1. The Louvre
Located right at the heart of Paris in the First Arrondissement, the Louvre is housed in a former royal palace. Alight at Louvre - Rivoli metro station. A short walk brings you to the impressive architectural complex of the museum, which includes a magnificent glass pyramid.
The Louvre is home to the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Take the time to take in da Vinci’s masterpiece, a portrait of a woman with a mysterious smile that’s sparked centuries of study and debate. All you have to do is turn around to admire further Renaissance masterpieces, such as Paolo Veronese's painting Wedding at Cana.
Another highlight of the Louvre stands nearby the Mona Lisa. The ancient Greek sculpture Winged Victory of Samothrace, more commonly known as the Nike Statue, portrays a headless, winged goddess. This ethereal beauty has captured the imagination of Louvre visitors for decades.
And there's much more! After all, this is the largest art museum in the world. You can spend many more hours here, exploring the various sections, including Egyptian Antiquities, Decorative Arts, and Islamic Art.
2. The Orsay Museum
Located by the Seine River on Paris’ Right Bank, this museum is easy to access with the Paris underground system. You can also travel here with the suburban railway, which has a station at the Orsay Museum.
Housed in the grand buildings of a former train station, the Orsay Museum is one of the best museums in Paris. Fans of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism are in for a treat as this museum showcases celebrated works by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, and Van Gogh.
Near the museum, you will also find the Statues of the Six Continents, sculpted by six different French artists for the 1878 World Fair in Paris.
3. Versailles Palace
Though located a little outside the city of Paris, Versailles Palace can be accessed very quickly by train. It takes about 45 minutes to travel from the centre of Paris to Versailles.
For more than 100 years, from 1682 until the French Revolution, Versailles Palace was the main residence of the French Royal Family. Its most famous residents were the ill-fated Queen Marie Antoinette and her husband King Louis XVI, who were executed when the country rejected monarchy and became a republic.
Today, Versailles lives on as an exquisite museum offering insight into the luxurious lives of former monarchs, from the majestic Hall of Mirrors to the King’s State Apartments. In fine weather, take a rowboat out on to the Grand Canal in the palace gardens.
4. Pompidou Centre
Directly by the metro station Rambuteau, you’ll find one of Paris’ most intriguing constructions, the Pompidou Centre. With its colourful inside-out architecture built in high-tech style, the museum is a wonder to behold.
Inside, discover paintings by famous artists, organised according to three chronological periods – modern paintings from 1905 to the ‘60s, contemporary works of art from the ‘60s to the ‘90s, and progressive art from the ‘90s to today. Temporary exhibits at the Pompidou also showcase cutting-edge photography and design.
Even if you don’t have the time to visit the museum, at least visit the outdoor courtyard in front of the futuristic building. This popular meeting place is great to relax and mingle with visitors and locals.
5. Conciergerie Museum
Take the metro to City Island, a small urban island in the middle of the Seine River, which is home to Notre-Dame Cathedral, as well as the Conciergerie Museum. Set amidst vineyards and lavender fields, the Conciergerie is a lavish royal residence dating back to the Middle Ages, when it was built as a tribute to the monarchy.
Take a self-guided tour with an interactive digital device called a HistoPad. You’ll learn all about the historical intricacies of the palace and the many purposes it served over time. From royal residence to prison cell for the unfortunate Marie Antoinette awaiting execution, to its current function as a court of law, the Conciergerie has seen plenty of action throughout the centuries.
6. Rodin Museum
This wonderful museum is far too often overlooked by visitors to the French capital. From the metro station Varenne, walk by the superb museum complex called Les Invalides, which houses monuments to fallen war heroes.
The Rodin Museum is just around the corner. You will find the sculptor's most famous work of art in the museum gardens. The Thinker is a bronze sculpture of Italian author Dante, striking a thoughtful pose, sitting in contemplation with his chin resting on the back of his hand.
Rodin's statues are exhibited in a stately home that used to be owned by a wealthy financier. Alongside The Thinker in the gardens, there are numerous other fantastic sculptural works by this celebrated artist to discover here.
7. Louis Vuitton Foundation
From Les Sablons metro station, a 10-minute walk through the gorgeous Bois de Boulogne park brings you to this unique museum. The postmodern, colourful glass building looms in the distance, creating a stark contrast with the green foliage of the park and forest.
The Louis Vuitton Foundation displays great works of art collected by the eponymous company. It features an impressive collection of Impressionist paintings and puts on two innovative temporary exhibitions per year.
Visiting the Foundation shows how the world of fashion and art intersect, as the company strives to share its art collection with the world. If you are on a time budget, avail yourself of the foundation's short tours, which bring you straight to the highlights of the collection. Or, take more time to enjoy the museum and bask in the surrounding park.
8. The Palace of Discovery
Take the metro to Champs Elysées-Clemenceau or Franklin D. Roosevelt. Both stations are located just a short walk away from the Palace of Discovery, a science museum housed in a gorgeous building. Conceived by French physicist Jean Perrin in 1937, the museum aims to make science accessible to a large audience.
This museum never fails to please kids. With plenty of fun, interactive exhibits exploring everything from chemistry to astronomy, children find plenty of scope for playful learning here. Apart from looking at the history of science, the museum also focuses on current issues, such as the development of information technology and artificial intelligence.
Paris is famous for its culture. The city's many museums offer fresh perspectives on art, history, and science. Whether you are looking to spend a fun day out with your family or hoping to lose your train of thought while admiring a painting, Paris never disappoints. You can easily reach Paris by train from any other city in France or Europe, so check out our great ticket options today and embark on your own romantic Paris adventure.