The Louvre Museum houses one of the largest collections of artworks and antiquities in the world. The museum is located inside the Louvre Palace, which was built in the 12th Century as a fortress by Philip II. After Louis XIV, he 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 divided 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 some of the most famous works like the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Liberty Leading the People.
Millions of visitors come to see Musée d'Orsay's mammoth collection of French art every year. The building itself, called the Gare d'Orsay, was built as a railway station in 1900, is a striking Beaux-Arts edifice. At 138 meters long (453 feet) and 32 meters tall (105 feet), the opulent principal gallery of the ground floor is a reminder of the building's history. Among the masterpieces in this gallery are the Burial at Ornans by Gustave Courbet and the Gleaners 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.
Indisputably one of the most opulent buildings, the Palace of Versailles is the epitome of French royalty. Louis XIV commissioned architects Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin to build the Château de Versailles in 1664, on the site of his father's small hunting lodge. It became one of the largest palaces in Europe, accommodating up to 20,000 courtiers at a time. The interiors are extravagant and the highlights include the Royal Apartments and the world renowned Hall of Mirrors. The Grand Trianon (1687) and the Petit Trianon (1762) are also in the park. In the year 1919, the Hall of Mirrors played a significant role in world politics for being the place where the Treaty of Versailles was signed. An outstanding exemplar of the French Baroque architecture to this day, this UNESCO World Heritage Site palace enthralls visitors with its opulence and legends.
Parc de la Villette is the setting for this huge science museum best known for its Géode dome and impressive 180-degree cinema. Natural and scientific phenomena are explained with the help of exhibitions in an area specially designed with kids in mind. Children aged three and over can visit a real submarine, the Argonaute, and find out how it works; temporary exhibitions are organized in Espace Explora.
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!
Located opposite the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Crypte Archéologique du Parvis Notre-Dame is a treasure trove of important and priceless ruins from Gallo-Roman to the 19th Century. The crypt is made with the intention to preserve some of the masterpieces of an age and period, which will never return. The traces which were discovered during the excavation of 1965 were converted into a preservation space in 1980. As this place is open to the public, don't miss an opportunity to visit, when in Paris.
Mémorial de la Shoah museum treats its visitors with informative exhibits and guided tours on World War II and the disturbing Holocaust, which is referred more appropriately as 'Shoah'. Focusing on the violence against Jews, the museum holds a permanent exhibition, which displays the life of Jews during this period with documented evidence. The museum regularly hosts collaborative events with German cultural centers and there are guided tours in English and French. There are also special tours intended for children, check website for details.
Set in the iconic Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne (National Museum of Modern Art) occupies the fourth and fifth floors of this unique building. Though it moved many locations since its establishment, this esteemed museum made its permanent home at the Centre Pompidou in 1977. It has an impressive collection of modern (1905 to 1960) and contemporary art. It comes second to New York's Museum of Modern Art which has the largest repository of modern and contemporary artworks. You will find paintings, cinema, prints, photography, drawing, architecture, sculpture and design in their permanent and temporary displays. These include famous artists like Matisse, Yves Klein, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Dan Flavi, Dubuffet and Max Ernst.
This museum is supported by the Cultural Ministry of France and most of its collections come from the Jewish museum at Rue Des Saules and from the Culture Ministry who gave it the Isaac Strauss Collection. The museum has symbolic objects that give a glimpse of the ancient Jewish civilization. There are several audio-visual documentaries that reflect the various facets of Jewish life, beliefs, culture and religion. It also has an auditorium where lectures and discussions are held.
One of the smallest museums in Paris, the Salon Frédéric Chopin is housed within the Polish Library located on Rue Bode. The museum is known for its extensive collection of Frédéric Chopin's mementos and belongings which include paintings, letters, antiques, furnishings, and portraits.
Housing the works of Polish artist Bolesław Biegas, the Musée Boleslas Biegas is located inside the Polish Library in Paris. Artworks by Biegas along with a few other Polish artists adorn the halls of the facility. Best known for paintings and sculptures, the museum houses works from the nineteenth and twentieth century. After a tour of the museum, you can explore the other museums and interesting collections at the library.