Paris Museums and Galleries

Establishment neighborhood
Musée de l’Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries, 1st
You know the Musée de l’Orangerie because of its collection of massive Monet water lilies in stark-white, oval-shaped rooms. They’re definitely worth sitting in front of for 10, 20, 30 minutes. But after that, venture downstairs: The place is filled with Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and is quietly one of the best museums in Paris. If the collection here inspires appetite for more Monet, check out the Musée Marmottan Monet in the 16th. Or plan a day trip out to Giverny to see the artist’s home and his iconic garden, which he considered one of his greatest works.
Musée Marmottan Monet
2 Rue Louis Boilly, 16th
The Musée Marmottan Monet, in an Empire-style townhouse in the quiet and residential Passy neighborhood, may not be as flashy as Musée d’Orsay or the Musée de l’Orangerie, but fans of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism will find it delightful. Claude Monet and Berthe Morisot dominate the collection, and paintings by numerous contemporaries and predecessors—including Caillebotte, Corot, Degas, Delacroix, Pissarro, Renoir, Rodin, and Sisley—complement and contextualize their work. Among over 300 Monets, the crown jewel of the collection is the painting from which Impressionism got its name: Impression, Sunrise. One note, if you’re here for Impression, Sunrise: The iconic painting is currently out on loan, first at the Musée d’Orsay through mid-July, and then at the National Gallery of Washington through January 2025.
Musée Gustave Moreau
14 Rue Catherine de la Rochefoucauld, 9th
If you visit the Musée d’Orsay and find yourself mesmerized by the work of Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau, you’d be stunned by the museum dedicated to his intricate and fantastical oeuvre. The Musée Gustave Moreau, which is nestled into a grand apartment that was once the artist’s home and studio, holds thousands of Moreau’s paintings, pastels, and watercolors—including tons of sketches and unfinished pieces. His paintings often depict allegories, biblical scenes, and mythological dramas in wild detail and vivid color.
Centre Pompidou
Place Georges-Pompidou, 4th
This postmodern building revolutionized the world of architecture—and turned the rarified concept of a museum into something that could be unintimidating and fun. Designed by Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Gianfrancho Franchini, the Centre Pompidou is marked by an exterior lined with colorful tubes that hold the center's plumbing, electric, and circulation systems—inside, it's just as interactive. Home to a public library, a center for music and acoustic research, and the Musee National d’Art Moderne, since its inception in 1977 some of the most important modern art in the world has graced its walls, including pieces from Dali, Pollock, Warhol, and Picasso.
Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle
36 Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, 5th
While the Jardins des Plantes’ Menagerie houses living endangered species (like red pandas and gaurs), its Natural History Museum houses taxidermy (like dodos and coelacanths), teaching kids and adults alike about the importance of conserving diverse animal life. Highlights include fossils and dinosaur skeletons in the Galerie de Paléontologie et d'Anatomie Comparée and meteorites in the Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie.
Palais de Tokyo
13 Ave. du Président Wilson, 16th
Thanks to a 2012 expansion that took the museum all the way to the bank of the Seine, nearly tripling its original size, the open-plan Palais de Tokyo is one of the best spots in Europe to see contemporary and modern art. The Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in the eastern wing houses more than 8,000 works of twentieth-century art (Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Delauney, etc.) and opens onto a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower. Complete with a comprehensive children's program, artists-in-residence, opening hours that extend until midnight, an excellent bookstore (distinguished by its chain-link-fence walls), and restaurants (we like Tokyo Eats), the Palais de Tokyo can easily eat up the better part of a day.
Maison Européenne de la Photographie
5 Rue de Fourcy, 4th
While the work of photographers like Helmut Newton might hypothetically seem too stark and modern for this rambling and elegant 18th century mansion, it's a combination that totally works: Beyond an impressive permanent collection, this museum always lands the exhibitions everyone is talking about, whether it's Shirin Neshat, Henri Cartier-Bresson, or Sebastião Salgado. Keep in mind that they're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Musée Rodin
79 Rue de Varenne, 7th
Auguste Rodin donated his complete collection—including the pieces for which he's most famous like The Thinker and The Gates of Hell—to France so long as they promised to transform the very stately Hôtel Biron, which was his workshop from 1908 on, into a museum. There are thousands of his sculptures on-site, in both the museum's halls and scattered throughout the surrounding gardens, along with highlights from his personal art collection (Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Camille Claudel—who was his mistress, his student, and a great sculptor in her own right).