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Insider’s guide to the best of Art and Culture in Paris

 Musee Rodin Paris

We asked our Paris expert friends and readers to tell us their favourite places in Paris and share their insider knowledge of the best art and culture venues as well as their tips to help others.

Not surprisingly some of the best known icons like the Eiffel Tower came out near the top but we also learned about some of the more authentic, off the beaten track parts of Paris and got some great tips for visitors to Paris…

There are some things in Paris you should never miss – especially on a first visit and these are the places that came out on everyone’s must-see list: Versailles, Sacre Coeur, Cathedral Notre-Dame, the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre. Tip – why not participate in a treasure hunt at the Louvre – its a great way to get to see this enormous museum and have fun at the same time!

Many of the museums have free entry on the first Sunday of each month, tip: in peak visiting months the queues can be long but don’t let that put you off, check out our guide for free museums in France!

Also recommended are: Musée de la vie Romantique in the 9th arrondissement “a great outlier museum” says Jacqueline a visitor from Los Angeles; Rodin Museum and the Musée de Luxembourg. The original Musée de Luxembourg was the first Museum in France to open to the public in 1750 with a collection of Rubens paintings.  The current Museum on the edge of the Jardin de Luxembourg opened in 2000 and has quickly established a reputation for outstanding exhibitions.


Matt Care from the UK recommended Napoleon’s tomb in the Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides. This is a place that sometimes is missed off the best loved lists but is in fact an amazing architectural wonder – a mix of bling and baroque. Les Invalides is in the 7th arrondissement and was originally commissioned by Louis XIV as a hospital and home for veteran and sick soldiers. In fact a part of it is still used for the original purpose.

Having survived the French Revolution when it was rampaged by a mob seeking weapons to storm the Bastille it is open these days as a series of museums and monuments including the fabulous Tomb of Napoleon 1st and to this day red roses are often laid on the Napoleons tomb by visitors.

Bree Hawkins from the US recommended the current Haute Couture exposition at the Hotel de Ville. This exhibition ends 6th July 2013 but it’s a good tip – there is often a free exhibition of really great quality and the iconic Paris Town Hall is a fabulous venue to visit in itself, think Robert Doisneau and THAT photo – “the kiss by the Hotel de Ville”.

Linda Baker from France recommended the Deportation monument -across street behind Notre Dame at end of Ile de la cite “very moving. It looks like just a flat park – you have to go down the stairs”.

Turnipseed Travel  had this advice for all visitors to Paris – “Plan well. The most popular attractions are ultra-busy. Even if you pre-purchase tickets in advance to avoid lines you still might find the inside to be packed. Arrive very early (or very late) to the Louvre,  Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower. “

Top Tip: See the Paris Info website for information on all the places mentioned in this feature. You’ll also find the excellent money saving Paris Museum Pass and City Passport deals –  offers include unlimited travel on Paris transport systems, museum entry, open bus and boat tours.

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