Art Museums

Art treasures are hanging on walls all over Paris. Find them with this guide to the city’s best art museums…

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You’ll be hard-pushed to find a greater display of paintings than in Paris: The ‘isms’ – Fauvism, Cubism, Impressionism, Modernism and Post-Modernism (to name but a few) - are particularly well represented in institutions like the Centre Pompidou, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Musée d’Orsay; but you’ll also find plenty of collections that span pre-medieval times to the 1990s. Contemporary works by established and lesser-known artists are omnipresent too; and almost every museum organises temporary exhibitions that fill in the gaps (momentarily at least) in their permanent collections. Here is our list of suggestions…

The Louvre

The world's largest museum is also its most visited, with an incredible 8.5 million visitors in 2009. It is a city within the city, a vast, multi-level maze of galleries, passageways, staircases and

  1. Rue de Rivoli
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Musée d'Orsay

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,

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

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

  1. Rue Saint-Martin, 4e
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Musée Marmottan-Monet

Originally a museum of the Empire period left to the state by collector Paul Marmottan, this old hunting pavilion has become a famed holder of Impressionist art thanks to two bequests: the first by

  1. 2 rue Louis Boilly, 16e
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Petit Palais

Despite it’s elegant, Belle Époque allure the ‘Little Palace’ is overshadowed by its big brother, Le Grand Palais, just across the road. But ignore it and you’ll miss out on one of Paris’s

  1. avenue Winston-Churchill, 8e
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Musée National Gustave Moreau

This wonderful museum combines the small private apartment of Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau (1826-98) with the vast gallery he built to display his work - set out as a museum by the painter

  1. 14 rue de La Rochefoucauld, 9e
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Musée National Jean-Jacques Henner

During his lifetime, Jean-Jacques Henner (1829-1905) was one of France's most respected artists, winning multiple prizes and official state honours. While the Impressionists were revolutionising the

  1. 43 avenue de Villiers, 17e
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Musée Jacquemart-André

Long terrace steps and a pair of stone lions usher visitors into this grand 19th-century mansion, home to a collection of objets d'art and fine paintings. The collection was assembled by Edouard

  1. 158 boulevard Haussmann, 8e
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Musée Maillol

Dina Vierny was 15 when she met Aristide Maillol and became his principal model for the next decade, idealised in such sculptures as Spring, Air and Harmony. In 1995 she opened this delightful

  1. 61 rue de Grenelle, 7e
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Musée National du Luxembourg

When it opened in 1750, this small museum was the first public gallery in France. Its current stewardship by the national museums and the French Senate has brought imaginative touches and some

  1. 19 rue de Vaugirard, 6e
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Musée d'Art Halle St-Pierre

The former covered market in the shadow of Sacré-Coeur specialises in art brut, art outsider and art singulier from its own and other collections.

  1. 2 rue Ronsard, 18e
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Musée Cognacq-Jay

This cosy museum houses a collection put together in the early 1900s by La Samaritaine founder Ernest Cognacq and his wife Marie-Louise Jay. They stuck mainly to 18th-century French works, focusing

  1. Hôtel Donon, 8 rue Elzévir, 3e
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Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

This monumental 1930s building, housing the city's modern art collection, is strong on the Cubists, Fauves, the Delaunays, Rouault and Ecole de Paris artists Soutine and van Dongen. The museum was

  1. 11 avenue du Président Wilson, 16e
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Musée de l'Orangerie

The reopening of this Monet showcase a few years ago means the Orangerie is now firmly back on the tourist radar: expect long queues. The look is utilitarian and fuss-free, with the museum's eight,

  1. Jardin des Tuileries, 1er
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MAC/VAL

Opened just days after the 2005 banlieue riots ended, this contemporary art museum has earned a fearsome reputation for artistic savvy. Its collection offers a stunning snapshot of French art from

  1. Place de la Libération, 94404
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La Pinacothèque

At Place de la Madeleine, renowned for its luxury food boutiques and designer shops, every square metre of real estate is so sought after you’d never think there would be room enough for a large

  1. 28 place de la Madeleine, 8th
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