There are so many great museums in Paris that it is difficult for the visitor to Paris to pick which ones to go to. Here is our top five Paris museums:
The Louvre Museum is France’s biggest museum, with a massive collection of artworks spread across eight categories. These are Oriental Antiquities, Islamic Art, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities as well as more contemporary Paintings, Sculptures, Art items, Prints and Drawings. Visitors can also learn about the beginnings of the Louvre, such as the moats that date from the late 12th century. The Venus of Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Mona Lisa are just some of the world famous pieces housed here.
The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world ( 9,334,435 visitors in 2013) and the most popular of the museums in Paris.
The Musée d’Orsay is situated in the old Orsay station, which itself was built where the Palais d’Orsay previously stood to serve the 1900 World Fair. The Orsay station blended perfectly into the majestic environment and operated until 1939. In 1977, work on what was to eventually become the Musée d’Orsay began, and it has been exhibiting artworks to the masses since 1986. Its collection dates from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century, and it is critically acclaimed for its impressionist paintings, which are recognised around the world.
For anyone who loves Impressionist paintings, this museum offers a unique opportunity to see a wide range of painters including Monet, Manet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne, Sisley, Gauguin, Van Gogh and others.
No photo, illustration or on line image does justice to the originals which viewers can only appreciate when seen live.
The Centre Pompidou (also called Beaubourg) dates from 1977 and is dedicated to modern sculpture, painting, books, cinema, video, performances and music. It has on display the permanent collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, whilst also showing temporary exhibitions. The Bibliothèque Publique d’Information also puts on public readings here, while a range of theatre, dance and music performances are hosted. It is a popular venue for movie screenings, debates and conventions.
The Musée Rodin dates from the early 20th century and is one of the most visited of France’s museums, welcoming approximately half a million people through its doors annually. Even the Orangerie and the Picasso museum do not receive as many visitors – only the Louvre, Versailles and Musée d’Orsay are more popular. It houses the many marble and bronze pieces created by Auguste Rodin, as well as exhibiting works by Camille Claudel, Van Gogh, Monet and Renoir, to name just a few. It is situated in what used to be the Hôtel Biron – where Rodin created his masterpieces. On his death he bequeathed his works to France’s people, and stipulated that in return the Hôtel Biron should become an exhibition space dedicated to his sculptures. Some of his works are also displayed in the spacious grounds of the building.
The Palais de Tokyo is one of Paris‘ most innovative establishments, and stands alone in having a midnight closing time. It is beside the Musée d’Art Moderne, and has a unique modus operande. No permanent collections are housed here. Instead, visitors roam amongst interactive temporary exhibitions in a minimalist, open plan setting and purchase their tickets from a trailer. The self service restaurant is very popular, as one can eat al fresco when the sun is shining. The Library is also a hit, as it has the most publications on modern art in the city. ‘Vernissage’ is hosted on the first Thursday of each month, and is a great experience.