While the Louvre may hold the title of most well known museum, Paris has a host of other spectacular—and sometimes overlooked—art museums. Take a look at our list of the top five must-see museums during your next rendez-vous in Paris.
Musée National d'Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou (MNAM)
One of the most visited in the world, this ultramodern museum designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers has an astounding collection of modern and contemporary art. Works by artists including Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Miro, Magritte, Warhol, Saint-Phalle, and Pollock make up the extensive and constantly rotating exhibitions. Currently on view: a retrospective of German artist Anselm Kiefer (through April), unprecedented in its scope and selection of works.
Centre Georges Pompidou, 4th arr.; centrepompidou.fr
Musée d'Orsay, Impressionist and Expressionist Treasury
Located on the left bank of the Seine in a repurposed former train station, the d’Orsay might as well be a place of worship for impressionist and expressionist devotees. The museum displays works from 1848 to 1914 ranging from the Godfathers of impressionism, such as Van Gogh and Monet, to other lesser known but equally inspiring modern artists. Don’t miss Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910 before it ends this month, featuring the works of artists including Manet, Degas, and, of course, Toulouse-Lautrec.
1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 7th arr.; musee-orsay.fr
Now is the perfect time to visit the Musée Rodin, fully open after a three-year, $17.4 million renovation, which included the addition of elevators and wider doors as well as a reorganization of the collection to a chronological progression of Auguste Rodin’s life. The museum houses a collection of works from Rodin, including 600 new works, as well as work of his students, including Camille Claudel. While the renovations include modern updates to the building—the mansion where Rodin sculpted his works officially became a museum in 1919—another major enhancement recreates the atmosphere of the space during the time it was occupied by Rodin. Highlights of the museum include the sculpture garden, the chance to take in Rodin’s most well known sculpture, “The Thinker,” and some not previously displayed landscapes and plasters that came new with the renovations.
79 Rue de Varenne, 7th arr.; musee-rodin.fr
Musée de l'Orangerie
At the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens next to the Place de la Concorde, in what remains of the Palais des Tuileries, you’ll find works like Monet's "Les Nymphéas" (Water Lilies), which are displayed in two rooms that were built to Monet’s specifications in 1927, and masterworks by the likes of Cézanne and Renoir hanging side by side in gilt frames.
Jardin Tuileries, 1st arr.; musee-orangerie.fr
Musée du Quai Branly
Specializing in non-Western and indigenous art, here you’ll find works originating from Africa, the Near East, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. The collection of nearly 370,000 pieces spotlights non-European cultures during the Neolithic Period and are arranged by continent within the museum. Through January 31st, visit Sepik, an exhibition of 230 sculptures hailing from the Sepik Valley in Northern Papua New Guinea.
37 quai Branly, 7th arr.; quaibranly.fr