Paris is a dream destination for the world’s museophiles, featuring some of the planet’s most renowned art and cultural repositories. While the majority of people will be familiar with the Louvre and its treasures, there are plenty of lesser-known alternatives that also feature world-class art, and may provide a less crowded experience for those looking to avoid the throngs of mass tourism.

Musée d’Orsay

Look, we said lesser-known, not unknown. The beautiful Musee d’Orsay still draws plenty of visitors from all over the world, boasting one of the finest collections of Impressionist art in the world, with masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Cézanne.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

louis vuitton

Designed by Frank Gehry to evoke a boat in full sail, this iconic gallery features some of the best modern and contemporary art in the world, with temporary exhibitions by some of the most famous artists of the last century.

Le Palais de Tokyo

Now we’re getting more obscure. Paris’s rebellious anti-museum has been tearing up the art rulebook for 15 years and counting. With changing exhibitions featuring groundbreaking art, there’s something different every time you go. And by different, we mean different!

Musée Picasso

The Picasso Museum in Paris features over 5,000 works by arguably the most famous modern painter, as well as other works from Picasso’s personal collection such as pieces by Cézanne, Degas, and Matisse.

Centre Georges Pompidou

Another slightly better-known museum, the Pompidou Centre houses a huge public library, as well as Europe’s largest collection of modern and contemporary art by masters like Picasso, Ernst, Kandinsky, Matisse, and Francis Bacon. Oh, and it also boasts some of the best views of the city from its rooftop viewpoints.

Musée de l’Orangerie

See eight of Claude Monet’s famed Water Lilies bathed in natural light, housed in two oval rooms purpose-built to the artist’s own specifications. A perfect complement to the nearby Musée d’Orsay, also featuring a collection of works from luminaries including Matisse, Picasso, Cézanne, and Renoir.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

The Paris Museum of Modern Art boasts a huge collection of modern and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Take a break from the crowds and immerse yourself in prime examples of Fauvism, Cubism, New Realism, and more.

Musée du Quai Branly

Architect Jean Nouvel designed the museum’s interior to be free of barriers and railings, allowing visitors an unimpeded glimpse into cultures from around the world. The museum’s global collection features masks, musical instruments, weapons, ceremonial artifacts, paintings, tapestries, and more.

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

Learn about the world of science in one of Europe’s very first science museums, surrounded by a lush 55-hectare park. This family-friendly museum is full of hands-on experiments and immersive displays, including a planetarium and mind-boggling optical illusions.

Petit Palais

Built for the purpose of hosting the 1900 Exposition Universelle, the stunning Petit Palais was spruced up in 2005. The museum holds priceless art from the French and Italian Renaissance as well as work from antiquity through to the 20th century.

Five of these venues (Musée du Quai Branly, Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee d’Orsay, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Musée Picasso) were nominated as part of our 2019 Remarkable Venue Awards, with Fondation Louis Vuitton seizing the award for Best Museum.

Mick Murray

Mick Murray

Mick is a writer and editor who has lived and worked across New Zealand, Japan, and the Netherlands.
His hobbies include wildlife photography, writing, and contracting pneumonia.
Mick Murray

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