It is impossible to think of Paris, without thinking of its rich artistic heritage. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was home to some of Europe’s finest painters and was the place where many of the most dynamic art movements of the time developed and thrived. Today it is possible to see some of the best-known works of art in the galleries and museums of Paris.
Louvre Museum For more information see the Museums Section
The Centre Pompidou is known as much for its striking modern architecture as for its art. Its unusual exterior, adorned with enormous tubes and strange-looking escalators is easily recognisable and has become one of the most iconic buildings in Paris. Inside it is packed with some of the finest works of art of the 20th and 21st centuries, including works by Picasso and Matisse. Its top floor houses world-class temporary exhibitions and also boasts stunning views over the roof-tops of Paris.
This 18th century mansion, in the midst of idyllic French gardens, is one of the hidden gems of Paris and is well worth visiting. It houses the most famous sculptures by the artist, Auguste Rodin, including The Hand of God, The Kiss and The Thinker, which are some of the best-known works of the 19th century. Thousands of the artist’s drawings are also on display, as are works from his personal collection of art, which includes paintings by Van Gogh. It is closed on Mondays.
The Musée d’Orsay is located close to the Louvre and is home to numerous impressionist and expressionist masterpieces from such well-known artists as Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Degas and Gaugin. Its collections include painting, sculpture and photography, which are all housed in a beautiful former train station on the banks of the River Seine. It is closed on Mondays.
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
This unusual museum is housed in the west wing of the Louvre, where it has been for the past century. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is home to many treasures of the decorative arts, donated largely by private collectors. Here, you will find everything from tableware to carpets, furniture to fine porcelain and glass, with more than 150,000 items dating right back to medieval times and right up to the present day. It is closed on Mondays.
The Petit Palais is set on the grand Avenue des Champs-Elysées and is an architectural treasure made up of four wings, set around a semi-circular courtyard. It was built in 1900 and contains some 1300 exhibits, which date from Ancient and Medieval times through the Renaissance right up to the 19th century. The collection includes sculptures, paintings, tapestries, artistic objects and religious icons from across Europe. One of the highlights is the collection of paintings by major 19th-century French artists such as Monet, Sisley and Renoir. The Petit Palais also has a charming garden. It is closed on Mondays.