At last count, there were over 83 museums in Paris. (And that’s not including the Cinematheque Francaise which for some reason isn’t included in any of the official tourist information listing of National, Private, and City museums.) There are probably a few small private museums that fall below the radar, but not to worry. Those are the museums that will find you rather than vice-versa. No matter what’s on your must-see list, there are bound to be tough decisions to make when your time is limited.
If you are only visiting Paris for a few days, you probably have a good idea about which museums you’d like to visit, and unless you’re anti-art or you’ve been to Paris before the Louvre is probably one of them. (If it’s not, you might want to read Parisgirl’s thoughts on why you should visit the Louvre.)
You may also have the Musee d’Orsay’s Impressionist collection on your list. (Don’t forget both museums are open one evening per week. The Musee d’Orsay is open Thursday nights and the Louvre is open Friday nights.)
If you have time for a third museum, Parisgirl recommends visiting the Musee du Quai Branly near the Eiffel Tower. Inaugurated by former president Jacques Chirac, the Musee du Quai Branly exhibits African, Oceanic, Asian and Amerindian sculpture, art and artifacts in the inspiring Jean Nouvel environment.
By visiting these three museums, you’ll get an excellent range of perspectives – from the fortified foundations of the Louvre, through the technological leaps of the late 19th century to contemporary France’s outlook on our One World Village.
As you’ve noted, Paris’s museums are divided into three categories, national, private and city museums. As a tourist, the most important thing you need to know about the Paris museums is that municipal museums close on Mondays and national museums close on Tuesdays.
For example, the Louvre closes on Tuesday and the Musee d’Orsay closes on Monday.
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>> Also check out these 5 unusual Paris museums, too.
Favorite Museums closed Tuesdays
Picasso Museum (The Picasso is temporarily closed and will be reopening Jan. 18, 2008)
Cluny Musee du Moyen Age
Eugene Delacroix Museum
La Cinematheque Francaise
Open Every Day except Christmas and May 1st
Open Every Day, even Christmas!
Musee du Luxembourg
Paris Erotic Museum
Espace Salvador Dali
Musee du Grevin Wax Museum(annual five- day closing following school holidays -until January 11th,2008 this year)
Closed Thursdays and Fridays
The Paris Sewers (Musee des Egouts de Paris)
Both the Parisinfo.com, the official Paris tourism office and www.parisnotes.com provide direct museum links to many of Paris’s museums. These two internet resources are very useful to help you find a museum in your neighborhood:
If you’re already in Paris, buy a copy of Pariscope at most newstands or kiosques which list the addresses and opening hours for most Paris museums.