Museums

Explore the greats and discover hidden gems




Full list of Paris's museums

Château de Fontainebleau

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

The Château de Fontainebleau, a former hunting lodge, is a real mix of styles. In 1528, François brought in Italian artists and craftsmen to help architect Gilles Le Breton transform a neglected lodge into the finest Italian Mannerist palace in France. This style, noted for its grotesqueries, contorted figures and crazy fireplaces is still visible in the ballroom and Long Gallery. Henri IV added a tennis court, Louis XIII built a double-horsehoe entrance staircase, and Louis

  1. Place du Général de Gaulle, 77300
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Abbaye Royale de Chaalis

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Hire a car (or in high season take the shuttle bus from CDG airport) to visit the chocolate-box Abbaye Royale de Chaalis – a Cistercian ruin (40km northeast of Paris) encircled by the imposing, art-filled stately home of Nélie Jacquemart, a 13th-century chapel and picturesque rose gardens. Tranquillity oozes from every nook; and art lovers can feast their eyes on treasures dating from Ancient Egypt to the early 20th-century, including paintings by Giotto, Boucher and Van

Auvers-sur-Oise

  • Rated as: 4/5

The charming rural retreat of Auvers-sur-Oise (30km northwest of Paris in the Vexin National Park) was where Van Gogh spent his last few weeks, painting frantically. Many of his most well-known works, of crows over wheatfields or the local church, were completed here and are now displayed on illustrated panels around the village, allowing you to compare them to their locations today. The tiny attic room at Auberge Ravoux (52 rue du Général-de-Gaulle, 01.30.36.60.60) that

Musée du Vin

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Here the Confrères Bacchiques defend French wines from imports and advertising laws. In the cellars of an old wine-producing monastery are displays on the history of viticulture, with waxwork peasants, old tools, bottles and corkscrews. Visits finish with a wine tasting and, a paid extra, a meal.

  1. 5 square Charles Dickens / Rue des Eaux, 16e
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Musée d'Orsay

  • Critics choice

The Musée d'Orsay, originally a train station designed by Victor Laloux in 1900, houses a huge collection spanning the period between 1848 and 1914, and is home to a profusion of works by Delacroix, Corot, Manet, Renoir, Pissarro, Gauguin, Monet, Caillebotte, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and others.Alongside the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre, it's is a must-see in Paris, especially its famed upper levels, which have just undergone a serious brush-up. The top floor is

  1. 62 rue de Lille, 7e
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The Centre Pompidou

  • Critics choice

The primary colours, exposed pipes and air ducts make the Centre Pompidou one of the best-known sights in Paris. The then-unknown Italo-British architectural duo of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers won the competition with their 'inside-out' boilerhouse approach, which put air-conditioning, pipes, lifts and the escalators on the outside, leaving an adaptable space within. The multi-disciplinary concept of modern art museum (the most important in Europe), library, exhibition and

  1. Rue Saint-Martin, 4e
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The Louvre

  • Critics choice

Read Time Out's review of The Louvre below or click here for our exclusive photo tour of the museum. The world's largest museum is also its most visited, with an incredible 8.8 million visitors in 2011. It is a city within the city, a vast, multi-level maze of galleries, passageways, staircases and escalators. It's famous for the artistic glories it contains within, but the very fabric of the museum is a masterpiece in itself - or rather, a collection of masterpieces modified

  1. Rue de Rivoli
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Grande Galerie de l'Evolution

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

One of the city's most child-friendly attractions, this is guaranteed to bowl adults over too. Located within the Jardin des Plantes, this beauty of a 19th-century iron-framed, glass-roofed structure has been modernised with lifts, galleries and false floors, and filled with life-size models of tentacle-waving squids, open-mawed sharks, tigers hanging off elephants and monkeys swarming down from the ceiling. The centrepiece is a procession of African wildlife across the first

  1. 36 rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, 5e
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La Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This ultra-modern science museum pulls in five million visitors a year. Explora, the permanent show, occupies the upper two floors, whisking visitors through 30,000sq m (320,000sq ft) of space, life, matter and communication: scale models of satellites including the Ariane space shuttle, planes and robots, plus the chance to experience weightlessness, make for an exciting journey.In the Espace Images, try the delayed camera and other optical illusions, draw 3D images on a

  1. La Villette, 30 avenue Corentin-Cariou, 19e
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Musée Carnavalet

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Here, 140 chronological rooms depict the history of Paris, from pre-Roman Gaul to the 20th century. Built in 1548 and transformed by Mansart in 1660, this fine house became a museum in 1866, when Haussmann persuaded the city to preserve its beautiful interiors. Original 16th-century rooms house Renaissance collections, with portraits by Clouet and furniture and pictures relating to the Wars of Religion. The first floor covers the period up to 1789, with furniture and paintings

  1. 23 rue de Sévigné, 3e
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