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Museums in Paris: Tickets and Tours

Museums in Paris are the highlight of any trip to the French capital, but it can be overwhelming trying to decide which to visit. Art lovers will enjoy seeing classical masterpieces in the Louvre, while younger explorers can meet their heroes in the Grévin Wax Museum.

There are historical Paris museums too – did you know you can visit Napoleon’s tomb? Fashion and science are also on the cards, as well as chocolate for sweet-toothed travelers.

Louvre Museum

Home to the “Mona Lisa” and “Venus de Milo,” the Louvre Museum is the most visited gallery in the world. Situated on the banks of the River Seine in the first arrondissement, the museum is an essential stop on your sightseeing itinerary.

Housed within a 12th-century palace, this beloved Paris museum offers up architecture and art to all who enter. There are thousands of exhibits to admire, with masterpieces both ancient and modern. If you’re interested in Paris museum tours, the Louvre never fails to impress. Go early in the day if you want to avoid the crowds.

Musée d’Orsay

Just across the river from the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay is another popular Paris museum. Tickets sell fast so it’s a good idea to book them well in advance. Built inside a former Beaux-Arts train station, this world-renowned gallery is one of the more modern museums in Paris.

You’ll see work by Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir adorning the walls, as well as thousands of other classical pieces and little-known treasures. Cézanne’s “Card Players” is one of the most famous.

Impressionist paintings are the big draw, but the photography collections and sculpture exhibitions are equally worthy contenders for your time.

Other Paris art museums and galleries

There are enough art museums in Paris to keep you busy for weeks, but if you only have time for a few, here are the bests of the rest. First up is the Orangerie Museum, which can be found in the Jardin Tuileries. Monet’s “Water Lilies” are here, as well as paintings by Matisse and Picasso.

Meanwhile, over at the Centre Pompidou in the fourth arrondissement, you’ll find art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Cubism and Surrealism feature heavily. Just a short distance from Les Invalides, the Rodin Museum focuses on the life of the eponymous sculptor. The mansion is as magnificent as the artwork inside!

Across in the Marais district is the Picasso Museum. As well as being one of the grandest mansions in the city, the museum charts the history of this notable Spanish painter.

Finally, the Jacquemart-André Museum is all about Italian Renaissance art and paintings by the French Old Masters. You’ll find the gallery in the eight arrondissement.

Grévin Wax Museum

The Grévin Wax Museum is like London’s Madame Tussauds, just with a distinct French theme. It’s one of the best museums in Paris for families, as it’s visually entertaining as well as educational. Located on Boulevard Montmartre in the ninth arrondissement, the museum is easy to reach too.

There are over 400 life-size figures to discover, from revolutionary heroes to modern-day celebrities. Whether you want to take selfies with Charles de Gaulle or meet Marie Antoinette, you’ll have a blast at this quirky Paris museum.

Don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors, which was modeled on the Versailles Palace – it’s great for photos!

Invalides Army Museum

There are plenty of Paris history museums to choose from, but if you’re interested in Napoleon, this is a must. The Invalides Army Museum boasts a huge collection of military exhibits and gives a great overview of the country’s past.

Set inside the Hôtel National des Invalides in the seventh arrondissement, the museum is like taking a walk through history.

It displays 500,000 artifacts dating from the Middle Ages to the present day, including swords and armor belonging to French kings. The main event is the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, which can be found in the golden Dome Church.

Quai Branly Museum

From masks to musical instruments, the Quai Branly Museum knows how to put on an exhibition. These coveted Paris museum tickets are your passport to a world of anthropology and international cultures, with artifacts from Africa, Oceana and beyond. There are around 35,000 exhibits, with changing displays throughout the year.

Standing in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, this gallery is packed with peculiar relics and exotic objects. It’s a place where curious travelers will be in their element. There’s a vertical garden on the exterior too, which just adds to the theatrical whimsy.

Chocolate Museum

Of all the Paris museums, this one is perhaps the most fun. As you wander around the Chocolate Museum, you’ll learn all about the humble cocoa bean and the alchemy involved in turning it into sweet treats. Discover how the Aztecs introduced chocolate to the world, and how tastes have developed over the centuries.

There will be a chocolate-making demonstration and, of course, plenty of opportunity for tasting the results. Both chocolate bars and cups of hot chocolate are up for grabs. You’ll find the museum on Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle in the 10th arrondissement.

City of Science and Industry

The City of Science and Industry is the most innovative museum in Paris. It’s a world away from the art galleries and history exhibitions, with its eyes turned firmly towards the future. Situated in the Parc de la Villette, this is the biggest science museum in Europe. To make the most of your tickets, plan to spend a few hours here.

You can get hands-on during live experiments and enjoy immersive shows in the state-of-the-art planetarium. Intrepid visitors can have a go at flying in the Solar Impulse simulator, while budding scientists can uncover secrets about the human brain.

Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Allow yourself to be drawn into the world of fashion, as you take a tour of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. The man himself was one of the finest couturiers in Europe, and this Paris museum is dedicated to his life and work. It’s centrally located on Avenue Marceau near the Alma-Marceau Metro station.

In the heart of this historic haute couture house, you’ll see Yves Saint Laurent’s design studio, where much of the creative magic happened. Original sketches reveal some behind-the-scenes secrets, but it’s the designer outfits that are the stars of the show.