Paris is teeming with historic, exquisite and gilded buildings galore. The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower are the most visited museum and monument in the world. When it comes to culture, Paris offers a backdrop like no other city and has so much to offer culture vultures. Here are six of the most gorgeous museums in the city of light.
A-list art venues
We can’t mention Paris museums without speaking of the Louvre. Its history goes back 800 years and this architecturally stunning former royal palace is enhanced by an enormous glass pyramid which serves as an entrance. If you walk round every room of this enormous building, you’ll complete a half marathon! In fact it’s so big that should you look at every artwork in it for your 30 seconds, it would still take you more than 3 whole months to see all of the thousands of artworks on display. There are late night openings on Wednesdays and Fridays and its usually a good way to avoid the crowds.
Here you’ll find the largest collection of impressionist works in the world as well as wonderful furnishings. This repurposed former train station has many original features including a giant station clock (a popular place for a selfie!) and the building is as much an artwork as those it houses. Less of a queue than the Louvre and doable in a day or half day. Lunch time music concerts take place on Tuesdays from October to May and there are also some evening concerts which, in this special venue, are quite magical. There are two restaurants in the Musee d’Orsay which are both stunning and well worth a peep at even if you’re not eating there.
Opposite the Musee d’Orsay you’ll find the Musee Legion d’Honeur which is free to enter and interesting for history fans. Did you know that this old building was the inspiration for many of the public buildings in Washington including The White House? Completed in 1787, and known as the Salm Hotel, Thomas Jefferson who was in Paris and observed its construction, loved its good looks and used it as the basis for designing buildings in Washington and his own home Monticello.
Georges Pompidou Centre
The futuristic architecture of the Georges Pompidou Centre is just as striking now as when it first opened in 1977. Designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the steel and glass building is instantly recognisable by its exterior escalators and enormous coloured piping. A great collection and regularly changing temporary exhibitions make this a favourite with Parisians. Head to the 6th floor for fabulous city views, you can buy a ticket to access the views and not the museum if that’s your preferred choice.
Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
Designed by Jean Nouvel, the building is one of a kind, resting on a huge metal bridge and stilts and features an enormous vertical garden. It’s an eclectic mix on display in side with a regularly changing temporary exhibition. On top of the museum is the restaurant Les Ombres which has one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower – stunning at night.
Fondation Louis Vuitton’s contemporary art collection is housed in an extraordinary building created by Frank Gehry. Dazzling, monumental and looking a bit like a futuristic sail boat from another planet, this newish addition to cultural venues is unforgettable.
The Fondation Cartier’s gleaming HQ is home to a massive collection of contemporary art. The glass and steel building was designed by Jean Nouvel and the creative space is truly stunning. Nip into the garden for more art and a little oasis of lush greenery in the city.
More on Paris
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Paris Tourist Office website: Parisinfo