Museums and art galleries around the Champs-Elysee and Louvre

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The Louvre

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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 and added to from one century to another. And because nothing in Paris ever stands still, the additions and modifications continue into the present day, with the opening of a major new Islamic Arts department 2012, and the franchising of the Louvre 'brand' via new outposts in Lens (www.louvrelens.fr) and Abu Dhabi. If any place demonstrates the central importance of culture in French life, this is it.Some 35,000 works of art and artefacts are on show, split into eight departments and housed in three wings: Denon, Sully and Richelieu. Under the atrium of the glass pyramid, each wing has its own entrance, though you can pass from one to another. Treasures from the Egyptians, Etruscans, Greeks and Romans each have their own galleries in the Denon and Sully wings, as do Middle Eastern and Islamic art. The first floor of Richelieu is taken up with European decorative arts from the Middle Ages up to the 19th century, including room after room of Napoleon III's lavish apartments.The main draw, though, is the pa

  1. Rue de Rivoli
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Galerie-Musée Baccarat

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Philippe Starck has created a neo-rococo wonderland in the former mansion of the Vicomtesse de Noailles. From the red carpet entrance with a chandelier in a fish tank to the Alchemy room, decorated by Gérard Garouste, there's a play of light and movement that makes Baccarat's work sing. See items by designers Georges Chevalier and Ettore Sottsass, services made for princes and maharajahs, and monumental items made for the great exhibitions of the 1800s.If you want to eat at the opulent Le Cristal Room restaurant (01.40.22.11.10), be warned that there's a long waiting list.

  1. 11 place des Etats-Unis, 16e
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Musée Dapper

Named after the 17th-century Dutch humanist Olfert Dapper, the Fondation Dapper began as an organisation dedicated to preserving sub-Saharan art. Reopened in 2000, the venue created by Alain Moatti houses a performance space, bookshop and café. Each year it stages two African-themed exhibitions.

  1. 35 bis rue Paul Valéry, 16e
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Musée National Jean-Jacques Henner

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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 rules of painting in the late 19th century, Henner was carving himself out a sturdy reputation as a talented landscape painter and exceptional portraitist. Reopened in 2009 after four years of renovation work, the museum traces the artist's life from his humble beginnings in Alsace to his rise as one of the most sought-after painters in Paris. Although he never lived here, the building was the home and studio of his contemporary, Guillaume Dubufe, and the interiors have been widely refurbished to recreate the feel of the period. A Chinese-style fireplace on the ground floor and Egyptian mashrebeeyah in the striking red-walled studio testify to the eclectic tastes of the time, while many of the furnishings belonged to Henner himself. The closure of the museum also allowed the paintings themselves to be cleaned and restored, a process not helped by Henner's predilection for unusual raw materials, such as the top of a cigar box. The works are now spread across the museum's three compact floors in loosely chronological order. On the first floor, Alsatian landscapes and family portraits are a reminder of the artist's lifelong attachment to his native region. The annexation of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany in 1871 prompted Henner to paint one of his most famous works, L'Alsace. Elle at

  1. 43 avenue de Villiers, 17e
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Musée National de la Marine

  • Price band: 2/4
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Sail back in time through 400 years of French naval history. Highlights include the Océan, a 19th-century sailing vessel equipped with an impressive 120 cannons; a gilded barge built for Napoleon; and some extravagant, larger-than-life figureheads, from serene-faced angels to leaping seahorses. There are also dozens of model boats, dating from the 18th to the 20th century, and several old-fashioned divers' suits.

  1. Palais de Chaillot, 17 place du Trocadéro, 16e
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Musée Nissim de Camondo

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Put together by Count Moïse de Camondo, this collection is named after his son Nissim, who was killed in World War I. Moïse replaced the family's two houses near Parc Monceau with this palatial residence and lived here in a style in keeping with his love of the 18th century. Grand first-floor reception rooms are filled with furniture by craftsmen of the Louis XV and XVI eras, silver services, Sèvres and Meissen porcelain, Savonnerie carpets and Aubusson tapestries.

  1. 63 rue de Monceau, 8e
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Musée Nissim de Camondo

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Put together by Count Moïse de Camondo, this collection is named after his son Nissim, who was killed in World War I. Moïse replaced the family's two houses near Parc Monceau with this palatial residence and lived here in a style in keeping with his love of the 18th century. Grand first-floor reception rooms are filled with furniture by craftsmen of the Louis XV and XVI eras, silver services, Sèvres and Meissen porcelain, Savonnerie carpets and Aubusson tapestries.

  1. 63 rue de Monceau, 8e
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Musée Galliera

This look at clothes through history takes an academic approach to its subject. Housed in a hôtel particulier built by Eiffel, the Galliera has a huge costume collection. It has links with the fashion industry, and its initiative with young designers shows innovative work.

  1. 10 avenue Pierre-Ier-de-Serbie, 16e
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Palais de la Découverte

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This science museum houses designs dating from Leonardo da Vinci's time to the present. Models, real apparatus and audiovisual material bring displays to life, and permanent exhibits cover astrophysics, astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics and earth sciences. The Planète Terre section highlights meteorology, and one room is dedicated to the sun. There are shows at the Planetarium too.

  1. Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 8e
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Pinacothèque de Paris

  • Price band: 3/4

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 museum.  So imagine Paris’ surprise when, in 2007, the Crédit Agricole bank decided to turn their office block at 28 place de la Madeleine into the Pinacothèque – a 5000m2 art museum, dedicated to expression through the ages, displaying everything from archaeological finds to contemporary art. It was a risky move, but one that has ultimately paid off: Since opening roughly five years ago, the museum has reeled in over 2 million visitors by offering a wide variety of artworks rarely shown in France. Artists Roy Lichtenstein, Chaïm Soutine and Jackson Pollack have all had retrospectives, for instance, and treasures such as China’s Xi’an Dynasty warrior statues and gold from the Incas have also been displayed. In short, the Pinacothèque has fast become an appealing option if you can’t face the crowds at behemoths like the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Centre Pompidou. And, aside from its ever-changing world-class exhibitions, the museum (whose name derives from pinacothêkê in Greek – meaning “box of paintings”) has fittingly acquired a new building just opposite (at 8 rue Vignon) and an impressive permanent collection of a hundred or so paintings on loan from private collectors.  Set over 800m2 you’ll find masterworks by artists like Van Dyck, Monet, Modigliani, Delacroix and Pollack, some o

  1. 28 place de la Madeleine, 8e
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Musée National des Arts Asiatiques - Guimet

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Founded by industrialist Emile Guimet in 1889 to house his collection of Chinese and Japanese religious art, and later incorporating oriental collections from the Louvre, the museum has 45,000 objects from neolithic times onwards. Lower galleries focus on India and South-east Asia, centred on stunning Hindu and Buddhist Khmer sculpture from Cambodia. Don't miss the Giant's Way, part of the entrance to a temple complex at Angkor Wat. Upstairs, Chinese antiquities include mysterious jade discs. Afghan glassware and Moghul jewellery also feature.

  1. 6 place d'Iéna, 16e
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Musée National Rodin

The Rodin museum occupies the hôtel particulier where the sculptor lived in the final years of his life. The Kiss, the Cathedral, the Walking Man, portrait busts and early terracottas are exhibited indoors, as are many of the individual figures or small groups that also appear on the Gates of Hell.Rodin's works are accompanied by several pieces by his mistress and pupil, Camille Claudel. The walls are hung with paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Carrière and Rodin himself. Most visitors have greatest affection for the gardens: look out for the Burghers of Calais, the Gates of Hell, and the Thinker. Rodin fans can also visit the Villa des Brillants at Meudon (19 av Rodin, Meudon, 01.41.14.35.00), where the artist worked from 1895.

  1. Hôtel Biron, 79 rue de Varenne, 7e
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Palais de Tokyo : Site de Création Contemporaine

When it opened in 2002, many thought the Palais' stripped-back interior was a design statement. In fact, it was a response to tight finances. The 1937 building has now come into its own as an open-plan space with a skylit central hall, hosting exhibitions and performances. Extended hours and a funky café have drawn a younger audience, and the roll-call of artists is impressive (Pierre Joseph, Wang Du and others). The name dates to the 1937 Exposition Internationale, but is also a reminder of links with a new generation of artists from the Far East.

  1. 13 avenue du Président Wilson, 16e
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Musée Cernuschi

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Since the banker Henri Cernuschi built a hôtel particulier by the Parc Monceau for the treasures he found in the Far East in 1871, this collection of Chinese art has grown steadily. The fabulous displays range from legions of Han and Wei dynasty funeral statues to refined Tang celadon wares and Sung porcelain.

  1. 7 avenue Vélasquez, 8e
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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 loveliest fine arts museums, with an extensive mish-mash of works by Poussin, Doré, Courbet and the impressionists, as well as other paintings and sculptures from the Antiquity to 1900. Art Nouveau fans are in for a treat downstairs, where you’ll find jewelry and knickknacks by Belle Epoque biggies Lalique and Gallé, furniture by Hector Guimard (the man behind of Paris’s iconic metro entrances) whose entire wooden dining room is reproduced; and the ceramicist Jean Carriès, whose grotesque creations (think witch-like masks and frogs with rabbit ears) add an element of supernatural fantasy. The building, built by Charles Girault for the 1900 for the World Fair, is lit entirely by natural light and sits around a pretty little garden - a plum spot for coffee and cakes.

  1. avenue Winston-Churchill, 8e
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Musée des Egouts

  • Price band: 1/4

For centuries, the main source of drinking water in Paris was the Seine, which was also the main sewer. Construction of an underground sewerage system began at the time of Napoleon. Today, the Egouts de Paris constitutes a smelly museum; each sewer in the 2,100km (1,305-mile) system is marked with a replica of the street sign above. The Egouts can be closed after periods of heavy rain.

  1. Entrée face au 93 quai d'Orsay, Pont de l'Alma, 7e
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Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine

  • Price band: 2/4
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Opened in 2007, this architecture and heritage museum impresses principally by its scale. The expansive ground floor is filled with life-size mock-ups of cathedral façades and heritage buildings, and interactive screens place the models in context. Upstairs, darkened rooms house full-scale copies of medieval and Renaissance murals and stained-glass windows. The highlight of the modern architecture section is the walk-in replica of an apartment from Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse in Marseille It makes for a fascinating visit for children of all ages; to help them understand the exhibits, colourful interactive games are dotted around the permanent displays, so they can try their hand at architecture and learn the concepts of Romanesque and Gothic as they create fantastical animal heads, design stained-glass windows or build a Romanesque arch. On Saturdays at 2pm, three- to seven-year-olds can have a go at doing some building themselves with wooden blocks. Entry is €8 and you don't need to reserve (just turn up about 30 minutes beforehand).

  1. Palais de Chaillot, 1 place du Trocadéro, 16e
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Musée de l'Orangerie

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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, tapestry-sized Nymphéas (water lilies) paintings housed in two plain oval rooms. They provide a simple backdrop for the astonishing, ethereal romanticism of Monet's works, painted late in his life. Depicting Monet's 'jardin d'eau' at his house in Giverny, the tableaux have an intense, dreamy quality - partly reflecting the artist's absorption in the private world of his garden. Downstairs, the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection of Impressionism and the Ecole de Paris is a mixed bag of sweet-toothed Cézanne and Renoir portraits, along with works by Modigliani, Rousseau, Matisse, Picasso and Derain.

  1. Jardin des Tuileries, 1er
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Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais

Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, the Grand Palais was the work of three different architects, each of whom designed a façade. During World War II it accommodated Nazi tanks. In 1994 the magnificent glass-roofed central hall was closed when bits of metal started falling off, although exhibitions continued to be held in the other wings. After major restoration, the Palais reopened in 2005.

  1. 3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, 8e
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Jeu de Paume

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The Centre National de la Photographie moved into this site in 2005. The building, which once served as a tennis court, has been divided into two white, almost hangar-like galleries. It is not an intimate space, but it works well for showcase retrospectives. A video art and cinema suite in the basement shows new digital installation work, as well as feature-length films made by artists. There's also a sleek café and a decent bookshop.

  1. 1 place de la Concorde, 8e
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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 briefly closed in May 2010 after the theft of five masterpieces. The €100-million haul netted paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Modigliani and Léger.

  1. 11 avenue du Président Wilson, 16e
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La Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie

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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 computer or lend your voice to the Mona Lisa. The hothouse garden investigates developments in agriculture and bio-technology.

  1. La Villette, 30 avenue Corentin-Cariou, 19e
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Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais

Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, the Grand Palais was the work of three different architects, each of whom designed a façade. During World War II it accommodated Nazi tanks. In 1994 the magnificent glass-roofed central hall was closed when bits of metal started falling off, although exhibitions continued to be held in the other wings. After major restoration, the Palais reopened in 2005.

  1. 3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, 8e
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