7 Best Museums in Paris | Your 2023 Art Gallery Guide
Ah! Paris, the city of love, good food, fashion and of course art. If Paris wasn’t on your bucket list of must-see places to visit in France, then can you really call it a bucket list?
This cobblestone city holds the masterpieces of some of the world’s most famous Impressionist artists like Monet and Van Gough in their art galleries and in true Parisian fashion, the stars have aligned to bring you our guide to the seven best Paris Museums of 2021.
Consider putting these galleries into your itinerary for your next trip to Paris. If the thought of looking at art, walking through dreary, cold corridors horrifies you, we assure you this guide is a little more haute couture than that.
Even the architectural designs of one or two of these museums from the outside will be enough to entice you into sneaking a peek inside.
Psst! Heres’s a top tip for all the art gallery enthusiasts, be sure to get a Paris Museum Pass which you can purchase online or at the Paris Convention Centre or any Visitors Bureau Welcome Centre. These passes allow you unlimited entry to most of the museums on this list over a 2 day or 4 day period.
There is something truly special in the air of Paris and no, we’re not talking about the fresh scent of baked goods. Paris is unlike any other city in Europe when it comes to art and museums.
The city is rich with art history and dozens of museums that can cater to all sorts of interests and almost every demographic- in a couple, single, families, old or young. Everyone can find something extraordinary to enjoy at some of these museums listed below, so without keeping you on edge any longer, here are the 7 best Paris Museums of 2021.
The Centre Pompidou
This glass and steel art-house holds a confectionary of Impressionist, Contemporary and Film art. With such a wide array of visual art, it’s no wonder that The Centre Pompidou is the largest modern art museum in Europe.
Why not book your trip beforehand?
Located in one of Paris’ popular districts, the mechanical, inside-out clockwork exterior stands out amongst the Paris manicured landscape. Splitting the French and its visitors to debate over the museum’s original beauty or its lack thereof.
Whether you pick a side to the debate or remain neutral, The Centre Pompidou contains over 100, 000 works of modern and contemporary art from Picasso, Andy Warhol, Jack Pollock and Henri Matisse. The Centre Pompidou also has experimental and artistic films dating from the 1900s through to the 21st century.
If you don’t think you can handle all the diversity the museum has to offer, do consider hopping onto the Pompidou rooftop for an unimaginable view of Paris.
The word ‘grand’ in Grand Palais is a mere understatement as this is more than just an art gallery but an idyllic exhibition space. Venue to sports events, trade shows, fairs and even the Chanel fashion runways for Paris Fashion Week, the Grand Palais is iconic.
This exhibition space is bold with steel railings, yet whimsical with cascading vines and stone that it could be mistaken for a castle out of a book.
But besides its lofty exhibition hall, the Grand Palais is a historical monument site with its west wing housing a Planetarium and the east wing housing all things cinema. Reserving the space for high-profile blockbusters and photography exhibition events.
What was once a Railway Station, the Musee d’Orsay now holds art from what some consider as the grandmasters of the Impressionism Art Era, such as Renoir, Boudin, Sisley and Monet.
The collection of Impressionist work that resides in the Musee d’Orsay scans over the 19th to the 20th century, inclusive of the Post-Impressionism era with the likes of Van Gough, Gauguin and Cezanne.
This museum is geared for visual art historians and fans alike, as there is an option to customize a private tour. But for those who are just there to observe, the Musee d’Orsay has a lot more to offer. With two cosy cafes, a gourmet restaurant (listed as a historical monument) and a boutique bookshop, there is a little something special for everyone.
What kind of French museum list would this be, without a mention of the most treasured, the most famous and most visited museum in the world, Du Louvre?
Home to over 35,000 artwork classics, including the Mona Lisa by Leonardo de Vinci and the Apes*** music video by Beyonce and Jay Z. The Louvre is the largest, most star-studded and busiest museum in the world.
The museum is a piece of art in itself, with a Renaissance-inspired palace aesthetic on the outside it’s also decorated with a modern, contemporary feel for the inside.
You must be warned, that when visiting the Louvre museum, one should plan how they wish to tackle this fortress. The museum was formerly once home to French Kings and its complex design is divided into three wings, each with four floors.
Musee du Cluny
This quaint gallery is neatly tucked away on a quiet street off the Boulevard Saint-Germain, perfect for those art lovers who appreciate their musings without the hustle and bustle of others.
If you’re looking to be transported back into time then The Musee du Cluny is a must-see, featuring many medieval art pieces and religious church treasures. One of its most popular sitings is a room with Roman baths that are over two thousand years old and are considered to be an archaeological site. The room also displays an assortment of statue figurines, mosaics and tapestries.
L’Atelier des Lumieres: Paris’ Digital Museum
We live in a world full of smart, touch screen, remote control, wireless devices so why wouldn’t we add an art gallery that embodies that digital realm?
L’Atelier des Lumieres (Workshop of Lights) made its television debut in Netflix’s Emily in Paris. Many viewers were unfamiliar with the space wondering if it was fictional or not. But we’re happy to report that it’s 100% real and more fantastical than the series made us believe.
Housed in an old factory, the L’Atelier des Lumieres is the first museum in Paris to feature digital works of art. Using lighting, audio and visual projections throughout the space, it’s a sensory overload in the best way.
Think, if a Planetarium and an art gallery had a baby- it would be this exact one. Although you don’t view the art here in the ‘traditional’ way, your interaction with the pieces makes you feel like you are a part of it yourself.
Boursee du Commerae
As if there weren’t enough art galleries in Paris for you to visit, we implore you to visit this newbie along your adventure. The million-dollar doors to the Boursee du Commerae opened in May of 2021. It’s owned by the French billionaire, Francoise Pinault and is cleverly located two doors down from du Louvre so you can’t miss it.
But just because it is new on the art world scene, it’s not without merit. The museum has been 20 years in the making and holds over 5,000 pieces of Pinault’s contemporary collection. Artists within that collection include David Hirsch, Jeff Koons as well as Cindy Sherman.
Pinnault has plans to expand this collection of art in the years to come.
Discovering Art Galleries in Paris
Unfortunately, there are only 24hours in a day and it’s impossible to visit and truly appreciate each of these art museums in a single day. But we’ve curated this list in such a way that lets you enjoy at least one galley for every day of the week- so there really is no excuse. Put on some comfortable shoes and make sure you get a Paris Museum Pass, so you can sightsee like a local.