Whether you’re traveling to Paris for the first time or the tenth time, you’ll likely want to see a few museums while you’re there. If you’re coming from the US, the exibits on this Paris Museum List are going to be some of the best you’ve ever seen! I’ve been to a lot of museums in the US and some of them are great, but they don’t hold a candle to the ones we went to in Paris.
Disclaimer: please don’t get discouraged by the length of this list. Unless you’re traveling to Paris for a couple months, there’s no way you’ll get through all of them in one visit. That just means you have a reason to come back for more!
It’s also worth nothing that as of right now, you need to reserve time slots for most of these museums online before you go. I recommend doing this before your trip (or at least a few days before you want to visit the museum) because early time slots fill up fast.
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My Personal favorites
In my opinion, these are the best museums in Paris. This is the list to start with if you’re traveling to Paris for the first time.
Musee D’Orsay was such a good surprise to me. I didn’t look up what was in this museum before I visited, but so many people told me how good it was, so I trusted them and they didn’t let me down! This museum is known for it’s giant clock. If you go right when it opens, you can have this display to yourself. My favorite part of Musee D’Orsay was the impressionist painting section. They had so many beautiful Monet paintings that I could have spent all day looking at.
Musee de l’Orangerie is another great museum if you like Monet. The main exhibit here (for me at least) was two rooms lined with massive Monet paintings called Water Lillies.
Musee Marmottan Monet is one last museum you should visit for everything Monet. I didn’t actually get a chance to go to this one, but my friend Laurel, writer for Lost in Laurel Land, went and showed me pictures that made me wish I had gone with her.
Conciergerie is where Marie Antoinette was held before her execution. This museum is all about the French Revolution and the history of the building where they held prisoners.
Louvre Museum is an obvious choice for this list as it’s the most popular museum in Paris. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to explore the Louvre on this trip, but I still recommend it if you go. This museum is home to Mona Lisa as well as enough art to keep you busy for about seven weeks! You won’t see everything here in one visit.
Palace of Versailles is not technically in Paris, but it’s worth a short train ride out of the city. This former royal palace is filled with ornate furniture and decorations.
Sainte Chapelle is a short visit. It consists of two rooms. The first is the gift shop along with ruins from the church. The second is a large chapel with massive, impressive stained glass windows lining the walls.
Paris Opera House is not technically a museum, but you can pay to walk around and look at the ornate architecture inside. You can even walk into one of the booths to see the stage. Bonus points to anyone who can find the booth reserved for the Phantom of the Opera!
Other Museums in Paris
Notre Dame would have likely made it into my favorites, but it’s under construction right now and closed to the public.
Rodin Museum is a beautiful building that showcases the sculpures and other works of art by artist Auguste Rodin.
Musee National Picasso is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon looking at works of art by Picasso. It is in Le Marais which is a beautiful area to walk around in.
Louis Vuitton Foundation is a building sponsored by the LVMH Group that houses contemporary art.
The Army Museum is a great option for people interested in France’s military history.
Musée de Cluny is currently closed for renovations, but should reopen in 2022. It’s known for it’s beautiful floral tapestries.
Petit Palais houses an extensive fine arts collection. There is also a Monet painting here called “Sunset on the Seine”.
Musée Carnavalet is perfect for anyone looking for the history of Paris.
This is by no means an extensive list of museums in Paris. There are so many more to see if you have the time, but this is where I’d start if you’re visiting for a limited amount of time.
Paris Museum Pass
If you plan to visit several places on this Paris museum list, I recommend looking into either the Paris Museum Pass or the Paris Citypass (aka. ParisPass). We bought the Paris Museum Pass from Get Your Guide and it allowed us access to every museum on this list and so many more.
You can buy the 2, 4, or 6 day pass, but the days you use them must be consecutive. For example, if I buy the 2 day Paris Museum Pass and I go to a museum on Monday, my pass is only good for Monday and Tuesday.
To get the pass, you’ll need to pick it up at the Get Your Guide office which is near the Louvre museum. They’ll give you a card with a barcode which will be your ticket into each museum. Your consecutive days don’t start until you scan the barcode the first time.
It’s also worth noting that the Paris Museum Pass doesn’t guarantee you entry into each museum. If the museum you want to go to requires a reservation, you must still make a reservation through their website. To see if a reservation is required, just click on the links above to each museum and their website should tell you.
Paris CityPass (aka parispass)
The ParisPass is very similar to the Paris Museum Pass except that it is pricier and has a lot more to it. Just like the Museum Pass, you can buy the ParisPass for 2, 3, 4, or 6 consecutive days. Unlike the Museum Pass, the City Pass offers things like walking tours, beer/wine tastings, and even a ride up the Eiffle Tower.
If you’re interested in having everything included in one price, this would be a good option for you. However, if you don’t want to worry about only doing things on the list of included activities, I’d stick with the Paris Museum Pass.