Paris’s top 10 most iconic museums and galleries

Paris’s top 10 most iconic museums and galleries

In a city bursting at the seams with art, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here’s how to crack Paris’s culture


1. The Louvre

A former fortress and royal palace, the Louvre (, which officially opened in 1793, is without a doubt one of the most mind-blowing museums in the world. With a priceless reserve of history spanning from the seventh century BC to the mid-19th century, it takes around three days to visit every single room. From Venus de Milo to the Mona Lisa and Vermeer’s The Lacemaker, you’ll find some of the most famous works of art ever created, all under one roof.


2. The Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou ( has garnered reams of attention for its radical, high-tech style, having been described as “an art machine” and “Paris’s very own Loch Ness monster”, likened to something “straight out of Super Mario Land”, and compared to an oil refinery and a spaceship. Designed in the 1970s by Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Gianfranco Franchini, the inside-out building is so much more than just an art gallery, it’s a cultural hub. People come from all over simply to see the playful fountains outside. 


3. The Musée National d’Art Moderne

The Musée National d’Art Moderne moved to its current location on level four of the Centre Pompidou in 1977. Inside the colour-coded, tubular façade you’ll find trailblazing exhibitions, interactive workshops, dance performances and cinemas. The 18,500sqm space is home to the second largest collection of modern and contemporary art in the world, with a collection of more than 100,000 pieces, from paintings, sculptures, and photographs to new-media creations.


4. Musée des Arts et Métiers

For more industrial design, the Musée des Arts et Métiers ( is a fantastic science museum with early flying machines displayed in a 12th-century chantry, while the Gaïté Lyrique (set in Offenbach's former theatre) is a glorification of all things digital, with streams of digital installations and live electro concerts.


5. L’Institute du Monde Arabe

Its Islamic art exhibitions are much talked-about, as is the modern façade of L’Institute du Monde
( Go up to its top-floor terrace for sweeping views across the Seine to Notre Dame and Île de la Cité.


6. Musée National Picasso Paris

Packed to the rafters with the artworks Pablo couldn’t bear to part with,

Musée National Picasso Paris ( occupies an old house in the Marais. Olga Picasso, an exhibition that sheds light on Picasso’s muse and first wife, runs until September 3, 2017.


7. Musée d’Orsay

The venue at Musée d’Orsay ( in a converted turn-of-the-century train station is as beguiling as the art itself. Must-see exhibitions include Beyond the Stars: The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky, which runs until June 24, 2017, and Portraits by Cézanne, running until September 24, 2017.


8. The Guimet Museum

The Guimet Museum ( in Place d'Iena in the 16th arrondissement houses one of the biggest collections of Asian art in Europe, including an entire wing devoted to Buddhist, Hindu and Shinto art.


9. Palais de Tokyo

Don’t let its name mislead you: the Palais de Tokyo ( on Avenue du Président Wilson in the 16th arrondissement is not famous for Asian art, but is a contemporary arts space with rotating exhibits by renowned and emerging artists, from paintings to performance.


10. Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (, dedicated to art from the 20th and 21st centuries, is located in the east wing of Palais de
Tokyo. This is the museum from which the “Spiderman” art thief, Vjeran Tomic, stole around €100 million (AED 412 million) worth of works by legends including Matisse and Picasso in 2010. Nicknamed “Spiderman” for his ability to scale buildings, Tomic was recently sentenced to eight years in prison.


Source: Condé Nast Traveller Middle East


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