Top 5 Museums in Paris

One of the perks of living in Paris is the incredible number of museums. Hard to decide which one to see if you have limited time.

It wasn’t easy to cut it down to five, but here are my favorites :

1. Musée Carnavalet

This museum is all about Paris, so it’s the perfect one to get to know this beautiful city. My favorite part is the Georges Fouquet shop, all in art nouveau. I advise you to only see the permanent collections. You have to pay to enter the temporary exhibitions, and they often get a little bit too specific.

2. Petit Palais

The Petit Palais (Small Palace) is the Paris museum of fine arts. You will find french art in all its forms, from all era. Very interesting. Also the building (and its twin the Grand Palais on the other side of the street) is beautiful in itself.

3. Musée du Quai Branly

Maybe my personal favorite, the Quai Branly displays indigenous art and culture. I could spend hours in the permanent collection that takes you around this exotic and ancient version of our world. Some very interesting temporary exhibitions to keep an eye out for.

4. L’Orangerie

There’s one reason to go to L’Orangerie, and that’s to see Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. That’s enough in my opinion, but you will also enjoy a lot of other paintings by famous artists like Picasso, Renoir, Cézanne, … Plus, the museum is situated in the Tuileries Gardens, another must see !

5. Le musée de la Vie Romantique

Literally the museum of Romantic Life. The museum revolves around the life and work of George Sand (famous writer known for her numerous affairs) and houses temporary exhibitions as well. The main attraction is the secret garden and café, a beautiful spot that will make you forget the roaring city around you. A place to feel like a parisian on a country outing in 1830.

There’s also the Cinémathèque Française (film history archives), the MEP (contemporary photographic art), the Musée Guimet (asian art), the Centre Pompidou (modern art), … if museums is your « raison d’etre », there’s enough to last you months !

I didn’t mention the Louvre. I know it’s the big museum, but I really don’t like it. There’s a lot of people and so much art that you are condemned to only see a very small portion of it (and usually it’s renaissance paintings that end up looking all the same after half an hour). But I understand it is a landmark, so if you must, my advice is to wear good shoes and pick which part of the museum you want to see before getting there !

Have you visited any of these museums in Paris? What did you think of them ?

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