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Born in Spain, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) settled in France after fleeing from Franco's régime. Even though he rarely returned to his native country, most of his paintings reflect his Andalusian origins. On the painter's death, his descendants left many of his works to the French state to pay for death duties. It is partly thanks to these works that the museum was founded in the Hôtel Salé, originally designed by the architect Jean Boullier in 1656 for Aubert Fontenay, a collector specializing in the salt tax. Inside the museum, visitors follow the style changes of the great master and admire the creations from his blue, pink and cubist periods.
The Louvre Museum houses one of the largest collections of artwork and antiquities in the world. The museum is located inside the Louvre Palace, which was constructed in the 12th Century as a fortress by Philip II. After Louis XIV decided to move his court to Versailles, the palace was occupied by a variety of institutions related to the arts. The museum was first opened under the National Assembly in 1793. The establishment is separated into sections, including drawing, painting and sculpture, and houses antiquities from Egypt, Rome, Greece, and several other cultures. Visitors to the museum can explore its many wings and see famous works like the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Liberty Leading the People.
This museum was created in 1952 in a section of an apartment, which belonged to the painter who lived here from 1857 till his death. Delacroix had settled in the heart of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district to be closer to the Saint Sulpice church, where he painted his famous frescoes. Although the Musée d'Orsay and the Louvre exhibit his most famous paintings, this museum nevertheless shows some interesting works. Besides the artist's personal mementos and his furniture, there are also some watercolors, lithographs, sketches, self portraits, and studies as well as the tools of his trade. Do not miss the self-portrait of the master as Hamlet and his Madeleine, depicting Mary Madgalene, whom Christ cured of the bad spirits who lived in her, in ecstasy. Temporary exhibitions are regularly held.
Located in the Palais du Luxembourg's east wing, this is one of Paris' finest museums. The Musée du Luxembourg originally had a permanent collection of 19th-century sculptures and paintings. Today however, the gallery holds only temporary exhibitions. Call ahead for details about the different programs, which are decided by the Ministry of Culture and the Senate. The museum also offers discounts to large groups.
Nearly 2.5 million visitors each year come to see Musée d'Orsay's mammoth collection of French art. The building itself, called the Gare d'Orsay, was built as a railway station in 1900; the principal gallery of the ground floor, 138 meters long (453 feet) and 32 meters tall (105 feet), is a reminder of the building's history. Among the masterpieces in this gallery are the scandalous Enterrement à Ornans by Gustave Courbet and the Glaneuses by Jean-François Millet. Fans of impressionism should head directly up to the fifth floor, where works by the greatest masters of this genre can be found.
Take a trip to the beautiful gardens of Tuileries, where the Orangerie Museum is located. The museum stocks a host of famous and fabulous artists such as Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and Henri Rousseau. All the artwork in the museum was handed over by Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume, two art fanatics who have ensured that all these works are exhibited together. There is a surprise in the basement: the Oval Room, which houses some of Monet's Water-Lily paintings on permanent display. Another surprise awaiting you is the La Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, which is a twin tower of the Orangerie.
Constructed for the Universal Exposition in 1900, the Petit Palais is a legendary historic museum. This complex, located in the heart of Paris, houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris and features some of the world's finest art. This museum also features a lush garden and a cafe for when guests need to recharge and refuel.
Established in 1900 for the Worlds Fair Exhibition, Grand Palais stores a great treasury of history within its boundaries. The beautiful structure has attracted many a tourist through the years and why not, the architecture is breathtaking. The glass ceiling and walls allow a flood of natural light to immerse the objects within. There's a lot for you to explore here: Nef du Grand Palais, Palais de la découverte and Galeries nationales du Grand Palais.
This world-famous auction house now has a branch in Paris. Furniture, silver, ceramics, and ancient art are auctioned here and buyers come from all over the world. With over 300 years of experience, Christie's has turned auctioning into a sophisticated art. Their auctions still continue to create history, as rare and beautiful masterpieces are perpetually sold. Visit an auction, and if your pockets allow it, pick up a rare treasure to cherish forever. Check the website for more details and auction dates.
This underground museum, circled by black walls and dramatic lighting, presents relatively little known sculptures and engravings of Salvador Dalí's late work. Espace Dalí is the only museum in France showcasing a permanent exhibition of the surrealist master's work. Come here to discover the amazing bronzes illustrating some of the main masterpieces of western literature, like Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet and the Bible. Experience the world of the artist while strolling through the sculptures. Don't miss the Soft Watches or the Melting Snails, both dating from the 1970s and mirroring the artist's obsession for the fantastic and bizarre.
Artist Nélie Jacquemart gave up her brushes after her marriage to Edouard André. Her passion for art however, continued to blossom, fired by her equally enthusiastic husband who commissioned the building of this elegant house in 1869. During their travels across Europe, they collected artifacts, paintings and contemporary treasures. Upon her death, Jacquemart entrusted the entire collection to the Institut de France, who opened a museum at the former residence. Most of the works exhibited date back to the Italian Renaissance but there are also examples of the Flemish and French schools from the 17th and 18th Centuries. Frescoes, delicate pieces of furniture and tapestries are worth the visit. Works by famous artists, such as Rembrandt, Donatello and Fragonard, are also on display.
Musée Marmottan Monet stocks some of the world's most famous artists from various periods. Visitors can find art from the Early Renaissance period, the First French Empire, the world's largest Monet collection as well as over 300 paintings from the Impressionist and post-Impressionist periods. The museum was converted from a hunting lodge to a museum when it was bought by the Marmottan family who put their own personal collection on display. Don't forget about the gift shop for some great souvenirs!