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11 Absolute Best Museums in Paris (+2024 Info, Tips & Map)

11 Absolute Best Museums in Paris (+2024 Info, Tips & Map)

Paris, France is one of the most-visited cities in the world and has endless places to explore and incredible things to do. Beyond its iconic Eiffel Tower and charming cafes, the city boasts some of the world’s most renowned museums.

From the largest museum in the world to art museums dedicated to iconic artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Auguste Rodin, the options are endless.

But with over 100 museums in Paris, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones are worth your time the most. Plus, you need to research how to visit each of them, especially if you are opting for the most popular ones where you have to book in advance or you risk not being able to visit at all…

In this guide, we share our top picks, the best museums in Paris to help you decide where to go. We also include practical information and tips to help you seamlessly plan your trip.

We have been to Paris numerous times and have narrowed down our list to the BEST museums that everyone should visit in Paris. Of course, with limited time, you won’t be able to see it all, so make sure to check out our top 5 picks at the end of this list as well.

Top 4 Museums in Paris to Book in Advance:

Top Paris museums to visit in France

PRO TIP: I cannot stress this enough – book tickets to the most popular Paris museums in advance!!! Also, while you can do this on the official websites of each museum separately, it’s ridiculously bureaucratic and time-consuming. We personally book our tickets/tours via GetYourGuide and sometimes also on Tiqets (they have a few tickets that are not available elsewhere). In either case, with just a few clicks, you can choose time slots and reserve tickets for all the places you want to visit. You then get e-tickets, simply show the QR codes at the entrance, and that’s it.

If you are staying in Paris for a few days and plan on visiting several museums per day, then you may want to consider the Paris Museum Pass. You can find more info and other helpful tips at the end of this article.

Good to know: Most museums in Paris offer free entry to everyone under 18 and EEA residents under 26. However, depending on the museum, you will need to reserve a time slot with free entry as well. Some museums are free on the first Sunday of the month, but you should also reserve in advance and expect it to be very busy everywhere.

To help you plan your trip, we also created a map indicating the location of all the museums in Paris mentioned in this article.

As you can see below, some museums are very close to each other (and other landmarks) while others are further away. So make sure to keep this in mind when planning your sightseeing itinerary!

How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.


These are the best museums in Paris:

1. Louvre Museum

No visit to Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre), which is why it is at the very top of our Paris museum list.

The Louvre is the largest museum in the world. Located inside a former Royal palace, it became a public museum after the French Revolution in 1793.

The iconic glass pyramid in the museum courtyard was added in 1989 and was designed by I. M. Pei, a Chinese-American architect.

Upon entering the Louvre, the feeling of both excitement and overwhelm takes over the senses. With over 35,000 artworks and 380,000 objects, there is A LOT to see here. Below, is a short overview.

The museum is split up into three different wings:

  • The Denon Wing is the most popular and crowded part of the Louvre. Here you’ll find some of the most famous pieces of art in the world, including Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, Eugene Delacroix’s “Liberty Guiding the People”, “Winged Victory of Samothrace”, and “Venus de Milo” by Alexandros of Antioch.
  • The Sully Wing is home to many ancient relics and artworks from Egypt, Greece, ancient Rome, and the Near East. The Louvre museum does, after all, feature over 10,000 years worth of history.
  • The Richelieu Wing features a variety of decorative arts and sculptures from the years of 500 to 1850, and paintings from the Middle Ages. If you have the chance, make sure to walk through Napoleon The Third’s lavishly decorated apartments to see how the first president of France lived.

Below, you can find practical info and tips for visiting the Louvre.

Crowds at the Mona Lisa painting at the Louvre Museum in Paris
Crowds at the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum.

Info & tips for visiting Louvre Museum

Tickets: The Louvre is the busiest museum in Paris, so book your tickets online well in advance, or you will spend hours in line and may not even be able to visit at all. All tickets are timed and you must arrive at the specific time you booked.

For an extra fee, you can rent an audio guide that provides interesting facts and historical insights about the museum’s artworks. It is available in 9 different languages. In that case, book your tickets with a guided tour already included – it will save you time.

PRO TIP: If you want to be sure to see all the ‘musts’ and learn more about the most important artworks, consider visiting here on a guided tour. The Louvre can be overwhelming! There are countless options available – from fully-guided tours to assisted entry with Mona Lisa guidance, etc. We recently visited the Louvre with this small-group ‘Closing time at the Louvre’ tour and I can highly recommend it.

Opening times: The Louvre Museum is open daily except on Tuesdays from 9 AM to 6 PM. On Fridays, it’s open until 9.45 PM. More info on the official website.

How much time do you need: You could spend days exploring the Louvre and still not see it all. Plan on spending at least 3-4 hours to see the main highlights of the museum.

Practical information: The Louvre Museum is wheelchair accessible and you can even borrow wheelchairs and canes free of charge at the Help Desk. Inside the museum, you will also find free lockers, bathroom facilities, several cafes, restaurants, and even takeaway counters.

LEARN MORE: Tips for Visiting the Louvre in Paris

The Louvre Museum in Paris France
The Louvre Museum.

2. Orsay Museum

The Orsay Museum (Musée d’Orsay), located along the Seine River almost opposite the Louvre is the second most-visited museum in Paris. It’s home to the largest and most impressive collection of impressionist artworks in the world.

This is the best museum in Paris to view art by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Many of these famous impressionist artists from the 19th and 20th lived and worked in or near Paris.

The Orsay Museum is housed in the former Orsay train station (Gare d’Orsay) that opened in 1900. It served the southwestern French lines until 1939 when it closed down due to its platforms being too short for modern trains. Thankfully, the Beaux-Arts building was saved from demolition and was repurposed into the Orsay Museum, which opened in 1986.

A few of the must-see artworks here include “Portrait of the Artist” and “Starry Night Over the Rhône” by Vincent Van Gogh, “Bal du moulin de la Galette” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, “Déjeuner Sur l’Herbe” and “Olympia” by Edouard Manet, and “Coquelicots” by Claude Monet.

Woman with Parasol paintings by Claude Monet at Museum D'Orsay in Paris
Claude Monet’s paintings at d’Orsay Museum.

Info & tips for visiting d’Orsay Museum

Tickets: We highly recommend purchasing tickets online in advance. The time slots are reserved, so make sure to arrive at your reserved time. An audio guide is available to rent for an extra cost.

Opening times: Orsay Museum is open daily except on Mondays from 9.30 AM to 6 PM. On Thursdays, it’s open until 9.45 PM. More info here.

How much time do you need: Plan on spending 2-3 hours at the Orsay Museum. If you have less than 1.5 hours, you will feel really rushed.

TIP: If you want to not just see the best artworks but also get some background information, consider visiting with a guided tour. While Orsay Museum is not as overwhelming as the Louvre, a guided visit here is still worth it as it gives you a much deeper insight into the unique collection of this fabulous museum.

Practical information: The museum is wheelchair accessible. Inside, you’ll find bathrooms, lockers, several cafes, and a restaurant.

Top museums in Paris - d'Orsay Museum
d’Orsay Museum is located inside an old railway station.

3. Orangerie Museum

The Orangerie Museum (Musée de l’Orangerie) is located in the Tuileries Garden, a short walk from the Louvre and across the bridge from Museum d’Orsay. It was originally built in 1852 as an orangery, a greenhouse for orange trees in the winter.

In the early 20th century, Claude Monet donated his large paintings of water lilies to the state, and it was decided that the orangery would be transformed into a place to exhibit these artworks.

The museum was opened in 1927, following Monet’s exact specifications for displaying these works. Unfortunately, Monet died just a few months before the museum officially opened and never saw his art on display here.

Monet’s Water Lilies series, known as “Nymphéas” is the centerpiece of the Orangerie Museum. This series comprises eight large panels, each showcasing the pond in his house in Giverny in a different light. They are displayed in two oval rooms, designed by Monet himself, and create a tranquil space to enjoy these masterpieces.

In addition, the lower level of the museum showcases other impressionist and modern art by artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, and Rousseau.

Monet Water Lilies at l'Orangerie Museum in Paris
Monet’s Water Lilies.

Info & tips for visiting Orangerie Museum

Tickets: You need to reserve your tickets and a specific time slot online in advance. This is a rather small and very popular museum in Paris, so it’s usually difficult to get tickets on the day itself.

An audio guide is available for purchase for a small fee and guided tours are also available if you prefer.

Opening times: The Orangerie Museum is open from 9 AM to 6 PM daily except on Tuesdays. More info here.

How much time do you need: Plan on spending 1-1.5 hours at the Orangerie Museum.

Practical Information: There is wheelchair access to the lower level via an elevator. You’ll also find a cafe and bookshop on the lower level of the museum.

Monet's Water Lillies at the Orangerie Museum in Paris
Monet’s Water Lillies at the Orangerie Museum.

4. Rodin Museum

The Rodin Museum (Musée Rodin) is dedicated to the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum is located in the Hôtel Biron, a magnificent 18th-century Rococo mansion. Rodin rented the building in the last years of his life.

Before his death, Rodin donated all of his works (over 6,000 sculptures) to the government of France. The Rodin Museum officially opened in 1919 and is considered one of the top museums in Paris.

While the building is nice to see in itself, the true gem of the museum are the manicured sculpture gardens, featuring well-trimmed bushes, roses, a fountain, beautiful trees, and Rodin’s sculptures. It’s in the gardens where you’ll find some of Rodin’s most famous works, including “The Thinker” and “The Gates of Hell.”

Rodin Museum Gardens - top museums in Paris France
Rodin Museum.

Info & tips for visiting Rodin Museum

Tickets: Booking your tickets online in advance is highly recommended. The ticket is valid at any time on the chosen date and gives you a skip-the-line entry. It is possible to purchase tickets at the Rodin Museum itself as well, but be prepared to queue (depending on the season/date, the lines can be quite long).

Free entry is available for those under 18 years old and on the 1st Sunday of the month.

If you plan to visit some of the other popular museums in Paris, you can also purchase a combined ticket with a small discount, e.g. for the Rodin + Orsay Museums or Rodin + Orangerie Museum.

Opening times: The Rodin Museum is open daily except on Mondays from 10 AM to 6.30 PM. The last entry is 45 minutes before closing time. During the winter season, the garden closes at dusk. More info on the website of the museum.

How much time do you need: You need between 1.5 to 2 hours to visit the Rodin Museum.

Practical Information: The museum has ramps for those with wheelchairs. The garden is accessible with pathways making it easy to get around. Additionally, there is a cafe located in the sculpture garden if you’re looking for a place to grab a bite to eat.

The Thinker sculpture at Rodin Museum in Paris
The Thinker – one of the most famous sculptures of Rodin.

5. Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) near Paris is the most visited palace in all of Europe. While totally different from any other museums in this selection, it’s a definite must-see when visiting Paris!

Originally built in 1624 by King Louis III as a simple hunting lodge, it was transformed into a grand palace during the reign of his son Louis XIV, also known as the “Sun King.” The Versailles Palace served as the royal residence and the seat of France’s government from 1682 until the French Revolution in 1789.

Today, you can explore the beautiful gardens and fountains, the opulent interiors, and even Marie Antoinette’s village. You’ll need a minimum of a half day to see it all, but you can easily spend a day here too.

Here are a few can’t-miss things to see at the Palace of Versailles:

The Hall of Mirrors, the most famous room at Versailles. It features 43 chandeliers and is lined with mirrors making the room seem infinite.

The Gardens and Fountains. The Palace of Versailles is renowned for its extensive and meticulously designed gardens, which include approximately 2,000 acres of landscaped grounds. The gardens feature numerous fountains, sculptures, a lake, and manicured lawns. Between April and October on Saturdays and Sundays, you can enjoy musical fountain shows throughout the gardens.

The Petit Trianon. This smaller palace within Versailles was built as a private retreat for Marie Antoinette.

Versailles Hall of Mirrors - top museums in Paris
Versailles Hall of Mirrors.

Info & tips for visiting the Palace of Versailles

Tickets: You must purchase tickets online in advance to be guaranteed entrance into Versailles Palace and avoid long queues.

Guided tours are also available (and highly recommended if you want to see the highlights in just a few hours. There are many different options – some include transportation from Paris, others just the guided tour of the palace, and yet others – the palace and the gardens…

We recently took this highly-rated tour which included a skip-the-line entry and guided visit to the palace. We also opted for a short guided intro to the gardens. After the tour, we could explore the gardens further on our own.

Opening times: The Palace of Versailles is open daily except on Mondays, from 9 AM to 5.30 PM. The estate of Trianon opens at noon. Entry to the gardens is free of charge except on fountain shows and during musical gardens. More info here.

How much time do you need: As a minimum, plan on spending a half day at Versailles, including the travel time from Paris. You need about 1.5-2 hours at the main palace and at least an hour for a quick visit to the gardens. If you want to explore everything without feeling too rushed, come in the morning and plan to spend a day.

Practical Information: The Palace of Versailles is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs with elevators and access ramps available for use. There are several cafes and restaurants inside of the palace and also in the village, where you can have lunch.

Gardens of the Palace of Versailles France
The Gardens of Versailles (just a small part of them).

6. Louis Vuitton Foundation

The Louis Vuitton Foundation (Fondation Louis Vuitton) is the best contemporary art museum in Paris. Opened in the fall of 2014, the building was designed by the renowned architect Frank Gehry and is a masterpiece of modern architectural design. It resembles a ship with glass sails blowing in the wind.

The foundation was commissioned by the LVMH Group, a leader in luxury goods, with the aim of supporting artistic creation in the 21st century. The collection and exhibitions primarily focus on modern and contemporary art, featuring works from the 20th and 21st centuries.

In addition to the impressive collection, the museum often also has amazing temporary exhibitions.

Good to know: The museum is located in the Bois de Boulogne, a park on the west side of Paris. In addition, you could also explore this 1000-year-old park, which has a beautiful pond, nice walking trails, and even Michelin-star restaurants.

It takes around 30 minutes to get there by metro from the center of Paris. There is also a shuttle bus that departs every 15-20 minutes from the subway station “Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile” (at the Triumph Arch). It’s included with this museum ticket.

Louis Vuitton Foundation Paris modern art museum
Louis Vuitton Foundation.

Info & tips for visiting the Louis Vuitton Foundation

Tickets: We recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance because this ticket includes a shuttle bus. Plus, you get skip-the-line access to the museum. There are discounted rates available for under 18s.

If you are a student or a teacher in fashion, architecture, or design student, on Thursdays you can visit the Louis Vuitton Foundation free of charge. More info on their website.

Opening times: The Louis Vuitton Foundation is open daily except Tuesdays, from 11 AM to 8 PM. On Fridays, it’s open until 9 PM.

How much time do you need: Plan on spending around 2 hours at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

Practical Information: The Louis Vuitton Foundation is wheelchair-accessible. Additionally, those who are disabled can visit the museum for free. There is a restaurant inside the museum called Restaurant Le Frank, which is run by a Michelin-starred chef.

Modern interior at the Louis Vuitton Foundation museum in Paris
Louis Vuitton Foundation.

7. Grévin Wax Museum

The Grévin Wax Museum (Musée Grévin), founded in 1882, is one of the oldest wax museums in Europe and among the very best in the world. While it may look like a strange choice to include a wax museum on the list of the top museums in Paris, this one is well worth a visit (and very popular)!

Situated on the Grands Boulevards, this wax museum was created by journalist Arthur Meyer and named after its first artistic director, caricaturist Alfred Grévin. Arthur Meyer was inspired by the famous Madame Tussauds in London and wanted to create a space where the public could encounter the celebrities and personalities of the day.

The museum was an instant success, mostly due to Grévin’s extraordinary talent in sculpture and decoration. The Grévin Wax Museum is famous for its meticulously crafted historical scenes, but you will also find celebrities – from King Louis XIV to the most famous actors and sportsmen, but also cartoon characters like the Little Prince or Scrat, to mention just a few…

A must-see is the iconic Hall of Mirrors, which was created for the 1900 World’s Fair and moved to the museum a few years later.

Fashion Hall at Grevin Wax Museum in Paris France
Grevin Museum in Paris is so much more than a wax museum!

Info & tips for visiting the Grevin Wax Museum

Tickets: If you want to avoid potential lines, get the tickets online. While this museum is not as busy as the ones mentioned higher on this list, it really depends on the season and the day when you visit. These tickets are not timed so you have more flexibility. Alternatively, you should be fine buying your tickets at the museum. Free admission is available for children under 5, and reduced tickets for people up to 18 years old.

Opening times: The Grévin Wax Museum is open Monday to Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM. On Saturdays and Sundays, the museum is open from 9 AM to 7PM.

How much time do you need: You need around 1.5 hours to visit the Grévin Wax Museum.

Practical Information: The museum is wheelchair-accessible. There is a cafe located next to the museum called The Grévin Cafe where you can enjoy a coffee or lunch break. Overall, there are many nice restaurants in this part of the city.

TIP: We also recommend exploring the covered galleries here, starting with the one where you exit the museum, but also on the other side of the Boulevard. By making a small detour to this museum, you’ll see a wonderful part of Paris, a bit off the beaten path, but so worth a visit!

Hall of Mirrors, Grevin Museum Paris
Hall of Mirrors, Grevin Museum.

8. Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum (Musée Picasso) is housed in the Hôtel Salé located in the historic Marais district. Built in the 17th century by a salt tax farmer who would collect taxes on behalf of the king, the extravagant building is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture.

Over the centuries, it underwent various modifications and served different purposes. From a place to store books during the French Revolution to an art school, until finally becoming the Picasso Museum.

The museum opened in 1985 and is home to over 5,000 artworks by Pablo Picasso. The collection spans several decades of the artist’s life and also has a fantastic collection of sculptures.

Some of the most notable works of art are “Self Portrait” and “La Celestina” from Picasso’s Blue Period and “Homme à la guitare” from his cubist period.

Throughout the year, the Picasso Museum hosts different exhibitions, which are available to visit with the museum ticket.

Picasso Museum Paris - interior
Picasso Museum.

Info & tips for visiting the Picasso Museum

Tickets: You can purchase priority tickets in advance. However, normally, you should be able to just get a ticket on the spot. We visited during the summer and had no problem buying tickets at the museum. An audio guide is included.

Opening times: The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10.30 AM to 6 PM, and Saturdays and Sundays from 9.30 AM to 6 PM. More info here.

How much time do you need: You need 1.5 – 2 hours to visit the Picasso Museum in Paris.

Practical Information: The museum has elevators and access ramps making it accessible for those with wheelchairs. There is also a rooftop cafe overlooking the courtyard that serves drinks, salads, and sandwiches.

Several portrait paintings at Picasso Museum in Paris
Picasso Museum in Paris.

9. Les Invalides, Napoleon’s Tomb & Army Museum

Les Invalides is a large complex of buildings that hosts The Army Museum (Musée de l’Armée) and is home to Napoleon’s Tomb. The building was erected in the 17th century under the reign of Louis XIV and was originally used as a hospital and home for war veterans.

The most famous and most visited part of this museum is The Dome Church which houses a massive ornate sarcophagus with the remains of Napoleon Bonaparte.

This is the last resting place of Napoleon after the repatriation of his remains from Saint Helena in 1840. It took over two decades to build this special tomb and it was only inaugurated in 1861. Napoleon’s son, brothers, and several other military leaders are also buried here.

At the same site, you’ll also find the Army Museum. It features one of the largest artillery collections in the world and includes everything from medieval weapons to cannons from the Napoleonic era and even modern-day artillery pieces.

Additionally, you’ll find exhibitions from both World War I and World War II, which includes a significant collection of items from both of these wars.

Les Invalides Paris
Les Invalides.

Info & tips for visiting Les Invalides

Tickets: Les Invalides is not as popular as some of the other museums in Paris; however, depending on the season or the day of your visit, you may encounter long lines. So if you want to visit without wasting time queuing, we highly recommend that you book your ticket online. The ticket includes both – Napoleon’s Tomb as well as Army Museum.

Opening times: Les Invalides is open every day from 10 AM – 6 PM, with a late-night opening on the first Friday of the month. More info here.

How much time do you need: Plan on spending 2-3 hours exploring the Army Museum and visiting Napoleon’s Tomb.

Practical Information: The Army Museum is accessible with wheelchair access throughout the entire museum. However, Napoleon’s Tomb is not accessible and has stairs both inside and outside.

There is a small restaurant inside of the museum where you can pick up a drink or a light snack.

Napoleon's Tomb at Les Invalides in Paris France
Napoleon’s Tomb.

10. Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou is a modern and contemporary art museum in the center of Paris. It’s housed in one of the most unique buildings in the city. Designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, it features colored pipes and ducts on the external facade making it impossible to miss.

The Pompidou Centre has an enormous collection of more than 140,000 works of art by world-famous artists, such as Frida Kahlo, Piet Mondrian, Salvador Dali, and Joan Miro.

Some of the must-see artworks include “The Frame” by Frida Kahlo, “Les mariés de la Tour Eiffel” by Marc Chagall, “La Blouse Roumaine” by Henri Matisse, and “Picture with a black arch” by Wassily Kandinsky.

TIP: Make sure to stop by the Atelier Brancusi which is located in a separate building outside of the Centre Pompidou. It’s a free small museum that explores the many sculptures created by Constantin Brancusi.

Centre Pompidou Museum in Paris
Centre Pompidou.

Info & tips for visiting the Centre Pompidou

Tickets: The museum works with timed entry slots, so it’s best to get your tickets online. Normally, it’s also possible to buy tickets at the entrance, but you may have to wait even longer.

Good to know: Pompidou Center will soon be closing for a complete renovation (some spaces already starting in the fall of 2024, the rest by summer 2025). It’s scheduled to reopen in 2030. So if you want to visit this iconic Paris museum, do it now!

Opening times: Centre Pompidou is open daily except Tuesdays, from 11 AM to 9 PM. Kids galleries close earlier and some galleries also have a late-night opening on Thursdays. For more info, see the website of the museum.

How much time do you need: This is a large museum and how much time you spend here really depends on what you want to see. Ideally, you plan 3-4 hours to do this museum justice, but you can also see some of the highlights in 1.5-2 hours.

Practical Information: Wheelchairs are available at the reception desk and there are elevators around the museum. If you are color blind, you may borrow a pair of EnChroma glasses for free from the cloakroom. Additionally, there is a cafe and bookstore inside of the Centre Pompidou.

TIP: Restaurant Georges on the rooftop of Centre Pompidou offers an exceptional city view. If you want to dine here at sunset, be sure to reserve in advance!

Paris Pompidou Centre colorful exterior and pipes
The colorful exterior of the Pompidou Centre

11. Petit Palais

The Petit Palais (English: Small Palace) located between the famous bridge Pont Alexandre III and Avenue des Champs-Élysées is home to the Museum of Fine Arts. This is one of the few Paris museums that is free to access.

This beautiful Palace was originally constructed for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. Designed by architect Charles Girault, the building is a stunning example of Belle Époque architecture with its impressive dome and grandiose facade.

After the exposition, it became a museum in 1902. The Petit Palais hosts an impressive array of artworks, ranging from ancient artifacts to 19th-century paintings and sculptures.

Some of the most famous artworks here are “Sunset on the Seine at Lavacourt, Winter Effect” by Claude Monet, “Woman Wearing Gloves” by Charles-Alexandre Giron, and the sculpture “Ugolino” by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.

TIP: Make sure to save some time to visit the Interior Garden. This green haven offers an escape from the busy streets of Paris and is a wonderful spot to take a break.

Petit Palais Paris
Petit Palais.

Info & tips for visiting the Petit Palais

Tickets: Access to the permanent collection is free for everyone. If you want to visit temporary exhibitions, you’ll need a ticket.

Opening times: The Petit Palais is open daily except Mondays from 10 AM to 6 PM. On Fridays and Saturdays, temporary exhibitions are open until 8 PM. More info here.

How much time do you need: Plan to spend 1.5-2 hours for your visit to the Petit Palais.

Practical Information: Some parts of the museum are wheelchair-accessible. Visitors with disabilities get free admission to the temporary exhibitions. There is a cafe near the Interior Garden that serves a variety of drinks and quick bites.

Petit Palais Museum in Paris France
Petit Palais Museum.

Our Top 5 Paris Museums

With limited time in Paris, you most likely won’t have time to see all the museums listed in this guide. Which ones to pick, really depends on your interests and also the overall itinerary.

To help you decide, here are our top 5 Paris Museums:

  1. D’Orsay Museum.
  2. Versailles Palace.
  3. The Louvre.
  4. Orangerie Museum.
  5. Rodin Museum.

And if you have more time and are looking for even more inspiration on interesting museums to see in Paris, below, you can find a few additional suggestions.

Versailles - one of the best museums in Paris
The Palace of Versailles.

More Museums to Visit in Paris

While the main museums in Paris are wonderful to visit, there are plenty of smaller and lesser-known museums that are really interesting too. Here are some additional recommendations:

  • Conciergerie. This beautiful 14th-century Gothic fortress was turned into a prison during the French Revolution. Among other things, you can see the cell of Marie Antoinette. Tickets include an iPad guide that brings the building to life through Augmented Reality. This museum is located just next to the famous Sainte-Chapelle (a must-see in Paris!) and if you want to visit both, you can save some money with a combination ticket.
  • National Museum of Natural History. This is one of the best Paris museums to visit with kids. You can learn all about different plants, animals, and the natural world. It’s located in the Jardin des Plantes, one of the most beautiful parks in Paris.
  • Musée Carnavalet. This small museum is dedicated to the history of the city and is free to visit. Explore the museum’s extensive collection of artifacts, paintings, furniture, and styled rooms to learn more about the early days of Paris. Make sure to check out the gardens too – they are one of the city’s best hidden gems.
  • Musée Marmottan Monet. This museum has one of the best collections of Claude Monet’s artworks. It even features Monet’s “Impression, Sunrise”, which is arguably the painting that launched the impressionist movement.
  • Musée Gustave Moreau. This house-museum features the work of Gustave Moreau, a French Symbolist painter Located in the artist’s former studio, a visit here is also like taking a trip back in time to 19th-century Paris.
  • Cluny Museum – National Museum of the Middle Ages. Located in the beautiful Ghotic mansion in the Latin Quarter, this museum is a hidden gem. It’s home to the famous “Lady and The Unicorn” tapestries from the late 15th – early 16th centuries. It’s worth a visit for this alone!
  • Musée de Montmartre. This little museum is housed in a 17th-century building that was once home/atelier of various famous artists, such as Auguste Renoir, Émile Bernard, and Suzanne Valadon, to mention a few. Located in the famous Montmartre neighborhood, which was the home of the art movement in the 19th century, the museum is focused on telling the story of this significant time in Paris.

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Montmartre

… This list could go on and on. There are so many museums in Paris that you could spend a lifetime trying to see them all. But even if you just visit a few of them, it will make your trip so much more memorable!

Below, you can find some practical tips for visiting Paris museums – read on!

Conciergerie Museum in Paris
Conciergerie Museum.

Tips for Paris Museums

Here are some helpful tips for visiting museums in Paris:

  • Reserve your tickets in advance! Many museums in Paris, such as the Louvre, Versailles, Orsay Museum, and Orangerie Museum, require to reserve a time slot in advance. Furthermore, during the high season (+-May to October), Paris is extremely busy and things book up fast. To ensure you get to see the places you want during your trip, you really need to book well in advance!
  • Use GetYourGuide or Tiqets to reserve Paris museum tickets. They are official resellers and offer many advantages. First, it’s simple to book, amend, or cancel your reservations – all in one place and with a few clicks. In addition, you can immediately see what’s available, which tour options there are, or which combination tickets can save you money. They work with electronic tickets so in most cases you can just scan QR codes at the entrance of the museum. Whereas the official websites often require you to create an account (one per museum!), ask to provide tons of unnecessary info, and make it much more difficult to amend your booking, etc.
  • Consider the Paris Museum Pass. It offers great value for the money and most of the museums mentioned in this list are included. However, there are a few drawbacks. First, you will have to pick it up at a certain location. Furthermore, you will still need to book timed-entry slots for most popular museums separately. And lastly – for us – one big museum per day is usually all that our backs (and kids) can handle. But if you are planning on visiting several museums in a day, for a few days in a row, it might be worth it.
  • Try to visit the most popular museums in the morning. The Louvre and Versailles Palace can get extremely crowded during the busy season. Try to get a time slot right when the museums open to enjoy the experience without the masses. Alternatively, visit in the late afternoon or on late opening evenings and leave the most famous artworks for last, just before the closing time.
  • Check if there are any special events or temporary exhibitions during your visit. For example, there was an Edvard Munch exhibition when we visited the d’Orsay Museum once and on another occasion, they had a big collection of Van Gogh’s last paintings, etc. Most museums have temporary exhibitions and often, they are worth a visit just as much as the permanent collection.
  • Don’t try to see ‘everything’. It might look tempting to rush through a museum or try to see all the most famous museums in Paris in two days, but you will be exhausted and won’t enjoy it. We recommend visiting one or a maximum of two large museums per day. Three is really pushing limits, but a lot also depends on the specific museums you choose, how far they are located from each other, how big the collection is, and what other plans you have for the same day.
  • Consider guided tours. If you are visiting Paris for the first time, you’ll likely want to see as many of the ‘musts’ as possible. So does everyone else. The main museums can get really crowded and a visit is absolutely overwhelming. Many people end up tired and frustrated and often don’t even find the main artworks, or don’t understand what they are seeing. A guided tour is by far the best way to appreciate the biggest museums in Paris and see a lot in a short time.
  • Rent audio guides. If you are not going with a guide, the best way to visit any museum on your own is with their audio guides. Even if you just listen to a small part of the information, it will help you to appreciate the museum and get a much better understanding of the artists and their artworks.
  • Only carry what you really need. Most museums and other tourist attractions in Paris have an airport-style security check, so the less stuff you have, the better (and no sharp items!). Plus, most museums don’t allow big bags/backpacks and you’ll be asked to leave them in the lockers. I always pack a crossbody bag for sightseeing in Paris, it’s safer than a purse and easier than a backpack (most places ask you to leave backpacks in lockers – no matter how big or small they are).
  • Wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking and standing when visiting Paris museums, so make sure to wear shoes that are comfortable and easy to stand in for long periods.

READ ALSO: Paris Travel Tips

Large clock at d'Orsay Museum in Paris
d’Orsay Museum.

So, this is our guide to some of the best museums in Paris. I hope that it gives you a better idea of what to expect, makes it easier to decide where to go, and helps you plan a truly memorable visit.

TIP: If you are looking for some ideas on what to see or how to plan your time in Paris, take a look at our guides below for more inspiration and information for your trip!

More travel inspiration for visiting Paris:

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Best museums to visit in Paris France

Photos: Personal collection, Jenoa Matthes,, and Additional credits: yorgy67/ mim.berkozdemir/


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