Paris is home to some of the world’s best museums. Exhibitions showcase modern and contemporary art work. You’ll find the famous work of Picasso, Monet, Calder and many more. For art enthusiasts and historians, Paris offers impressive exhibitions that must top your vacation itinerary.
Regardless of your favorite medium, you’re sure to find great treasures in the following museums.
Musée du Louvre
The Louvre is one of the best known museums. The elaborate building houses some of the world’s most treasured art pieces. While it owns more than 300,000 paintings, it only shows a small percentage at any one time. You’ll find the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo here. You could practically spend your entire vacation here. If that’s not in your itinerary, at the least, plan for a full day or two to explore the exhibitions.
The Orsay museum showcases 19th century paintings, as well as some well- known pieces of French impressionism and post-impressionism. Glass and iron canopies top the building, a nod to its prior use as a former railway station. You’ll find the Whistler’s Mother among the vast collection of paintings and sculptures.
National Museum of Modern Art at Centre Pompidou
Originally located in the Palais de Tokyo, the museum moved to its current location in 1977. The National Museum of Modern Art exhibits more than 70,000 modern art pieces. Its collection is considered the second largest in the world. Two floors cover major 20th century pieces, including Cubism, Surrealism and Pop Art. Its prestigious, permanent collection also features newly acquired pieces and visiting exhibitions.
Musée National du Moyen Age and Thermes de Cluny
This unique museum houses an impressive collection of medieval artifacts. Its must-see moniker stems from its exhibition of tapestries, including the 15th century tapestry cycle, The Lady and the Unicorn (La Dame à la Licorne). Part of the museum includes the remains of the 3rd century Gallo-Roman baths (also known as Thermes de Cluny). You’ll also find 7th and 8th century sculptures, as well as gold and ivory pieces.
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
The City Museum of Modern Art is located in the Palais de Tokyo, an art mall. While this museum is smaller than the more well-known museums, it houses impressive pieces of 20th century Parisian art. You’ll find Picasso (painting and sculpture), Leger, Braque and Arp. It’s also quieter and less crowded than the bigger museums. As an added bonus, its café also lends itself as the perfect spot to view the Eiffel Tower and the Seine.
If you plan on visiting multiple Paris museums be sure to get the Paris Pass. It includes fast-track entry to many popular attractions and museums and will save you precious time, in addition to money.