Paris – The 10 Best Art Museums
Within the city limits of Paris, there are around 130 museums. In order to make your journey “magical,” we have compiled a short list of the best museums devoted to art and culture in the French capital.
Click and go:
1. Musée d’Orsay
2. Musée du Louvre
3. Centre Georges Pompidou Musée National d’Art Moderne
4. Musée Marmottan Monet
5. Grand Palais & Petit Palais
6. Musée National de l’Orangerie des Tuileries
7. Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
8. Musée Jacquemart-André
9. Fondation Louis Vuitton
10. Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Below you will find practical information about each museum’s opening hours plus descriptions of current and upcoming exhibitions, as well as past shows you may have missed.
1. Musée d’Orsay
The d’Orsay Museum is perhaps the greatest museum in the world devoted to a particular style of art: primarily sculpture, painting and furniture created in France between 1848 and 1914. Famous for its collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces, the museum also showcases the important 19th-century movements leading up to Impressionism (Romanticism, the Academic painters such as Bouguereau, Cabanel, Ingres and Gérôme, Realism, the Barbizon School, French Orientalism & Naturalism) and the groups that followed Impressionism (the Pont-Aven School, Symbolism, Les Nabis & Fauvism).
The museum opened in 1986, set inside a Beaux-Arts railway station (completed in 1900). Even if you are not a fan of Impressionist paintings, the hype and a visit are justified: the architecture is stunning, and the transformation from a train station to an art museum is fascinating. Permission was granted to demolish the railroad station in 1970; fortunately, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs turned down plans to build a hotel on this site!
Below: View of the Louvre from the roof of the Musée d’Orsay.
Pastels Are Currently on View at the d’Orsay Through July 2, 2023
You will find an amazing array of pastels by Lucien Levy-Dhurmer (below) and other artists during this special exhibit.
Art Lovers Tips: Do not miss the furniture and ceramics on display in the Musée d’Orsay. Visit late in the day, especially on Thursdays, or perhaps at lunchtime. Consider buying an annual membership for expedited entry into the d’Orsay and the l’Orangerie.
Additional works of art on paper may also be found among the permanent collection of the d’Orsay, such as the pastels (above and below) created by Paul Helleu.
Previous Exhibitions Organized by the d’Orsay in Paris
Additional images from retrospectives presented by the Musée d’Orsay — such as Edvard Munch, Pointillism, Gaudí, Degas and more — can be found in our article entitled: “Previous Exhibitions at the Musée d’Orsay“.
Closed on Mondays. Open Tuesday to Sunday 9:30 – 6:00 (18:00). Open 9:30 – 9:45 (21:45) on Thursdays. Metro # 12 to Solferino is best, or Metro # 1 and # 8 to Concorde.
2. Musée du Louvre
The Louvre Museum has fabulous holdings of Western Art — it’s the largest museum in the world — and the finest collections of Egyptian, Near Eastern, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities. The Louvre is also the world’s most visited museum, receiving more than 10 million visitors a year, and its official website warns: “Admission without pre-booked tickets not guaranteed.” We chose not to describe the Louvre as the #1 Museum in Paris because possessing the greatest collection does not guarantee the most enjoyable experience.
Despite the museum’s best efforts (and the gorgeous glass Pyramid opened in 1989) the Louvre is composed of three separate pavilions. You must visit the Louvre. It is amazing, but it can also be challenging — just ask anyone who waited for years to view the Mona Lisa and inquire “Were you satisfied, or disappointed?”
A presentation of jackets embroidered with jewels, gold & rock crystal (below) created by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent was on display in the Galerie d’Apollon (room 705, Denon Wing) in 2022 to honor the French couturier, who died in Paris in 2008. His creations were presented here to illuminate a dialogue with the lavish crown jewels.
First designed in the 1660s, the gold decoration of the Gallery of Apollo was completed in the mid-19th century to give visual form to the sun’s power within our solar system. This room has housed the Louvre’s collection of French Crown Jewels since 1887.
Closed on Tuesdays. Open Wednesday through Monday 9:00 – 6:00 (18:00). Metro # 1 and # 7 to Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre.
Above left: 3,000-year-old reliefs from the Assyrian city of Nimrud
Middle: Renaissance painting
Right: The Hellenistic sculpture “Winged Victory of Samothrace”
Art Lovers Tips: Upon arrival inside the Louvre, ask for a museum map, learn which sections are closed that day, choose what you wish to see, and seek advice regarding the most logical itinerary — remember, there are three pavilions. First, head to Near Eastern Antiquities (Mesopotamia, within the Tigris-Euphrates river system) for the best collection within the Louvre and the least touristed! Then, see Michelangelo’s Slaves. Finally, mix it up a bit and see something different such as the Apartments of Napoléon III, Egyptian artifacts (spanning 30 dynasties over 3 millennia, the world’s largest collection of this type) or African Art (hidden near the Porte des Lions entrance) in the Dept. of the Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Below: Exterior of the Centre Pompidou.
3. Centre Georges Pompidou Musée National d’Art Moderne
To appreciate the Pompidou Center, one must embrace an understanding of urban planning, revolutionary change, and architectural history. Architects Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s controversial experiment transformed a gritty, rundown section of Paris — the Beaubourg — into an energetic multi-cultural neighborhood open to learning and contemporary art forms. By leaving the building’s mechanical and structural systems exposed on the façade, the first important Inside-Out high-tech structure was born in 1977 using more than 15,000 tons of prefabricated steel — and the opposition was fierce. “Paris has its own monster, just like the one in Loch Ness”, screamed an article in Le Figaro. When Rogers revealed to a woman passing by the Pompidou that he designed it, she struck him with her umbrella. Later, the jury that awarded Rogers the 2007 Pritzker Prize got it right, noting the Pompidou “revolutionized museums, transforming what had once been elite monuments into popular places of social and cultural exchange, woven into the heart of the city.”
BELOW: two paintings by Robert Delaunay (left) and a sculpture by Henri Laurens (right).
Upcoming Exhibitions at the Pompidou
1 March – 12 June 2023
3 May – 7 August 2023
Previous Exhibition at the Pompidou
October 5, 2022 – January 16, 2023
To learn more about Neel’s ideals and art, please read our article “Alice Neel in the Guggenheim Bilbao — Astonishing Paintings.”
Critics may say the Pompidou cannot compare with MoMA in New York and Tate Modern in London; however, we strongly disagree. If you want to view additional images from retrospectives presented by the Pompidou Centre in recent years, the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, Francis Bacon and Victor Vasarely are highlighted in our article entitled: “Great Exhibitions from the Past at the Pompidou Centre.”
Op Art (above) by Victor Vasarely and a triptych by Francis Bacon (below)
Closed on Tuesdays. Open 11:00 – 9:00 (21:00). Metro #11 to Rambuteau, or Metro # 1 to Hôtel de Ville.
Art Lovers Tips: Enjoy the view from the top of the Pompidou.
4. Musée Marmottan Monet
The good fortune of possessing the largest collection of paintings by the greatest Impressionist — Claude Monet — within a lovely building in the leafy 16th arrondissement should not be underestimated. The Marmottan is a gem!
The Marmottan Museum is the only medium-sized venue for art to make it into our picks for the Top 5 museums in Paris due to the strength and depth of its permanent collection, plus its ability to mount one refreshing temporary show after another.
If you are in the mood for a different (slightly quirky) exhibition experience, try the current exhibition at the Marmottan entitled “NEO-ROMANTICS A Forgotten Moment in Modern Art 1926 — 1972” featuring over 100 works of art on display from March 8 through June 18, 2023.
The NEO-ROMANTICS exhibit closes at the Marmottan on June 18, 2023
If a “painter of light” is more to your taste, you may prefer the exhibition entitled “The Sun: Source of Light in Art” currently on view through June 11, 2023 at the fabulous Barberini Museum in Potsdam, Germany. The Potsdam show celebrates the 150th anniversary of the creation of Claude Monet’s painting “Impression, Sunrise” (below) by exploring the sun as a wellspring of inspiration for art made from antiquity through today.
For more detailed information on the history of the Marmottan Museum, additional paintings by Claude Monet, and the Marmottan’s previous temporary exhibition entitled “Facing the Sun — The Sun in Art” please read our article entitled “A Unique & Fabulous Pilgrimage to the Marmottan in Paris.”
Please go see the special exhibition and permanent collection, and let us know your opinion.
Closed on Mondays. Open 10:00 – 6:00 (18:00). Open 10:00 – 9:00 (21:00) on Thursdays. Metro #9 to La Muette.
Art Lovers Tip: Michel Monet (Claude’s son) gave his personal collection of his father’s paintings to the Marmottan. The Musee Marmottan now owns about 100 Monets, including many large paintings inspired by the artist’s garden at Giverny 45 miles (75 km) from Paris. You may visit Claude Monet’s home and garden at Giverny from the end of March through the end of October.
Below: The l’Orangerie, Eiffel Tower & Grand Palais as seen from the Tuileries Gardens.
5. Grand Palais & Petit Palais
The Grand Palais was built at the same time as the Gare d’Orsay to serve as an exhibition hall for the Exposition Universelle (the World’s Fair held in Paris from April – November 1900). Nearly 50 million people visited this structure in the year 1900 alone. Famous for its conservatory-style glass roof, the Grand Palais is a masterpiece of Art Nouveau and Classicism, and in the past has presented the finest art exhibitions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Grand Palais is currently closed for renovation. The structure, which has never previously benefitted from a full restoration over the past 122 years, will reopen in 2024 to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the nave.
Closed on Tuesdays. Open Thursday to Monday 10:00 – 8:00 (20:00). Open 10:00 – 10:00 (22:00) on Wednesdays. Metro # 1 and # 13 to Champs Élysées-Clemenceau, or Metro # 9 to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Petit Palais, built in the Beaux-Arts style and possessing a circular central courtyard and garden, is a museum offering free entry to its permanent collection, which includes paintings by Charles Giron, Pierre Bonnard and Claude Monet (below).
The “Sarah Bernhardt” Exhibition Will Open in Paris on April 14, 2023
The upcoming special exhibit devoted to Sarah Bernhardt will be presented from April 14 through August 27, 2023. Admission is charged for temporary exhibitions at the Petit Palais.
A Glorious Show Devoted to Giovanni Boldini (1842 — 1931) Was a Highlight of 2022
A retrospective of “Boldini” was held at the Petit Palais from March 29 through July 24, 2022.
Boldini Possessed a Dynamism Ahead of His Time
Unlike some of the other gifted portrait painters of his era — Alfred Stevens, Anders Zorn, John Singer Sargent, Joaquín Sorolla — Boldini used brushstrokes to energize his canvases with a sense of movement and liveliness. His vibrant compositions from 1898-1899, for example, evoke the spirit which led to Futurism in 1909, as well as the gestural abstraction that informed the Action Painters 10 to 20 years after Boldini’s death in 1931.
A Great Artist from Chuhuiv, Ukraine
The previous exhibition “Painting the Soul of Russia,” a retrospective on Ilya Repin, was opened to the public at the Petit Palais from October 5, 2021 to January 23, 2022.
Born in Ukraine, Repin became one of the greatest painters of the 19th century and his international renown brought art from Ukraine and Russia into the mainstream of European culture. Repin is mentioned in our article “EXPRESSIONISM — The Best Art on View in Switzerland”, because both Marianne von Werefkin and Alexej von Jawlensky traveled to St. Petersburg to study under Repin.
In addition to the Repin retrospective, the Petit Palais presented a free temporary exhibition entitled “The Narcissus Theorem,” displaying more than 70 new works of art by Jean-Michel Othoniel scattered among the architectural features of the palace and its garden. On view through January 2, 2022, this dialogue (photos below) among sculpture, nature and architecture invented by Othoniel represented this artist’s largest solo project in Paris since his 2011 retrospective at the Centre Pompidou.
Closed on Mondays. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 – 6:00 (18:00).
Art Lovers Tip: Purchase your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line for entry into the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais!
Previous Exhibitions at the Petit Palais
Additional images from the previous exhibitions presented by the Grand Palais and Petit Palais are highlighted in our article entitled: “The Best Past Exhibits at the Grand Palais & Petit Palais”.
6. Musée National de l’Orangerie des Tuileries
The l’Orangerie is located smack in the center of it all, with the Louvre on one side, the d’Orsay across the river Seine, and the Place de la Concorde/Grand Palais to the other side. Located within the Tuileries Gardens, the l’Orangerie is a sentimental favorite for art lovers thanks to Claude Monet’s gift to the City of Paris: 2 spectacular oval rooms containing 8 panels of water lilies measuring nearly 300 feet in length (91 meters long), a small detail of which is shown in the photo below. The 1852 building originally stored citrus trees during winter. In 1921, when the State decided to use the building for fine arts, Monet was already at work on a series of paintings entitled “Nymphéas” destined for the Rodin Museum. The plan was changed and Monet assisted in the design of these 2 rooms, lit by natural light.
The museum opened in 1927, a few months after Monet’s death, and now also houses fine works (below) by Picasso, Renoir, Cézanne and various Impressionists.
Special Exhibition at the l’Orangerie Through May 29, 2023
“Matisse — Art Books, The Pivotal 1930s”
The exhibition “IMPRESSIONIST DÉCORATIONS: Tracing the Roots of Monet’s Waterlilies” was open through July 11, 2022 on the l’Orangerie’s lower level. Painting landscapes outdoors, rendering luminous flowers on canvas, presenting scenes of modern life on rivers and farms, and posing female models in the latest fashions (including accessories like fans and umbrellas) seem like tame artistic activities, by today’s standards. In France during the 1870s and 1880s, however, focusing on such pursuits and subject matter was ground-breaking for artists such as Pissarro, Manet, Renoir, Monet, Caillebotte and Degas.
Charles Baudelaire — the famous poet, art critic & essayist — derisively called representations of flowers on canvas “dining-room paintings.” The Impressionists excelled at depictions of nature, well aware that such works of art were popular with their clients and patrons who wanted to create harmonious, decorative atmospheres within their homes. Monet even referred to his Water Lily series, which he installed in two oval rooms here at the l’Orangerie, as “grandes décorations.”
The Impressionists held eight exhibitions (independent from the State-sponsored Salon) between 1874 and 1886. The 4th Impressionist Exhibition (1879) included more than 20 fans — a fashion accessory (and tool of seduction) in vogue during the 2nd half of the 19th century in Europe, especially Spain, and Japan.
In 1890, Gustave Caillebotte painted “The River Bank at Petit-Gennevilliers and the Seine” (above) as a decorative piece for the apartment of his younger brother, Martial. Caillebotte and Claude Monet, both avid gardeners, were the best of friends. Shortly after Caillebotte’s death in 1894, Monet received a painting of chrysanthemums from Caillebotte; and Monet wrote the following words to describe his good friend: “If he had lived instead of dying prematurely, he would have enjoyed the same upturn in fortunes as we did, for he was full of talent.” In 1897, Monet paid tribute to Caillebotte by painting a thicket of chrysanthemums (below), without a traditional sense of perspective, composed of a sophisticated arrangement of colors.
Claude Monet created two seascapes of the cliffs and rock formations at Étretat while staying at an inn in Normandy. These paintings were painted directly on inn furniture — in this case the doors of an armoire (above left) — as a form of decoration. The second seascape (below) was removed from the inn and placed in a new frame in the 20th century.
Even though the Impressionists sought independence by staging self-organized exhibitions of their creations, Pissarro, Monet and Renoir sought commissions from wealthy clients for a much-needed steady source of income. Even Caillebotte, who inherited a large fortune at age 26 from his wealthy, upper-class Parisian family, included decorative works of art in the Impressionist exhibitions in order to obtain commissions.
Camille Pissarro created the fan (above), circa 1882. “The Four Seasons” (below), painted by Pissarro between 1872 and 1873, are believed to have been commissioned by a wealthy businessman and art collector for his home.
David Hockney at the l’Orangerie in Paris
“David Hockney — A Year in Normandy” (see five images, below) was exhibited from October 13, 2021 through February 14, 2022 at the l’Orangerie.
Closed on Tuesdays. Open Wednesday to Monday 9:00 – 6:00 (18:00). Last admission at 5:15 (17:15). Metro # 1 and # 8 to Concorde.
Art Lovers Tips: Many of you will consider your visit here an unforgettable highlight of Paris. Leave extra time to return to the Monet rooms to think about your life and what you hope to accomplish — this is a special space for contemplation. We suggest you come here first if you wish to inquire about a Combined Ticket for the l’Orangerie and the Musée d’Orsay.
7. Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
Located near the Eiffel Tower, the Quai Branly Museum has a collection of over one million objects from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania; 3,500 are on display. If you want to take a break from European art and try something different, come here. The exterior of the Quai Branly is alive with plants clinging to the walls, while the interior exudes a unique feeling — a contemplative calm — completely different from most museums. If you give this museum a chance it will win you over, and other museums will feel generic (like a Shopping Mall) by comparison. The focus here is on discovering ancient artifacts and art, beautifully lit along winding paths, set against a dramatically dark background. You should visit the museum before May 28, 2023 to enjoy the “KIMONO” exhibition. Check out the Quai Branly’s website for three new exhibits scheduled to open on April 4, 2023.
Closed on Mondays. Open Tuesday, Wednesday & Sunday 11:00 – 7:00 (19:00). Open Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11:00 – 9:00 (21:00). Metro # 9 to Alma-Marceau, or # 6 to Bir Hakeim.
Art Lovers Tips: Stop in Le Café Jacques or, better yet, reserve a table in Les Ombres Restaurant and enjoy a special Eiffel Tower view.
8. Musée Jacquemart-André
The Jacquemart-André provides a very different experience from most of the venues on our Top-10 List. This is a private museum, located in the 8th arrondissement at 158 Boulevard Haussmann, that has preserved the feeling of a private home. The mansion was completed in 1875 and opened to the public as a museum in 1913.
As a result of its uniqueness, the Jacquemart-André possesses pluses and minuses for art lovers. The mansion itself is both impressive and intimate, and the permanent collection of Italian sculpture and painting (from the Florentine & Venetian schools, in particular) is first-rate. Most visitors come here for the fabulous and varied temporary exhibitions; however, the cozy rooms currently dedicated for exhibition space are simply way too small. You will definitely want to visit this museum before August 1, 2023 when the Jacquemart-André will close for major restoration work!
“God the Father” (below) is presently on display as part of the first-rate Bellini exhibition.
“GIOVANNI BELLINI Cross Influences” is on View Until July 17, 2023
If you want to enjoy additional images from the Bellini exhibit, plus learn about the previous shows at the Jacquemart-André devoted to Füssli, Gallen-Kallela and Botticelli, please read our article entitled “Jacquemart-André — A Wonderful Little Museum in Paris.”
The high-quality “Botticelli” show presented at the Jacquemart-André Museum in 2022 included the Renaissance master’s Virgin and Infant (below left) and Crucifix.
Below: Exterior view of the Fondation Vuitton.
9. Fondation Louis Vuitton
The Fondation Vuitton is a museum and cultural center designed by Frank Gehry adjacent to the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne. The project was initially projected to cost 100 million euros; however, the final figure is estimated to be more than 780 million euros (with over 600 million euros coming from the French government). While the permanent collection is predictable and uninspired, the temporary exhibitions have been exceptionally strong. In 2018 the Fondation Vuitton presented a solo exhibit “Jean-Michel Basquiat” and from April 5 until August 28, 2023, the Fondation will present a follow-up show highlighting the collaboration between Basquiat (1960 — 1988) and Andy Warhol (1928 — 1987), a collaboration which accounts for about 10% of the total artistic output created by Basquiat during his short life.
Masterpieces from the collection of Ivan Morozov (1871-1921) and his brother Mikhail (1870-1903) were on display in the much-anticipated “The Morozov Collection: Icons of Modern Art” from September 22, 2021 to April 3, 2022, including “The Window, Tiraspol” (below) painted in 1909 by Mikhail Larionov. The brothers Morozov were patrons of the arts in Moscow who amassed an exceptional collection of Russian and French modern art from the early 20th Century.
“Lake Ruovesi” (above) was painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela in 1909. For the Paris World Fair of 1900, Gallen-Kallela (1865 — 1931) created frescoes for the Pavilion of Finland, securing his stature as the leading Finnish artist of his era. The Morozov Collection possesses the finest holdings of French Impressionism and especially Modernism, such as “Entrance to the Kasbah” (below left) and “Zorah on the Terrace” (below right) completed between 1912 and 1913 in Tangier during one of Henri Matisse’s stays in Morocco, as well as a decorative triptych (bottom) by Pierre Bonnard.
The Vuitton’s interesting architectural elements are open to interpretation, and opinions have varied. Christopher Hawthorne (LA Times) said “The design is brilliant, a late-career triumph” for Gehry; but Paul Goldberger’s description in Vanity Fair came closer to the truth: the Vuitton “looks like sails, and it looks like a boat, and it looks like a whale, and it looks like a crystal palace that is in the middle of an explosion”. You should visit and judge for yourself.
New Exhibit: BASQUIAT x WARHOL. Painting Four Hands. April 5 — August 28, 2023
The Vuitton most recent show “MONET — MITCHELL” closed on February 27, 2022. The upcoming exhibit “BASQUIAT x WARHOL” promises to bring 80 canvases signed by both artists to Paris for a huge presentation, plus more than 200 additional works of art and documents surrounding their collaboration.
Art Lovers Tips: Please note, the Fondation is not particularly attractive in cold weather. Visit on a warm, sunny day to enjoy the Vuitton and surroundings at their best. Check the Fondation Louis Vuitton official website for transportation options and Opening Hours, and additional special exhibitions. We recommend Metro #1 to Les Sablons + 15-minute walk.
10. Musée des Arts décoratifs
In 2022, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris honored the entire body of work created by the Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli, and opening on November 29, 2023 the museum will focus on the oeuvre of Iris van Herpen (born in 1984), the fashion designer from the Netherlands considered one of the most avant-garde figures of her generation.
SHOCKING! Elsa Schiaparelli’s Surreal Worlds
The museum, located next to the Louvre Museum, assembled more than 500 pieces of art including jewelry, costumes, and fashion accessories for the blockbuster exhibition devoted to Elsa Schiaparelli which closed on January 22, 2023.
In addition to costumes created at Maison Schiaparelli during Elsa’s lifetime, this delightful show examines the legacy of the Schiaparelli style as interpreted by Galliano, Lacroix, and Saint Laurent, among other fashion greats. Daniel Roseberry, artistic director of the House of Schiaparelli since 2019, boldly interprets the heritage of Elsa Schiaparelli with his own designs (see image below).
Permanent Collection of the Musée des Arts décoratifs
Upcoming Exhibition at the Musée des Arts décoratifs:
IRIS VAN HERPEN November 29, 2023 — April 28, 2024
Of course, there are more than 10 great museums in Paris. Here are 5 more to check out:
11. Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
12. Musée national des Arts asiatiques – Guimet
13. Musée Nissim de Camondo
14. Institut du monde arabe
15. Musée Rodin
The Rodin Museum maximizes the world’s largest collection of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture by using the lovely gardens surrounding the Hôtel Biron, which the artist used as his workshop from 1908 until his death (1917). The Hôtel became a museum in 1919. Rodin donated his entire sculpture collection and the Impressionist paintings he owned to the French State on the condition that the Hôtel Biron in Paris and the building where he resided (in Meudon, 9 km away) would become museums dedicated to his body of work. Rodin loved to collect antiques. A recent exhibition entitled “Rodin´s Dream of Egypt,” which included hundreds of recently-restored items including Rodin’s personal collection of Egyptian art, closed to the public on March 5, 2023. Go to the museum’s website, please, to learn about upcoming exhibits.
We have visited the Rodin Museum and, unfortunately, found the gardens in need of sprucing up. The outdoor sculptures should be cleaned and better maintained. Please share with us your opinions on the Rodin Museum for the benefit of all of our readers and followers. Thank you!
Closed on Mondays. Open Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 6:30 (18:30). Metro #13 to Varenne, or #8 to Invalides.
Art Lovers Tips: Do not visit on a rainy day. Come to the Musée Rodin on a sunny day when the gardens and the view of Les Invalides may be fully appreciated.
Musée du Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Museum has been removed from our list of the best venues for art in Paris due to the weakness of recent exhibitions.
A recent exhibition entitled “MIRRORS OF THE WORLD — Masterpieces from the Dresden cabinet of curiosities” (which was on view through January 15, 2023) was awful.
One past exhibition, displayed from March 2 through July 10, 2022, at the Luxembourg Museum attempted to highlight the influential role of women in the development of new genres in sculpture, photography, painting, textile and film from the end of the 19th century through the Roaring Twenties. “Portrait of Natalie Clifford Barney, Woman of Letters” from 1920 (below left) and “At the Seaside” from 1914 (below right), both by the painter known as Romaine Brooks, were on view.
That exhibition entitled “PIONEERS: Artists in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties” was a trainwreck.
With the exception of a handful of paintings by Suzanne Valadon, Beatrice Romaine Goddard (who painted under the pseudonym Romaine Brooks) and Gerda Wegener, we could not recommend the previous exhibition to our readers. If you want to do some research on your own, we encourage you to learn more about two exceptionally talented artists from Poland — whose works of art appeared in the “Pioneers” show — namely, Tamara Lempicka and Mela Muter. Lempicka (born Tamara Rosalia Gurwik-Górska in 1898 in Warsaw) was best known for her portraits executed in the Art Deco style. On canvas, she invented a unique blend of refined Cubism and Neoclassicism (inspired in particular by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres). Lempicka left Europe for North America in 1939 and died in Mexico in 1980. Maria Melania Mutermilch (1876 — 1967) used the professional name Mela Muter. Born in Warsaw, Muter left Poland in 1901 at the age of twenty-five and settled in Paris. Muter’s paintings, containing strong brushwork and vivid colors, swiftly gained popularity in France. Muter fled Paris for Avignon during the Nazi occupation, but returned after the war and continued painting until her death in 1967.
Even though we found the “Mirrors of the World” and “Pioneers” shows deeply flawed and disappointing, we hope the Luxembourg Museum will be able to rejoin our Top 10 List in the future. This museum has presented high-quality exhibitions in the past and possesses historical importance. The Luxembourg was the first French museum opened to the public (in 1750) and it is blessed by its surroundings: inside the Luxembourg Gardens in the Latin Quarter. In 2021, this small museum organized an outstanding display of photos (above right and below) by Vivian Maier, the American street photographer. The Vivian Maier exhibit, presented from September 15, 2021 until January 16, 2022, was a triumph. Please enjoy the photographs (below) taken by Vivian Maier.
Open every day from 10:30 – 7:00 (19:00). Open late on Mondays from 10:30 – 10:00 (22:00). Metro #4 to Saint Sulpice, or Metro #10 to Mabillon.
Art Lovers Tips: When you arrive by Metro, you may choose to stop at Rue Guisarde, 6 for ice cream at “Amorino,” which opens at 12:30, and then pass through the Place Saint-Sulpice with its unique church built in 1754 — where the murderous monk Silas found a clue in his search for the Holy Grail in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
After your visit to the Luxembourg museum, stroll among the flowers in the famous Jardin du Luxembourg and sit in one of the chairs near the Medici Fountain (pictured below) which was built around 1630 then moved to its present location in 1864.
QUESTION: What is the most famous museum that did not make our list of the 10 best museums in Paris?
ANSWER: Musée National Picasso – Paris. This Museum is currently very poorly administered. There are too few paintings by Picasso on display, in our opinion, and we do not want you to be disappointed.
What do you think about this article on Paris museums? Your feedback will assist us in providing more focused content for you in future articles. Your comments are encouraged and most welcome, and feel free to share our blog with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and similar platforms!
It’s look very interesting. I definitely will ask you for help for my next trip.
Thank you very much!
My tastes in museums have changed over time just like my taste in wine has matured. My favorite museum used to be the D’Orsay for their fabulous collection of Impressionist Art, followed by the Louvre and then the Pompidou. As my visits have progressed I appreciate the Pompidou more and more. Their collection has grown and their Exhibits are absolutely first class. While all art in Paris is fab, we probably all have our favorites du jour.