The Louvre and Other Great Museums In Paris

Musee Louvre & 15 Other Great Museums In Paris

There are many reasons to visit Paris.
For me, it’s the great museums in Paris.

There is an abundance of Culture and art.
But there is more. Like:

  • Shopping. Paris is a fashion capital.Visit and tour the beautiful, charming shops or attend a fashion show.
  • Food and drink. France is known for good food and good wine. Paris has it all.
  • Beautiful parks that are just great to walk through. Rest, get out there and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  • Boat trips on the Seine; take a boat trip on the Seine by night.
  • Nightlife. Paris has a vibrant nightlife, cozy cafes, and discotheques where you can party until the early hours
  • Walking. Learn to discover Paris at your leisure, take the time to walk calmly to explore the city. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to see.

Enjoy your stay in Paris.
And don’t forget to visit one of the Parisian Museums.

Paris, France has quite a few great museums to visit.
Including Musee Louvre Paris.
It caters to many people with different tastes
I have listed 16 Parisian Museums To Visit On Your Next Trip To The City

Musee Louvre Paris

the louvre - great museums in paris
The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world and was visited by 8 888 000 visitors in 2011.
The collection of Musee Louvre divided into eight sections:

  1. Oriental Antiquities
  2. Egyptian antiquities
  3. Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities
  4. Painting (divided into three departments: French painters. Italian and Spanish artists and German and Belgian and Dutch painters)
  5. sculpture
  6. artifacts
  7. Islamic art
  8. graphics

The most famous pieces of the Louvre: the Mona Lisa (also known as also known as La Gioconda, from about 1504 painted by Leonardo da Vinci), and Venus de Milo (a statue from the end of the second century BC and found in 1820 on the Greek island of Milo.

The history of the Louvre goes back to the Middle Ages.
In 1190 King Philippe-Auguste built a fortress on the site of the present Louvre to protect against the Vikings.
The foundations of the towers and the drawbridge of the fortress have been excavated and can be visited.

In the 16th century, it was rebuilt by King François I in Renaissance style, and in the following four centuries, the building was expanded by the French kings and emperors.
The Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, were created in honor of the victories of Napoleon.
The Arc de Triomphe was built between 1806-1808 and designed by Percier and Fontaine.
The latest addition to the Louvre is the glass pyramid that forms the main entrance to the museum.
The glass pyramid was commissioned by President François Mitterrand, designed by architect IM Pei.
The monument was opened in 1989 and is made of 603 diamond-shaped and 70 triangular panes of glass (excluding doors).

In the Carrousel du Louvre (an underground center with shops, galleries, and parks) you can find an inverted glass pyramid, which is the mirror image of the pyramid that forms the main entrance.
The pyramid ensures that the daylight can fall into the underground complex.

The Louvre was first used as a museum in 1793.
During the week, it was only accessible to artists as a source of inspiration, and only on Sundays, the museum was opened to the public.
Napoleon III later determined the museum should be opened on different days for the public

During World War II, after the German invasion, the most important works of the Louvre were evacuated so they would not fall into the occupier’s hands.
Since the Louvre is so large, it is not possible to visit all its exhibits on one day.

The best thing to do is to decide earlier which departments you want to have visited by the time you leave.

Personal Notes The Louvre

I have visited the Louvre many times over the years.

Once we mere nearly expelled because our son, still in his buggy, screamed as young kids, unfortunately, do once in a while.
And if they do it at the most awkward moment and places.

Musee Louvre is such a spectacular place, above and below the ground.
The last time we visited the Louvre we planned a whole day.
But even so, we were exhausted halfway.
There is simply too much to take in.
Eugène-Victor-Ferdinand Delacroix (Eugène Delacroix)
Delacroix’s bio, over 70 of his works, as well as up-to-date Delacroix exhibition listings!

Musée d´Orsay

musee dorsay

The Musée d’ Orsay, one of the great museums in Paris, attracts more than 3 million visitors each year.
It mainly focuses on Western art from the period 1848 to 1914.

The museum has an extensive collection of art from this period. Including the great works of Courbet.
The first works by Manet, Monet and Cezanne and an extensive image collection.
Paintings from 1850-1860 include Ingres, Delacroix, Degas, Impressionist, and Post – Impressionist works.

French and Belgian Art Nouveau masterpieces, as well as works by foreign schools of painting from the current symbolism and naturalism, are not forgotten.
The collection is for a great part formed from works from the collections of the Musée du Louvre, Musée du Jeu Paume, and Centre Georges Pompidou.

The Musée d’ Orsay is housed in a former train station.
The building was designed by Victor Laloux.
It is built on the spot where the fire-ravaged Palais d’ Orsay was.
From 1900-1939, the station with its 16 tracks was important for the south- west rail network of France.

After 1939, it was only used for the suburbs of Paris, as the platforms were too short for the modern, longer trains. In World War II the building was used by the postal service.
After WW2, it was also used as a film set for several movies (including for The Trial by Kafka).
In 1977, the decision was officially made to provide a home for art from the second half of the 19th century.
So now the museum can be found in the former train station.

On December 1, 1986, the Musée d’ Orsay opened officially, and from December 9, 1986, the museum is open to the public.
Officially you are not allowed to take pictures inside this museum.

Personal Notes Musée d´Orsay

When we visited Paris in June 2011, we had planned to visit this museum.

The large crowds outside made us decide to postpone that visit.
So in 2013 we planned a visit and bought tickets beforehand online.
And what a gem this is.
I find it mindboggling how they managed to turn an old train station into an exquisite museum.

And then there is the unsurpassed collection of paintings.

Centre Pompidou

centre pompidou

Centre Pompidou is a striking building because all elevators, stairs, air and water pipes and the metal skeleton are visible on the outside of the building.
The building was designed by architects Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and Gianfranco Franchini to create the Musée National d’ Art Moderne.
It should also be able to be used for other activities.
Flexibility in building space being the key word.

The colored tubes that are visible on the outside all have a certain color depending on their role: the green tubes are water pipes, yellow tubes are power lines, the white tubes ventilation ducts and red is the color for transport (elevators).
The colored bars are stainless steel beams used for the construction of the building.

The escalator along the facade is covered with glass and gives a beautiful view over the square of the Centre Pompidou.
Here (street) artists often show their skills and entertain people.
But beware of pickpockets.
This is one of their favorite hangouts.

The layout of the Centre Pompidou is as follows:

  • At floor -1 and the ground floor rooms for theater, dance, music, film and debates.
  • On the first floor is space for temporary exhibitions and a part of the library.
  • On floor two and three is a library with a wide variety of documents such as books, DVD, film, video and documentary databases.
  • On floor four and 5, the Musée National d’ Art Moderne is located.
  • On the sixth floor is space for temporary exhibitions.

The Musée National d’Art Moderne, with its nearly 50,000 works is one of the largest museums of modern art in the world.
On the fourth floor works from 1960 – present are presented.
On the fifth floor, you can find art from 1905 to 1960.
There are rooms with works of one artist (Picasso and Matisse) and themed rooms (for example, still lifes).

From the top floor of the Centre Pompidou, you have a beautiful view of Paris, and you can see Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower, and La Défense.

Musée de l’Orangerie

Musée de l’Orangerie is located in a former orangery in the Jardin des Tuileries (gardens belonging to the Louvre).
The museum displays work by, among others:

  • Claude Monet (the water lily series)
  • Cézanne
  • Renoir
  • Picasso
  • Matisse
  • Henri Rousseau
  • Walter-Guillaume
  • Soutine

The series Water Lilies by Claude Monet are displayed in two oval-shaped spaces, where you are surrounded by the paintings.

Musée Eugène Delacroix

musee eugene delacroix
This museum is situated in the former apartment and in the studio where the 19th-century painter Eugène Delacroix lived and worked in the last years of his life.
Delacroix museum worth a visit if you pass in the neighborhood.
It has been preserved and has some of his works on display.

It displays some of the original sketches, paintings, studies, pastels, watercolors, drawings, lithographs, letters and memories of the master.
The garden is a refuge of peace in the heart of Paris. Because we saw works of Delacroix in other museums such as the Louvre (Liberty Leading the People …) we wanted to learn more about this painter.

In the center of St Germain and Quartier Latin, off a little square “Place Furstenberg” this painting studio is one of the best-kept secrets in Paris.
We spent a couple of hours in this beautiful home with an inside garden and courtyard.
When you sit it the secluded garden, it is hard to imagine you are in France’s Capital.

Conciergerie

conciergerie paris
The Conciergerie, the oldest palace in Paris, was built in the early 14th century by Philippe IV by architects Nicolas Chaumes and Jean de Saint- Germer.
The Conciergerie is located on the island in the Seine, close to the Notre -Dame.
In 1358, however, the royal family moved to the Louvre, which is bigger and more impressive.
The Conciergerie was then put into use in 1391 as a state prison.

During the Revolution, more than 4,000 prisoners were locked up in the Conciergerie.
The Conciergerie was for many prisoners merely a stopover on the way to the guillotine.
The Conciergerie was known as one of the toughest prisons.
The prisoners lived in unhealthy conditions, and the cells were overcrowded.

The most famous prisoners of the Conciergerie are Marie Antoinette, Robespierre, and Charlotte Corday.

In the mid-19th century, the Conciergerie was thoroughly renovated.
Then in 1914, a portion of the Conciergerie opened to the public, and it became a National Historic Landmark.
The majority of the former palace is now used as a courthouse.

In the section that is open to the public, you see a beautiful large space formed by arches and pillars.
This space was previously heated by four large fireplaces.
The space of the guards is smaller but is also formed by pillars and arches.

Furthermore, there are some cells to see, including a reconstruction of the cell of Marie Antoinette.
In the courtyard surrounded by two floors of cells is still a spring, where the prisoners washed their clothes.

Personal Notes

I didn’t know it when I married my wife.
But she is a real history fan.
So no way I could exclude this museum from a visit.
And I am not sorry we did visit it.

The French Revolution (an interesting part of history IMO) played an important role in the history of this museum.

Musée Rodin

musee rodin
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), is a French sculptor who revolutionized sculpturing.
All the major works of Auguste Rodin are on display in the Musée Rodin.
Auguste Rodin was born on November 12, 1840.
He grew up in Paris.
He was a mediocre student with a passion for drawing.
When he was 14, he discovered his preference for taking pictures.

Rodin was so poor that his first studio was in a stable.
He continued to sculpt, and in 1864 he sent a picture to the Salon (a major art exhibition in Paris, mainly in the 19th century it was important in the art world).
His entry was refused.

In 1880 Auguste Rodin received his first order: a monumental bronze gate of the Museum of Decorative Art in Paris.
In 1881 he made The Thinker.
This was the first of August Rodin’s sculptures to be exhibited in a public place.
Meanwhile, he got more work, including in the cities of Calais and Buenos Aires.
August Rodin also made sketches, drawings, and watercolors.

In 1908, Auguste Rodin visited Hôtel Biron on the recommendation of a friend for the first time.
A beautiful building (next to the Dome des Invalides) with a lovely garden.
He immediately felt attracted to the property and rented four rooms on the ground floor.
Rodin came in almost every day from his home in Meudon at Hôtel Biron to meet clients and models.
He also worked here.

At the end of his life, August Rodin had the desire to have his own museum.
In 1910, the French government decided to expel the artists who lived in the Hôtel Biron and to sell the property.
After difficult negotiations, Auguste Rodin finally got the right to live there until his death.
The condition was that he would donate all his works, and his archives to the state to fill the state Museum Hôtel Biron.

In January 1917 August Rodin married his companion Rose Beuret, three weeks before her death.
Ten months later he died.

The museum opened two years after the death of August Rodin.
The garden of the Musée Rodin is a beautiful garden with many roses.

In the garden, there are many works of August Rodin on display, such as some of the most famous: the Thinker and the Gates of Hell.
From the garden, you have a beautiful view of the Hôtel Biron.

Musée Carnavalet

musee carnavalet
Musee Carnavalet is found in the center of the fascinating district of the Marais with its beautiful mansions and many boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.

This museum is dedicated to the history of Paris and is housed in two mansions: Hôtel Carnavalet and the Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau.
A visit to this museum is worth it.

The collection is mainly arranged chronologically and gives an outline of the history of Paris in more than 100 rooms.

In the museum, fully furnished rooms are on display (including a room of Louis XV, a ballroom of the Hotel de Wendel and the reception room of the Hôtel d’Uzès), and many works of art such as paintings and sculptures of eminent persons.

Musée du Quai Branly

Quai Branly Museum is a museum of non – Western art, which is certainly worth a visit.

This museum has art from Africa, America, Asia and Oceania on display.
The artifacts are exhibited by continent.
You will find sculptures, totem poles, musical instruments, clothing and jewelry from the different continents.

The museum has a collection of 300,000 objects, of which 3500 are on display.
Most of the objects are from the Musée de l’ Homme and the former musée national des Arts d’ Afrique et d’ Oceania.
The permanent collection of the museum covers an area of 4750 m2.

The building of the Musée du Quai Branly is designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel. It is a modern building. The heart of the museum is a large glass cylinder with musical instruments.

The museum is surrounded by a garden.
It was built, with the aim to improve the understanding of other cultures and people. Quai Branly Museum was opened on June 20, 2006, by Jacques Chirac.

Musée de l´Armée

The Musee de l’ Armee, Army Museum, is found in Hôtel National des Invalides, best known by the Dôme des Invalides.

This museum contains the following sections to visit:

  • Department of French guns, located in the courtyard of the Hôtel des Invalides. It has a collection of 60 bronze cannons from the 17th – 19th century
  • Department of History, here you will find the second largest collection of ancient weapons and armor in the world ( 13th – 17th centuries)
  • Department of the Two World Wars (1871-1945), here the history of the two world wars is shown using thousands of objects, such as military uniforms, weapons, emblems, (relief) cards and personal documents such as postcards
  • Historic Charles de Gaulle , divided into the audiovisual room ( including a biographical film of 25 minutes) , the circular glass ring to the audiovisual room “March of the century” (impressive moments and icons of the 20th century : Charlie Chaplin to the Rolling Stones , from the trenches of the Vietnam War ) and the permanent exhibition in three rooms (here the three themes emphasized by Charles de Gaulle: ” the man of 18 June”, “the Liberator” and ” the President”)

Hôtel National des Invalides was built by Louis XIV for the veterans of various wars.
Before that time, there was no institution to house the disabled soldiers.

Led by architect Liberal Bruant, the construction started in 1674, and the first residents were installed at the Hôtel National des Invalides.

In 1677 the building of the church began, which is split into a church for the soldiers (Saint – Louis des Invalides) and the Church of the Dome.
In 1706 construction completed under the direction of Jules Hardouin – Mansart.

The Institution National des Invalides is still used as a military hospital, which is still the primary purpose of the institution.

Musée des Arts et Métiers

Musée des Arts et Métiers is a museum where more than 3,000 inventions are displayed by time period.
A beautiful museum to visit if you are one who is interested in devices of the past.
But it doesn’t forget the latest inventions either.

The museum is divided into several sections:

  • scientific instruments
  • materials
  • construction
  • communication
  • energy
  • machines
  • transport

In the gallery, you can find inventions as diverse as accounting systems, scales, clocks, typewriters, old cars, heart valves, a turntable and a TV.

In the chapel belonging to the museum old cars, old planes and a Foucault pendulum are on display.

The museum was founded in 1794 by Gregoire and renovated in 2000.

Musée Guimet

Musée des Arts Asiatiques called Musee Guimet, is the largest museum of Asian art in Europe.
It is a beautiful, spacious museum, which is certainly worth a visit.

An audio guide is included in the price (in, for example, English, German and French).

The collection of the Musée des Arts Asiatiques consists of about 45,000 objects, including sculptures, paintings, vases, jewelry, furniture and other artifacts from Asia.

There are objects to be admired from the following countries: China, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Japan, and Korea.

The museum was founded by Émile Guimet, an industrialist from Lyon.
It started with art, which he collected during his travels to Egypt, Greece, Japan, China, and India.

The resulting collections were exhibited from 1879 in Lyon.
When the collections continued to expand Émile Guimet built a museum in Paris.
From 1889 onwards, his collections were showed here.
The museum increasingly focused on Asian Art, and less and less on the art of Egypt.

From 1945, the Egyptian work was transferred to the Musée du Louvre.
Within the framework of a reorganization of the museum, The Musée des Arts Asiatiques received in exchange for that the Asian Art Musee du Louvre.

Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine

In Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, the history of French architecture and the French heritage from the Middle Ages can be admired.

It is an extraordinary and impressive museum, which is worth a visit.
The museum is divided into three sections:

  • Full-size plaster casts of parts of monumental buildings from France, from the 12th – 18th centuries,
  • modern and contemporary architecture with developments since the Industrial Revolution
  • murals and stained-glass windows from the 11th – 16th century

The museum is housed in the Palais de Chaillot. This architectural masterpiece was built for the World Fair of 1937 by the architects Carlu, Boileau, and Azéma.

Crypte Archéologique

In the Crypt Archeologique, under the square in front of Notre-Dame, you’ll find an area of 118 meters long and 29 meters wide where you can view remains of the former Paris.

You have a unique view of the development of the historic heart of Paris.

During the excavations of 1965-1972 following the remnants of the old Paris were found:

  • the quay of the port of Lutèce of antiquity
  • a Gallo-Roman bathhouse
  • city wall from the beginning of the 4th century
  • a foundation of the old hospital chapel
  • la rue Neuve Notre-Dame from the Middle Ages
  • foundations of a hospital for orphans
  • sewage from the time of Haussmann

In 1980, the Crypt Archelogique opened to the public.

Musee du Chocolate


In the Musee du Chocolate you’ll learn the secrets of making good chocolate.
Chocolate and cocoa has a 4000 – year history.

The museum is divided into three parts:

  • The first part tells about the Mayans and the Aztecs, who used the first cocoa to make a chocolate drink cocoa, with water and spices and who used cocoa beans as money
  • The second part tells the history of the cocoa/ chocolate of the 16th/ 20th centuries, beginning with the meeting in 1519 between the emperor of the Aztecs and Hernando Cortes, which led to the introduction of chocolate in Europe
  • The third part includes a demonstration of how chocolate is made and the chocolate made here in the museum can be tasted as well

Soft milk chocolate from Costa Rica, fruity chocolate from Peru and the sweet taste of cocoa from Vanuatu (country in Oceania).

Besides the permanent exhibition, there is also a temporary exhibition, which renewed two to three times per year.
Of course, there is also a shop where you can buy original souvenirs and chocolate.

Musée Grévin

Musee Grevin ‘s is a wax museum in Paris.
The museum is nicely set up.

A visit begins in the Hall of Mirrors, a space where you are surrounded by mirrors, in which alternating images appear.
Furthermore a theater and a French Cafe is included where waxworks of famous people are exhibited.
The museum attracts about 800,000 visitors each year.

You will find in the museum about 300 waxworks of famous people.

There are people from politics (including Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin), the music industry (including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley) and the highlights of French history (such as Joan Arc at the stake, Louis XIV’s court at Versailles and the assassination of Henri IV).
A waxwork of Albert Einstein, Charles de Gaulle, Mahatma Gandhi and Alfred Hitchcock can also be seen.

Arthur Meyer, the founder of the Musée Grevin, was a journalist and the founder of the famous newspaper Le Gaulois. S
ince, at that time, almost no photographs were used in the newspapers, and the people had no idea how the celebrities looked like, he thought it a great idea to show how the celebrities of the front page looked like in 3D.

To achieve this, he got in touch with Alfred Grevin, a cartoonist, sculptor, and designer of theatrical costumes.
Alfred Grevin went to work, and so in 1882, the Musee Grevin was founded. In 1883, Thomas Gabriel (a businessman) made rapid expansion possible

He added the Grevin Theatre and Mirrors to the museum.

In 2001, the Academy established Grevin.
This is a group of journalists who meet two times a year to decide which celebrities should have a place in the Musee Grevin.
This concludes our great museums in Paris.

Parisian Museums: Final Thoughts


I think I have visited Paris many, many times since being a teenager.
Just like many other things, your taste changes when you get older.
As a teenager, hardly having any money to spend, it was enough to sit on the stairs beneath the Sacré Cœur and listen to other youngsters singing and playing guitar.
That was really something else.

My first visit to Musee Louvre blew my mind.
Now, as I am getting older I still enjoy the city.
But now I prefer to spend more time in one of the many parks in Paris, or just simply walking around.
And of course, I have more patience now to visit museums.
Well, as you might know, they have quite a few.

To be honest, I still have some to check off from the list.
In 2011 we finally made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower to drink Champagne toasting to your good health.

As far as this list of 16 Parisian Museums is concerned, there are several worth a visit the next time I’m in the City of Lights and Love.

I hope you have enjoyed this article about The Louvre and Other Great Museums In Paris.
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Raymond

Blogger at Over60AndActive
Raymond has a masters degree in Economy and Clinical Psychology.
He reads a lot and loves to cycle and run (when the sun shines).
He enjoys travelling and cooking amongst many other things.
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