Beautiful sunset over Louvre Museum architecture

14 Best museums in Paris for a cultural day out

Tamerlan Mehdiyev Tamerlan Mehdiyev 26 August 2021
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Paris is the soul and heart of Europe. It has always played a great role in forming cultures, poetry, art, architecture. No wonder Paris is called the city of light (La Ville Lumière) and the city of love (Ville de l'amour) at the same time. You might have seen at least the photos of famous buildings and monuments in Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame, and the Sacre-Cœur, three landmarks of the city. We all have a friend or friends (or maybe it is you) who talk a lot about Paris or share content showcasing Paris on social media platforms. When we think of Paris, often we imagine a medieval city, but the history of Paris, in reality, goes way back to the earliest as 8000 BC. However, it reached its mightiest form during the middle ages when it became the largest city in the continent, an important religious and commercial centre, and the birthplace of the Gothic style of architecture. The geographical positioning of the city was one of the major factors in its development. With the help of the Seine, Oise, Marne, and Yerres rivers, the city was abundantly supplied with various goods, making it one of the most important and visited trade centres during the middle ages. In the mid 13th century, one of the world's oldest universities, the University of Paris, was built, contributing to the developments in science, art. Later the city transformed into Europe's book publishing centre.

To spend an inspiring day soaking up fascinating culture and art and finding time for reflection, Paris should be at the top of your list for a cultural day. With little background info about Paris, you should acknowledge how ancient and important Paris is. It is an indisputable fact that one of the best ways to learn about a city, its history, culture is to visit museums. For today's article, we will stick to this method and will give you a Paris museums list to learn more about the city, its history, and culture. Making up this list was not an easy job, as there are too many museums in Paris. How many museums in Paris? There are 130 museums in Paris. Honestly, that is a lot to fit in one article. Therefore, we will only look at the best museums in Paris. To see these museums and more, you need a French visa.

There will be different types of museums depending on tastes. Without further ado, let's have a look at these top museums in Paris.

1. Musee d'Orsay

museum in paris

This museum is not only one of the best impressionist museums Paris but also in the world. Some even argue it is the best of its kind in the world. Here world's finest collections of Impressionist paintings, drawings, and sculptures are exhibited. It is a relatively small museums in Paris but can rival any museum in Paris, with its rarest collections. Here, you will find works of many well-known artists such as Victor Van Gogh and works of relatively lesser-known artists such as Edgar Degas, Renoir, Delacroix, Gaugin, and Caillebotte, etc.

2. Petit Palais

petit palais

Petit Palais, one of the impressionist museums Paris, has one major difference that distinguishes the museum from others. It is free of charge entry to see permanent collections that visitors can enjoy. At the entry gate, you will marvel at the imposing exterior of this building. The design of the building is pure, classic, and elegant. Most people find it picturesque, thereby taking photos. You might want to have a photo with such a beautiful structure. Here you will find the finest artworks by Poussin, Dore, Courbet, and the Impressionists.

3. Palais Galliera

palace galliera exterior and garden

Paris is considered to be the world fashion capital. French design and fashion companies now play leading roles in shaping the fashion industry. Fashion museums Paris are as important as these brands. Palais Galleria is one of the best museums to see in Paris if you are into fashion. Over the last years, visitors enjoyed exhibitions of Azzedine Alaïa, Jeanne Lanvin, and "Anatomy of a Collection". Outside of the museum also deserve much attention. The gardens of the museum are carefully designed and manicured. This museum ensures the best time for fashion enthusiasts.

4. Musee des Arts et Metiers

church of saint martin des champs

Musee des arts et metiers is one of the best science museums Paris. It was established in 1794 by Henry Gregorie. More than 2400 scientific artefacts are exhibited in this museum. You can find many amazing historical technologies in the museum. Some of them are prototypes of essential gadgets that are popular today. Different from other museums, it is more peaceful here as it does not receive as many visitors as other top museums in Paris. The museum will take you on a technological journey through time.

5. The Museum of Decorative Arts

main hall

This one is one of my favourites on the Paris museums list. It is not because of its immense treasure of artefacts, but because of its elegant, influencing interior. It is impossible not to get impressed by the elegance of the interior design. The Museum of Decorative Arts is among the best fashion museums Paris. It was opened to the public in 1905. Since then, it has received donations of immense fashion treasures from the likes of Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Christian Lacroix. Some of the exhibits even date back to the 8th century. Here you will find more than 150,000 fashion pieces.

6. Palais de la Decouverte Science Museum

garden jardin de la nouvelle

This museum can easily be distinguished with its interactive exhibits. Established in 1937 by Nobel prize-winning Jean Baptiste Perrin, it is one of the best (if not the best) science museums Paris. Here visitors can enjoy astronomy, historical exhibits.

7. The Centre Pompidou

centre pompidou

Although it is not as famous as the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame, the Centre Pompidou, one of the best museums in Paris, is getting more and more known by people. This massive museum is known for having the largest art collection in Europe. It was opened in 1977 with a creative idea of mixing and forming a modern art museum, library, exhibition. The museum serves different tastes. Anyone can find something to enjoy.

8. Musee du Quai Branly

museum du quai branly

Musee du Quai Branly is not like other museums, and it has very distinct features that make it special. You might ask, what makes it so special? To start off, we can count on its exterior. This modern style building is covered by ivy, which changes its look to be more environmentally friendly. Secondly, it has a collection of artefacts that are originated in different parts of the world. Here you will find treasures from the Americas, Africa, Oceania, Asia. 10th-century anthropomorphic Dogon statue from Mali is the jewel of these collections. You will also find Gabonese masks, Aztec statues, Peruvian feather tunics, etc.

9. Jeu de Paume

galerie du jeu de paume

Jeu de Paume is one of the small museums in Paris. Nonetheless, its collections are worth seeing, especially if you are into cinema. It has one floor and a basement which is comprised of a video art and cinema suite. Here films made by artists are exhibited.

10. Musee de Bourdelle

antoine bourdelle workshop

Although it is not as big as it was between the 19th and 20th centuries, there are still many things worth seeing. The museum is famous for its monumental works that bring to life famous people who were part of the Theater of the Champs-Elysees. The museum is named after Antonio Bourdelle, who was an influential French sculptor and teacher.

11. The Louvre

louvre museum

France has many giant museums, but this one is not only immense and also the world's largest and most visited museum. Louvre museum was established in 1793, and ever since, it has grown. For that feature, some call it a city within a city. Not only does it possess more than 35000 artefacts, but also the most famous ones, such as the portrait of the Mona Lisa and some of Da Vinci's works. It is definitely one of the best museums to see in Paris. It is advised to check their official website to see which exhibitions are closed or open.

12. Musee de l'Orangerie

orangerie museum

Are you into paintings? If your answer is yes, then this museum is a must-go place for you. It exhibits the most of works of Monet. However, you will also find others such as Cezanne, Renoir, Matisse, and Picasso's works.

13. Musee Nissim de Camando

This museum was established and named after Nissim, who was a son of Count Moïse de Camondo, killed during the First World War. This museum is full of artefacts dating back to the 16th and 15th centuries.

14. Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature

museum of hunting and nature

This museum is especially for people who are enthusiastic about nature. If you want to have a look at the history of animal life, you might want to try this museum.

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Tamerlan Mehdiyev

Tamerlan Mehdiyev is a science geek. He is doing a master's in Earth sciences and now planning to research climate change. He loves nature and fond of observing the beauties of the Earth. He believes traveling can help him to grow wise and find inner peace. His life goal is to see different places, cultures, people as many as possible.

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