When most folks think about travel to Europe, Paris is on their list.  Among the best things to do in Paris:  Museums!  What are the Best Museums in Paris?  Today, I’ll highlight the most famous Paris Museums, as well as my favorite Paris Museums.  And, I’ll recommend what you should not miss seeing in each museum!


The Best Paris Museums


In addition to important and popular historic sites like The Eiffel Tower, The Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Place des Vosages, there are several museums in Paris that absolutely should be on any tourists’ must-see list.


Famous Paris Museums


The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument, and undoubtedly the most famous Paris museum.  The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as the Louvre castle in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II.  The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and church property.

In 1983, French President François Mitterrand proposed, as one of his Grands Projects, the Grand Louvre plan to renovate the building. Architect I. M. Pei was awarded the project and proposed a glass pyramid to stand over a new entrance in the main court, the Cour Napoléon. The pyramid and its underground lobby were inaugurated in October 1988 and the Louvre Pyramid was completed in 1989.

Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
  • The Winged Victory of Samothrace
  • The Venus de Milo
  • Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix
  • The Coronation of Napoleon by Jaques-Louis David
  • The Lamassus of Babalyon


Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh.


Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • Self-Portrait by Van Gogh
  • The Luncheon on the Grass by Manet
  • The Tiny Dancer by Degas
  • Olympia by Manet
  • Starry Night by Van Gogh


The Centre Pompidou

I wrote an extensive Post on How to Visit the Centre Pompidou.  This famous Paris Museum holds the largest collection of modern art in Europe.


Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • The Fountain by Duchamp
  • No. 26A Black and White by Pollock


2 small bronze statues and modern art in the background

Bronze Sculptures by Jacometti at the Pompidou Centre


Les Invalides

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l’Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the Dôme des Invalides, a large church, with the tombs of some of France’s war heroes, most notably Napoleon.

Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • The Tomb of Napoleon
  • Invalides’ Church, Saint-Louis des Invalides Cathedral, decorated with flags taken in battles from the enemy throughout French history.
  • All of the amazing objects relating to French military history from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, including suits of armor, historic uniforms, sabres, swords, paintings, photographs, and sculptures.


Best Things to Do in Paris


One of the best things to do in Paris is visit a Museum that is housed in a former….house.  I love enjoying the museum’s collections as much as I enjoy admiring the architecture of the home itself.  Here’s some of the best Paris museums that are also former homes.


The Rodin Museum

Be sure and check out this Blog Post I wrote earlier, detailing how to visit the Rodin Museum.  It’s truly wonderful!

Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • The Thinker
  • The Kiss
  • The Gates of Hell



a bronze statue on stand under a bright blue sky

“The Thinker” at the Rodin Museum Paris



The Jaquemart-Andres Museum

The Jaquemart-Andres Museum was created from the private home of Édouard André (1833–1894) and Nélie Jacquemart (1841–1912) to display the art they collected during their lives.  The State Apartments are simply gorgeous, the cafe is one of the most lovely places to enjoy lunch in Paris, and the Italian Art collection is stunning!

Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • The State Apartments
  • The Italian Museum


The Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum is located in the Marais neighborhood of Paris, and you can read more about how to visit  The Picasso Museum in this post.  It is located in the Hotel Sale in rue de Thorigny. The museum collection includes more than 5,000 works of art (paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, prints, engravings and notebooks) and tens of thousands of archived pieces from Picasso’s personal repository, including the artist’s photographic archive, personal papers, correspondence, and author manuscripts. A large portion of items were donated by Picasso’s family after his death.

Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • Any special exhibit taking place!
  • The interesting collection of paintings of other famous artists collected by Picasso.
  • The Grand Staircase of the Hotel Sale.  It’s gorgeous!



a red-haired woman from behind with art in the background

The Picasso Museum Paris


The Carnavalet Museum

The Musée Carnavalet is dedicated to the history of the city. The museum occupies two neighboring mansions: the Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. The Carnavalet houses the following: about 2,600 paintings, 20,000 drawings, 300,000 engravings and 150,000 photographs, 2,000 modern sculptures and 800 pieces of furniture, thousands of ceramics, many decorations, models and reliefs, signs, thousands of coins, countless items, many of them souvenirs of famous characters, and thousands of archeological fragments.  It has been closed for renovation for several years, and is set to reopen in 2020.

Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • Personal effects belonging to Marie-Antionette.
  • Illustrated posters from the Belle Époque
  • 17th and 18th Century Trade Signs
  • My personal favorite:  A painting of the construction of the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World), which was shipped to the United States in pieces.


a white hallway decorated with iron trade signs and stained glass windows

The Musee Carnavalet



Other Important Paris Museums


Obviously, there’s no shortage of Museums to visit in Paris.  Here are a few others that are among my favorites, and worthy of your time, should you choose to visit!


The Cluny Museum

The Cluny Museum is the National Museum of the Middle Ages. The Hôtel de Cluny is partially constructed on the remnants of the third century Gallo-Roman baths known as the Thermes de Cluny, thermal baths from the Roman era of Gaul. The museum consists of two buildings: the frigidarium (“cooling room”), within the vestiges of the Thermes de Cluny, and the Hôtel de Cluny itself, which houses its collections.

Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • The Lady and The Unicorn Tapestries


an old red tapestry with a lady and a unicorn

The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestry


The Paris Decorative Arts Museum

You can read all about how to visit the Paris Decorative Arts Museum in this Blog Post.  It’s simply wonderful, if you are a fan of the Decorative Arts!

Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • Any Special Exhibit!
  • Room after room of gorgeous French Decorative Arts.
  • Jeanne Lanvin’s fully reconstructed apartment.



Quai Branly Museum

The Quai Branly Museum features the indigenous art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The museum collection comprises more than a million objects, including ethnographic objects, textiles, masks, sculptures, photographs, documents, etc, of which 3,500 are on display at any given time, in both permanent and temporary thematic exhibits.

Don’t Miss Seeing:

  • Priceless artifacts and sculptures, including jewelry and masks.



There’s so much to see in Paris, including all of these Best Paris Museums!  Over 20 years of yearly visits, and I still have not exhausted the list of amazing sites to see.

If you are planning travel to Paris, I have several Guides for your next vacation:


And, please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions, or need a tip or two!  I LOVE to help my readers with their travel plans!



a row of small bronze heads with text overlay



a woman in a blue dress with text overlay








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