The Musée des Arts et Métiers is included in the Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Paris Museum Pass.

Picasso National museum Paris, France
Photo: TKKurikawa | Depositphotos

Musée Picasso Paris

Those with a love for Picasso can’t skip out on the museum dedicated to the famous Spanish artist. The Musée Picasso Paris is located in the 3rd arrondissement and features over 5,000 works of art. Visitors will find Picasso’s personal art collection along with plenty of works painted by the master of Cubism himself. Some of the most noteworthy pieces at the museum include Picasso’s Woman in the Garden, The Kiss, and Portrait of Dora Maar

The Musée Picasso Paris is included in the Go City All-Inclusive Pass.

Exhibit at the Decorative Arts Museum in Paris, France
Photo: packshot | Depositphotos

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

If you have an interest in decorative arts like textiles, metalwork, and ceramics, then a visit to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs might be up your alley. Dedicated completely to the decorative arts, visitors can explore what French life has looked like from the Middle Ages to today across several exhibits. The museum boasts over 1.5 million artifacts and works in its collection, ranging from furniture and fashion to jewelry, graphics, and tableware. Of particular interest are the museum’s exhibits on haute couture and its jewelry collection, seeing as it’s the largest jewelry collection in France! 

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is included in the Paris Museum Pass.

The Great Evolution Gallery of Paris.
Photo: frlegros | Depositphotos

Gallery of Evolution

The Gallery of Evolution is a fantastic museum for families and those with an interest in natural history. Visitors can explore hundreds of extinct and endangered species through the roughly 7,000 preserved animals on display. The exhibits begin in the underwater world of marine animals, which is where evolution began thousands of years ago. Here, tourists can awe at giant squids, schools of tuna, and large whales! Other highlights include a permanent exhibit on man’s impact on the natural world and extinct species like the Rodrigues Giant Tortoise, the Tasmanian Tiger, and one of 10 known specimens of the Martinique Muskrat.

Louis Vuitton Foundation, art museum and cultural center at Bois de Boulogne in Paris.
Photo: mim.berkozdemir | Depositphotos

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton is one of the most recognizable brands and designers to come out of France, and the brand itself sponsors the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which showcases French art and culture. This contemporary museum has two rotating exhibits each year along with a permanent collection focused on modern and contemporary art that is comprised of four categories: Expressionist, Pop, Contemplative, and Music and Sound. Visitors can explore the thought-provoking artworks, enjoy a coffee on the rooftop terrace of the sailboat-shaped museum, catch a dance performance or concert, and take in the incredible design and architecture of the Frank Gehry Building.

Centre de Pompidou in Paris, France
Photo: erdalakan | Depositphotos

The Centre Pompidou

Home to the National Museum of Modern Art, Europe’s largest modern art collection, the Centre Pompidou is an outstanding museum to visit in Paris. Not only is the center the home of French modern art, but it’s also home to the Public Information Library with an extensive collection and an acoustics research center. The building itself offers jaw-dropping views of the city, especially from its fifth-floor viewing area. Inside, visitors will find plenty of works by familiar names like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Vassily Kandinsky, and Marcel Duchamp. The museum boasts a modern art collection of roughly 140,000 works with masterpieces like Mit dem schwarzen Bogen (Avec l’Arc noir) by Kandinsky, The Frame by Frida Kahlo, and Piet Mondrian’s New York City on display. 

The Centre Pompidou is included in the Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Paris Museum Pass.

Entrance to the Quai Branly Jacques Chirac Museum in Paris with the Eiffel tower in the background
Photo: UlyssePixel | Depositphotos

Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

Many tourists enjoy museums as they give us a glimpse into non-Western ways of life, be it from 1000 years ago or present-day cultures. Visitors will be hard-pressed to find another museum in Paris that outlines the importance and beauty of non-Western living more than the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac. Located at the base of the Eiffel Tower, this is one of the top museums in Paris to visit as it highlights cultures and civilizations with artifacts and artworks from Indigenous communities from the Americas to Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Not only can visitors explore over 3,500 pieces from four continents on display, but they can also indulge in a coffee or lunch at the museum’s jaw-dropping rooftop café, Les Ombres, which boasts fantastic views of the Seine and Eiffel Tower. Another highlight of Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is the two-hectare (five-acre) garden designed by notable French gardener Gilles Clément, which visitors can explore after touring the museum. 

The Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is included in the Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Paris Museum Pass.

Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, France
Photo: Courtesy of Musée Marmottan Monet

Musée Marmottan Monet

Located beside the Jardin du Ranelagh, the Musée Marmottan Monet is a great choice for those with a passion for the Impressionists and one of its masters, French artist Claude Monet. The museum boasts one of the city’s largest Impressionist collections and the largest collection of Monet’s works, with over 100 of Monet’s paintings on display along with the artist’s personal art collection featuring works by Renoir, Degas, Berthe Morisot, and Gauguin. Several masterpieces and well-known works are on display here, including several paintings from Monet’s Waterlillies series, Monet’s Image of a Tulip Field in Holland, and Monet’s Impression, Soleil Levant (Impression, Sunrise), which gave birth to the movement and gave the Impressionist movement its name. Other noteworthy works on display include Renoir’s Portrait of Claude Monet, Le Combat de David et Goliath by Giulio Clovio, and Berthe Morisot’s Eugène Manet et sa Fille au Jardin (Eugène Manet and His Daughter in the Garden).

Exhibit at the Musée Maillol in Paris, France
Photo: Courtesy of Musée Maillol / Sophie Lloyd

Musée Maillol

Musée Maillol is an art museum in Paris with a focus on the French Impressionist sculpture Aristide Maillol. In fact, the museum’s permanent collection centers around Maillol with visitors able to follow a curated itinerary through the evolution of his sculptures, paintings, and drawings. Maillol’s sculpture work largely focused on the female body and nude figures, which he aimed to represent the mature form of the female without the influence of psychology and literature, and instead focus on symbolism. Some of the most noteworthy sculptures on display are L’Air, La Montagne, and La Rivière. Musée Maillol also hosts two temporary exhibits from 20th and 21st-century artists each year, with the current exhibition highlighting photography by Andres Serrano called Portraits of America.

Rodin Museum in Paris, France.
Photo: gilmanshin | Depositphotos

Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin is easily one of the best art museums in Paris as it houses the works of the famous French sculptor and the father of modern sculpting, Auguste Rodin. The museum is found in Hôtel Biron, a large 18th-century mansion that Rodin moved into in 1908 and continued to live and work in until he died in 1916. Today, the museum is home to some of Rodin’s most prominent works including The Thinker, a sculpture with strong ties to Dante’s Inferno. Rodin spent three decades of his life working on The Thinker and sadly was unable to complete it before passing. Rodin’s personal art collection is also on display, which features pieces by Van Gogh, Renoir, and Monet, along with a dedicated room for works by Rodin’s student and mistress, Camille Claudel. Visitors can easily spend a couple of hours touring the home and artworks as well as strolling through the sculpture garden and grounds. Other highlights of the Musée Rodin include Rodin’s The Kiss, Balzac, and The Burghers of Calais. 

The Musée Rodin is included in the Go City Explorer Pass, Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Paris Museum Pass.

The National Residence of the Invalids and Army Museum in Paris, France
Photo: nikolpetr | Depositphotos

Musée de l’Armée

Calling all history and military aficionados! If you can only visit one museum while in Paris, then we highly suggest a visit to the Army Museum. This is one of the most famous museums in Paris as it not only houses a massive collection of military art, weapons, and historical artifacts, but it also is home to Napoleon’s tomb. Inside, visitors can enter the tomb of the famous French military leader through large bronze doors, which have inscribed above an extract from Napoleon’s will reading “I wish my ashes to rest on the banks of the Seine among the people of France whom I so much loved.” The sarcophagus is placed in the center of the room surrounded by statues and propped up on a green granite pedestal. There are plenty of fantastic pieces and exhibits in the museum other than the tomb, including immersive movies and light shows on the life of Charles de Gaul and Napoleon, armors of the kings of France, military weapons, military paintings like The Battle of Cassel by Joseph Parrocel, and much much more. With over 500,000 artifacts and artworks on display, it’s no wonder tourists could spend an entire day at the museum. 

The Army Museum is included in the Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Paris Museum Pass.

Musée des Arts Forains in Paris, France
Photo: Courtesy of Musée des Arts Forains

Musée des Arts Forains

Are you a lover of the quirky and unusual? Then a visit to the Musée des Arts Forains might be for you. Located in a former wine cellar, this living museum showcases objects, rides, games, and props from funfairs and fairgrounds throughout history, from elephant-shaped hot air balloons and human-powered carousels to old-timey carnival games, a miniature Little Venice, and a unicorn playing the piano. This is a great Paris museum for families or those who prefer auditory learning over classic display and reading panels. Visitors will need to book a timeslot as the only way to access the museum is by a guided tour. The tour guide/actor will then take the group through the exhibits, share information, interact with other actors, and point tourists in the direction of rides and games they can play.

Musée de l’Homme

This Paris museum is ideal for those with an interest in anthropology and culture. Located in the Passy Wing of the Palais de Chaillot, this impressive museum focuses on biological, prehistorical, and cultural anthropological artifacts and objects with the aim of informing visitors about man’s and society’s evolution through time. Tourists will find many thought-provoking displays in the museum’s permanent collection answering the basic questions about what it means to be human and where we came from, to who we are and where we are headed. Some of the highlights of the collection include the Venus of Lespugue (a Paleolithic statuette), Cro-Magnon fossils, and remains of Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis. Make sure to spend some time in the “Where Are We Headed?” exhibit as tourists will get to see displays of how five families from around the world have lived, along with a local bus from Dakar from the 1960s.

Paradox Museum in Paris, France
Photo: Courtesy of Paradox Museum

Paradox Museum Paris

The Paradox Museum Paris is a quirky and fun immersive museum that’s perfect for those who don’t like traditional museums or are looking for something a little different. Filled with optical illusions that bend the mind and trick the eye, visitors will be left not only amazed but also questioning what is real and what isn’t. Staff are around every corner ready to snap pictures for tourists and the puzzles found inside are fun for the whole family. The average time spent inside the Paradox Museum Paris is roughly 90 minutes, which is perfect for those who don’t want to invest too much time at a museum. 

The Paradox Museum Paris is included in the Go City Explorer Pass and Go City All-Inclusive Pass.

Building housing the Musee dArt Moderne de Paris (Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris) and the Palais de Tokyo
Photo: UlyssePixel | Depositphotos

Palais de Tokyo

Welcome to Europe’s largest contemporary art center, where traditional museum ideals have been tossed out the window to make an innovative space worthy of today’s emerging contemporary and modern artists. From art to performance, visitors will always find a cool exhibit to uncover at the Palais de Tokyo. In fact, the museum doesn’t have a permanent collection and instead focuses on a rotating schedule of artist’s shows varying from painting and sculpture to performance and video. Those interested in a visit can find the museum’s current and upcoming exhibits on the official website. Visitors will also get to visit multiple exhibits for one low price and can enjoy a cup of coffee at the café or a late lunch at the on-site restaurants afterward.

Exhibit at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris
Photo: Courtesy of Musée Yves Saint Laurent

Musée Yves Saint Laurent

Calling all fashionistas and luxury brand lovers! It’s no secret Paris is one of the fashion capitals and has produced several well-known designers and brands, and Yves Saint Laurent is one such example. At the Musée Yves Saint Laurent, tourists can explore the chic museum and displays covering the life of the famous fashion designer, his evolution of designs, iconic dresses, and much more. The museum is located in the legendary Hôtel Particulier where Yves worked for 30 years from 1972 to 2002 designing his collections. Fans will get detailed insight into what it was like to design haute couture and what role traditional haute couture plays in today’s fashion influence. This is an absolute must-see museum for fashion lovers!

A visitor in front the Nymphas (Water Lilies), famous series of decorative panels by Claude Monet at the Musee de l'Orangerie, museum of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings
Photo: vampy1 | Depositphotos

Musée de l’Orangerie

The Musée de l’Orangerie, located along the Seine beside the Place de la Concorde, is one of the most popular museums in Paris for many reasons. Founded with a focus on 20th-century European art, tourists will find plenty of familiar names and pieces including eight of Monet’s murals from his Waterlillies collection. While the murals are the museum’s shining attraction, there are several more impressive works to explore as well, such as Picasso’s Large Bather, Renoir’s Young Girls At The Piano, and Marie Laurencin’s Portrait of Miss Chanel. Visitors can even experience Monet’s Waterlillies up close and as real as they get with the museum’s virtual reality experience. The VR experience will take participants on a sensory journey to the French town of Giverny where Monet lived on a large estate. He transformed the estate’s pond into a water garden complete with a Japanese-style bridge and water lilies, which became a focal point of Monet’s obsession and prompted 250 paintings of the pond from the artist.  

The Musée de l’Orangerie is included in the Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Paris Museum Pass.

Exhibit at La Cinémathèque Française - Musée Méliès
Photo: Courtesy of La Cinémathèque Française

La Cinémathèque Française – Musée Méliès

Cinema buffs get ready because this is one museum not to miss out on! The Cinémathèque Française, which is home to the Musée Méliès, is set in a modern building designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. This one-of-a-kind museum is dedicated completely to the art of cinema and Georges Méliès, one of the first great cinema geniuses. Much of the museum’s collection follows Méliès journey through his life as a fictional filmmaker, which plays a prominent role in the history of cinema as an art form. Tourists will be guided through the cinematic inventions that helped shape modern film, along with props and costumes from movies throughout the years. Some of the highlights of the museum include Méliès’ magician table from his work with the Théâtre Robert-Houdin, a model of the director’s studio, and the Hugo Cabret automaton gifted by Martin Scorsese. 

The Cinémathèque Française and Musée Méliès are included in the Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Paris Museum Pass.

EADS Ariane space rocket at the Le Bourget Air and Space Museum in Paris, France
Photo: Alexandra Lande | Depositphotos

Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace

Looking for a fun and interactive science museum in Paris that the whole family can enjoy? Then make your way to the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace! Located beside the Paris Le Bourget Airport just north of Paris, visitors will find an expansive indoor/outdoor museum with 407 aircrafts and objects on display across 16 rooms. The museum’s collection covers a range of civilian and military-focused displays from the inception of flying to modern-day commercial planes. Visitors will find loads of cool aircraft, including a Dupuy-de-Lôme airship basket (an arm-powered airship basket from the 19th century), a Santos-Dumont Demoiselle (one of the first airplanes to be mass-produced), and the last original plane of the Normandie-Niemen Fighter Group in existence, the Yakovlev Yak-3. In the Planète Pilote section of the museum, tourists can enjoy over 40 interactive exhibits, including climbing into the cockpit of an Airbus A320. Other highlights of the museum include a 30-minute planetarium show, four planes open to explore from front to back, and a rare chance to enter a control tower and watch planes take off! 

The Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace is included in the Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Paris Museum Pass.

Palais de la Découverte

Although the Palais de la Découverte has been temporarily closed since 2020, it is planned to reopen in early 2025 after the revamp of the exhibition spaces and promises a continuation as one of the top museums in Paris. The Palais de la Découverte is a science museum aimed at kids and visitors have raved about the museum’s immersive permanent collection which focuses on biology, astronomy, physics, medicine, and all that good science stuff. All of the exhibits are thoughtful towards parents and children, with most of the gadgets and displays placed at a lower level for little ones to enjoy. The museum has been providing educational experiences in the realm of science to Paris for 90 years and both locals and travelers cannot wait for the museum to open its doors once again!

Victor Hugo house in Paris, France
Photo: packshot | Depositphotos

Maison de Victor Hugo

Fans of the book The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables will know the name Victor Hugo. This famous French romantic writer, poet, and novelist is one of the country’s most beloved poets and tourists can learn all about his life and works at the Maison de Victor Hugo. This small heritage museum is situated in what was once Hugo’s apartment before his exile to Guernsey for criticizing Napoleon III’s coup d’état. Visitors can explore his office and standing desk, gain insight into the writer’s life with a guided audio tour, and find many interesting works, like manuscripts, illustrations, and first editions of his works. The Maison de Victor Hugo is one of the free museums in Paris as it offers complimentary access to the permanent collection and apartment. However, the third-floor exhibit does require a ticket.

Angelin Jolie's Wax Figure at the Grevin Museum in Paris, France
Photo: yorgy67 | Depositphotos

Musée Grévin

This family-friendly wax museum is a hoot and a holler for tourists in Paris. Founded in 1882, the museum boasts a collection of over 200 life-like wax figures of French celebrities, politicians, and contemporary figures from around the world. The figures are a true testament to realism and make for some great holiday photos! Fool your Instagram followers into thinking you’ve met France’s most iconic football player Zinedine Zidane, or perhaps trick grandma into thinking your group met up with Barack Obama while in Paris. Little ones can even meet some of their favorite fictional characters, such as the Paw Patrol friends and Marinette and Adrian from Miraculous. Each display offers whimsy, history, and a bit of wholesome fun! 

The Musée Grévin is included in the Go City Explorer Pass and Go City All-Inclusive Pass.

Well, there you have it Paris lovers, the coolest museums in Paris to visit. Whether you’re looking for something that will blow your mind, tickle your intelligence, or just provide some wholesome learning and fun, you can’t go wrong with any of the museums on this list. So get out there and hit the museums of Paris, we promise they’re worth it!

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