Paris Museums - Paris art gallery - Paris Louvre Museum - Paris Musee D'Orsay - Paris Centre Pompidou

Author: Marc Bertrand

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Paris Museums And Galleries, France

Louvre Museum

The most famous museum in the world winds around in a grandiose building that is an attraction in itself. The Louvre was built in many phases, in 1190 it was a fortress the remains of which can be seen under the Sully wing. It completely changed appearance in the mid 1500's and became a Renaissance style residence. Since then various rulers have added modifications and expansions, the most recent was the glass pyramid added in 1989. The Louvre houses the great collections of the French royal family and many works stolen by Napoleon during his campaigns to conquer new lands. It is impossible to visit the Louvre's collection in one visit - it contains 30,000 pieces. The museum is divided into macro-sections; it is advisable to choose an area before you visit.

  • European painting: from 1400 to 1900 with many great Flemish, German, Italian and naturally French works. Mona Lisa's smile is housed here, but it is only a drop in the bucket of masterpieces of each artist and era.
  • European sculpture: the biggest part is French sculpture, primarily from the 17th and 18th centuries, there is also an interesting section on Italian sculpture.
  • Antiquities: Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman. Artifacts of extraordinary importance and beauty.
  • Decorative arts: a very vast range of objects: silver, jewels, tapestries, furniture, ceramics, ivory and much more from all over the world. The Galerie d'Apolon contains the jewels of the French Crown.

Hours: Mon., Thurs., Sat. and Sun. 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Wed., Fri. 9:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Closed Tuesday.

Metro: L1/L7 Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre. Batobus: Louvre, Quai François Mitterrand

Musée D'Orsay

This extraordinary museum is dedicated to art from 1848 to 1914 when Paris was the center of the art, culture and fashion world. The museum is located in the former Left Bank train station built in Art Nouveau style in 1900. It was converted to a museum in the 1980's after just missing being destroyed, and is currently one of the most famous and most visited museums in the world. The collections are mainly paintings and sculptures, and range from the Romantic and pre-Impressionist period, while the upper floor contains the famous Impressionist collection with the great names from the period: Monet, Manet, Renoir, Gaugain, Cezanne, Pissarro, Degas and even Van Gogh.

Metro: L12 Solferino. RER: Line C, Musée d'Orsay

Hours: Tues., Wed., Fri., Sat. and Sun. 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Thurs. 9:30 a.m.-9:45 p.m. Closed Monday.

Picasso Museum

The largest collection of Picasso's works in the world, with 200 paintings, 160 sculptures and 88 ceramics and collages, as well as many many drawings and prints. The museum spans Picasso's artistic life in chronological order from the Blue Period to the Pink Period including cubism and his later works. Where: Hotel de Salé, Rue de Thorigny.

Metro: L8 St Sebastien.

Hours: April-September 9.30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; October-March 9.30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

National Museum of Modern Art

The national modern art museum is housed in the futuristic Centre Pompidou, in the Beaubourg Quarter. The collection is truly enormous, the museum possess more than 30,000 pieces which are rotated in expositions which do not contain any more than 900. The works cover the entire period from the early 1900's to the present, one of the biggest collections of contemporary art in the world: cubism, dadism, surrealism, expressionism and pop art, minimal art and contemporary avant-garde movements, with the greatest names of the 20th century: Miró, Giacometti, Dubuffet, Picasso, Matisse, Léger, Chagall, Kandinsky, without forgetting great Americans like Pollock and Andy Warhol.

Where: Centre Georges Pompidou. Metro: L11 Rambuteau. RER: Les Halles

Hours: 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m, closed Tuesday.

Middle Ages Museum

The national medieval museum is a must for lovers of the Dark Ages. It is housed in the Hotel de Cluny, a splendid 15th century medieval building originally home to the Benedictine monks of Cluny. Its cellars contain the remains of a 2nd century Roman bath. The museum displays a rich collection of French medieval art: furniture, tapestries, armor and sculpture. The heads of the Kings of Israel and Judah, removed from Notre Dame during the Revolution, are among the most interesting pieces in the museum.

Where: 6, Place Paul Painlevé. Metro: L10 Cluny La Sorbonne

Hours: 9.15am - 5.45pm

National Museum of Natural History

An enormous museum complex dedicated to natural history, divided into various section most of which are located near the Jardin des Plantes.

  • Paleontology galleries: collection of skeletons and fossils which cover more than 600 million years of the history of life.
  • Mineralogy and geology galleries: one of the most prestigious collections in the world, with minerals, crystals and precious gems.
  • Gallery of evolution: a journey through the world of living animal species and those which are already extinct.
  • Botanical garden: opened to the public in 1640, this is an exceptional garden which extends over an area of various hectares.
  • Museum of man: ethnology and anthropology collection which traces the history of human evolution from 3.5 million years ago to the present. The Musée de l'Homme is located at the Trocadero. (Place du Trocadéro, Metro L6/L9 Trocadéro).

Where: 57 Rue Cuvier. Metro: L7/L10 Jussieu. RER: Gare d'Austerlitz

Hours: 10.00 a.m.-6:00 p.m, sun 10.00 a.m-6.30 p.m. Closed Tuesday. 

Museum of Science (Cité des Sciences)

The museum of science and technology is part of the Cité complex, a large futuristic space built in the former municipal slaughter house. The museum of science is the so-called Explora, it offers a 360 degree view of science, environment, technology, information technology, astronomy and much more. Temporary exhibits are held regularly in the Cité, there is also a Planetarium, City of Children, the underwater Argonaute and many other attractions.

Where: Parc de la Villette 30, Av. Corentin Cariou. Metro: L7 Porte de la Villette

Hours: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Sun. 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., closed Monday. 

Paris Fashion Museum

Paris' fashion museum tells the story of great French fashion from the 1700's to the present. 90,000 pieces are on display: not just clothing, but also costumes and fashion accessories.

Where: 10 Avenue Pierre-Ier de Serbie, Metro: L9 Iéna

Hours: Tues.-Sun. 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., closed Monday.

Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts

This is the largest collection of Asian art in the west. It was founded by the industrialist Émile Guimet, who collected impressive amounts of Asian artifacts during his voyages. The collection covers all types of Asian art from Japan, China, Indonesia and India and ends with the treasures of the silk road. The Buddhist Panthéon is located near the museum, with a Japanese garden where you can experience a traditional tea ceremony The museum has a full program of cultural events, seminars, workshops and temporary exhibits.

Where: 6, Place d'Iéna. Metro: L9 Iéna

Hours: 10.00 a.m.-6:00 p.m, closed Tuesday. 


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