Those lucky enough to live in Paris have ample time to explore all of the museums the city has to offer. For the rest of us, who only visit Paris for a couple of weeks at a time, we want to see the best of the city, including its museums, without spending all of our time indoors staring at art-covered walls.
So here are my three favorite museums in Paris. If you incorporate each of these into your trip, then you’ll have a broad grasp of what Paris has to offer on the museum front, while still having plenty of time to eat baguettes in the city’s gardens, stroll along the Seine, and otherwise enjoy more leisurely Parisian activities.
Musée de l’Orangerie
Adult admission €9, closed Tuesdays, website here.
I was absolutely blown away when I stepped inside the Musée de l’Orangerie’s Monet Water Lilies exhibit. The eight canvases are massive and make you feel as if you’re immersed in the depicted gardens. Plus I love the simplicity of the white background, as it really enhances the colors in the paintings.
There are other paintings downstairs, but none of them have quite the same star factor as Monet’s Water Lilies. Therefore, if you only have a short amount of time, visit the Musée de l’Orangerie and head straight upstairs for this exhibit. It’s well worth the cost of admission, even if you only have 30 minutes to spare.
Whatever you do, don’t miss it! It’s the only art exhibit in Paris that impresses you the minute you step into the room.
Adult admission €12, closed Mondays, website here.
The Musée d’Orsay is a former train station turned museum, and an impressionist art-lover’s Mecca. It has the best general collections of Manet, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and my favorite, Degas, in the world, and is not a museum you’ll want to miss!
If you’re pressed for time, head directly to the museum’s top floor where you’ll find much of Musée d’Orsay’s impressionist treasure.
Does this picture remind you of anything?
And if you need an escape, you can access the roof of the museum from here.
It’s definitely worth a look, since from the roof you can gaze at the Louvre across the Seine.
As well as see other famous Parisian sights, like the Sacré Coeur in the distance.
Musée du Louvre
Adult admission €15, closed Tuesdays, website here.
The Louvre certainly has the prettiest museum facade in Paris, and considering its status as a former palace this is no surprise.
It’s also the largest museum in the western world, so you’ll certainly have plenty to see while you’re there. One of the things I appreciate most is its vast array of items, including statues.
Like the famed Winged Victory of Samothrace.
There are also paintings, of course.
And you can’t visit without seeing the museum’s most famous piece, the Mona Lisa.
Just keep in mind everyone will be wanting to see it too!
The Louvre also has ornate ceilings and rugs…
As well as furniture.
The variety is truly endless.
You can’t go to Paris and not visit the Louvre. However, it’s my least favorite museum on this list. That’s because it’s very crowded, especially around the most famous pieces, and so extensive it can be exhausting. You have to go, but just keep in mind you don’t have to go forever.
After all, there may be a baguette and a garden calling your name!
(You can find all of my France travel posts here).
P.S. My pink dress is by Alexis. You can shop the designer here.