Paris museums, art and culture are renowned the world over, with this city long associated with the romance, struggle and liberation of the arts. Now Paris plays host to some of the most significant museums, galleries and cultural landmarks of the world, ranging from the iconic Louvre to the Musee d’Orsay and the eerie ambience of Les Catacombes.
This is the city where you can witness the Mona Lisa in person, stare in wonder at a Van Gogh, or find solace in the works of the Impressionists. Not only are the works within Parisian museums amazing to witness in person; the buildings that house them are often masterpieces themselves.
As the world’s largest museum, the Louvre is one of the most readily recognised buildings of Paris. Each year it attracts almost 10 million visitors to witness the artworks on offer and explore the historic building in which they are housed. The former fortress and home to French kings became a museum in 1793, and it now accommodates over 35,000 pieces of art dating back up to 7,000 years – including the famed Mona Lisa.
Sitting on the banks of the Seine, the architecturally spectacular Musee d’Orsay has a unique focus on one of the most seminal periods in art history. Here you’ll find the works of the Impressionists housed in a collection that features names like Renoir, Monet, Manet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Cezanne. As a former train station built for the 1900 World Fair, the building is worth more than a cursory glance.
The Musee Rodin is home to the sculptures, photographs, objects d’art and sketches of ground-breaking French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. The museum has two sites including the architecturally significant Hotel Biron in Paris and Rodin’s villa just outside the city. Both provide the opportunity to witness Rodin’s work process, but Hotel Biron encompasses more pieces and also features impressive gardens.
As a modern multidisciplinary cultural centre for the people of Paris, the Centre Pompidou boasts the title of Europe’s largest modern art museum. It’s a place to wonder at art in almost all forms including sculpture, cinema, paintings, new media, and prints. The Centre Pompidou features over 100,000 works in total, created by over 6,400 artists, and it attracts almost four million visitors a year.
An oasis of tranquillity within the sea of bustling activity that is Paris, the Grand Mosquee de Paris is France’s oldest surviving place of Muslim worship and also its largest. A major feature of this building is the statuesque 33m-high minaret, but it’s also home to fabulous decorative works. Inside the entrance you'll find intricate tile work, calming pools, fountains, and flowers.
Deep beneath the streets of Paris lie Les Catacombes. The network of former mine tunnels is the last resting place of millions of Parisian citizens where bone upon bone line the walls. This unique mass grave was established in the 18th century to solve two problems plaguing Paris: mine tunnels prone to caving in and overflowing cemeteries with sanitation issues.