Travellers could spend weeks visiting Paris museums and still not see them all. If you only have time for a few, put these five at the top of your itinerary.
Musée d’Orsay: Second only to The Louvre in importance and prestige, the sweeping Musée d’Orsay is uniquely located within the painstakingly restored Gare d'Orsay train station. You won’t find more impressionist and post-impressionist works of art anywhere else in the world.
Musée du Louvre: The Louvre is, quite simply, the world’s most magnificent museum and visits should be treated as such—give yourself at least a full morning to take it in, if not also some of the afternoon, too. Note that the museum is closed on Tuesdays and stays open later (until 9:45pm) on Wednesdays and Fridays.
It’s impossible to see everything, so consider joining one of the many guided tours, ranging from the introductory to a focus on the masterpieces, to help make the most of your visit. Nifty self-guided tours using a high-definition Nintendo 3DS XL are available, as well, and Louvre apps let you create your own audio tour.
Musée Marmottan Monet: There are some 100 works—more than anywhere in the world—from French impressionist painter Claude Monet at this excellent museum, which is a short walk from the Eiffel Tower. Works from the likes of Gauguin, Degas, and Renoir are among other pieces complementing the Monet collection.
Musée Picasso Paris: Located in the grand 17th-century Hôtel Salé, this homage to the prolific Spanish modernist artist includes works from his full scope of mediums—paintings, sculptures, sketches, and more. All told, here you’ll find the world’s largest public exhibition of Picasso’s work, along with exquisite furnishings by Swiss designer Diego Giacometti.
Musée Rodin: Somewhat overshadowed by Paris’ other art institutions, Musée Rodin is well worth a visit. Beyond display of nearly 150 works from modernist French sculptor Auguste Rodin—including The Thinker and The Gates of Hell—the collection counts paintings from van Gogh and Monet, among others.