Paris beyond the Louvre: Small museums you can’t miss


Paris established itself long ago as one of the world’s premier destinations for fine art. But there’s more to the city’s dynamic art scene than the Louvre and da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”.

Why not skip the queues and experience the French’s capital’s many smaller museums, which cater to fine art, sculpture and photography lovers?

Paris’s sculpture master

Those staying in hotels in the hip Saint-Germain-des-Prés area are within walking distance of one of Paris’s small but outstanding gems: Musée Rodin. This is housed in the mansion where sculptor Auguste Rodin lived out the end of his life.

Some of his best-known works are on display here, including “The Thinker”, “The Kiss” and “The Gates of Hell”. Here you can also see the impressive works of Camille Claudel, Rodin’s longtime muse and lover. On days when the weather is just too nice to be indoors, you can access the glorious garden and sculpture park separately for just €2.

Photography and contemporary art in Paris

A leisurely walk through the Tuileries Gardens takes you to the Jeu de Paume. Paris’s centre for 19th- and 20th-century photography hosts exhibitions from snappers as diverse as Guy Bourdin, Taryn Simon and Germaine Krull.

Also on the river Seine’s right bank, with an enviable location opposite the Eiffel Tower is Paris’s Palais de Tokyo. Dedicated to site-specific contemporary art installations, this museum has the peculiar distinction of being open until midnight every day except Tuesday. In summer months, you can pop into the trendy Tokyo Eat café for an inventive meal in the sunshine.

Top spot to see Impressionists in Paris

Love the hazy, luminous Impressionist style? Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris’s fancy 16th arrondissement exhibits “Impression: Sunrise” by Monet, the painting credited with launching Impressionism in 1884. Monet’s renderings of the ever popular water lilies and works from female impressionist Berthe Morisot line the walls. Rotating exhibitions include favourites from Manet, Renoir and Cézanne.

A 19th-century mansion with something for everyone

Centrally located on Boulevard Haussmann, Paris’s Musée Jacquemart-André, tickles every fancy with its sumptuous, 18th-century interiors, glass-roofed winter garden and Italian sculptures. The extensive European paintings collection includes works from David, Rembrandt, van Dyck and Gainsborough.

For more information on things to do, as well as places to stay in Paris, visit our destination guide.

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