How To Navigate Paris Art Museums (Even If You’re Not An Expert)


If you’re heading to Paris without some serious art history knowledge, the sheer amount of museums can be overwhelming. The good news: there is a museum for every taste in art in the City of Lights. So go to the Louvre, but that shouldn’t be your only stop. Pick one that suits your aesthetic. Here’s what you should see.

1. Musée Louvre

The mother of all Parisian museums, you could spend your entire trip inside the Louvre. It’s impossible to see everything in one go, but what you experience will be amazing.

The Big Names:

  • Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci
  • Venus de Milo, Alexandros of Antioch
  • Winged Victory, artist unknown

2. Musée d’Orsay

La verrière et la nef du musée d'Orsay. #museedorsay #museeorsay #museum #paris #art Musée d'Orsay / Sophie Boegly

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The Orsay is not too big to tackle in an afternoon. The museum features impressionist and post-impressionist work, although Monet and Picasso fans should expect to only see a few pieces. Each artist has more work in other museums in the city.

The Big Names:

  • Auguste Renoir, Bal du Moulin de la Galette
  • Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh
  • Apples and Oranges, Paul Cézanne

3. Musée de l’Orangerie

This small museum is famous for the round panoramic Monet rooms, but there’s also a great collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in the gallery downstairs. Think Monet, plus Matisse, Picasso, Renoir — all the familiar classics from the early 1900s.

The Big Names:

  • Nymphéas (Water Lilies), Claud Monet

4. Musée National Picasso-Paris

The Picasso museum has hundreds of the artist’s paintings, sculptures, and prints. Anyone looking to immerse in any of the artist’s widely-varying styles should definitely make a point to visit.

The Big Names:

  • Portrait of Igor Stravinsky
  • Two Women Running on the Beach

5. Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin is the go-to for sculpture. Although the indoor galleries are lovely, the gardens outside are exquisite during the spring and summer.

The Big Names:

  • The Thinker, Auguste Rodin