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Travel / Tours / Paris / Museums
Visit museums in Paris
  Pompidou Centre
  Rodin Museum
  Musée de l'Armée
  Further information


Some information about the most famous museums in Paris.

If you intend to visit many monuments and museums in Paris, you can buy a Carte Musées et Monuments (Paris Museum Pass). These passes are available for 1, 3 or 5 consecutive days. In general you will save money with one of these cards if you enter 3 or more museums/monuments on the same day, and you will save time because you do not need to queue. You can buy the card at a monument or museum, or at a metro or RER station.

Note that many of the main museums offer free entry on the first Sunday of each month.

Louvre and Musee D'Orsay: Boxed Set
Author: Bonfante Warren
Publisher: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates
Date: June 2001
The Little Book of the Louvre
Author: Brigitte Govignon
Publisher: Editions Flammarion
Date: May 2001
Paintings in the Musee D'Orsay
Author: Serge Lemoine, Caroline Mathieu
Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd
Date: November 2004
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Author: Jean Poderos
Publisher: Prestel Publishing Ltd
Date: July 2002

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The Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum) is one of the world's most important art collections. It holds works created before 1848.

The Louvre buildings were originally a fortress to protect Paris against Viking raids. It became a royal residence for French kings, until Louis the Fourteenth decided to move his court to Versailles. It was opened to the public in 1793, shortly after the French Revolution. Many of the works of art were collected by the French kings, and also by Napoleon (who demanded works of art from the countries which he conquered).

The main entrance to the museum is through the glass pyramid in the middle of the courtyard. This was designed by the Chinese-American architext I.M.Pei and opened in 1989. Another entrance is close to the Arc du Triomphe du Carrousel (a large arch which was built to celebrate Napoleon's victories in 1805).

The glass pyramid
(opened in 1989)

Arc du Triomphe du Carrousel
(built after Napoleon's victories in 1805)

The works of art are displayed on four floors (lower ground floor, ground floor, 1st floor and 2nd floor) in wings named Denon (the south wing), Richelieu (the north wing) and Sully (the east wing). A free plan (in several different languages) is available from the information desk. You should not use flash photography or touch any of the works.

The Mona Lisa is the most famous of the paintings. This portrait of a lady from Florence was painted in about 1504 by Leonardo da Vinci, who brought the painting with him when he was invited by the French king to live and work in France. It was stolen in 1911 but found (in Florence) two years later. The Venus de Milo is an ancient statue of a woman which was found on the island of Milo (in Greece) in 1820. It dates from the 2nd century BC. The Winged Victory of Samothrace is another famous Greek statue which dates from a similar time.

Mona Lisa
(painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1504:
a picture of a lady from Florence)

Venus de Milo
(found on the island of Milo
in Greece; 2nd century BC)

Winged Victory of Samothrace
(found on the island of Samothrace
in Greece; 2nd century BC)

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The Musée d'Orsay (Orsay Museum) contains the world's greatest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It includes works by Bouguereau, Courbet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Redon, Whistler and Gauguin.

The Musee d'Orsay
(art collection from the period 1848 - 1914)

of the museum

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The Centre Pompidou (Pompidou Centre) is in an area known as Beaubourg, about 10 minutes' walk from Notre Dame. It is named after a former French president Georges Pompidou and was opened in 1972. The top three floors house the Musée National d'Art Moderne (National Museum of Modern Art).

The building was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. It is unusual because the pipes are on the outside of the building instead of being hidden inside. The pipes are coloured according to their function, allowing you to see how the building works: blue is for temperature control, yellow for electricity, red for circulation and green for water.

The Pompidou Centre:
a museum of modern art

The pipes are on the outside of the building
(white for ventilation; blue for air conditioning)

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The Musée Rodin (Rodin Museum) is dedicated to the works of the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin. It is located at 79 Rue de Varenne, close to the Metro/RER station Invalides.

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In 1671 Louis the Fourteenth decided to create the Hôtel des Invalides as a place where disabled French soldiers could be housed.

A church was built on the site which was later divided into two churches: the Eglise des Soldats (Soldiers' Church) and the Eglise du Dôme (Dome Church). In 1840 it was decided to move Napoleon's body from St Helena to Paris. Napoleon's Tomb was completed in 1861 and his remains were placed inside. Around this are the tombs of other famous soldiers and of some of Napoleon's relations, including his son Napoleon the Second.

Several of the buildings are used to house the Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum). This is a collection of French weapons, emblems and uniforms from the period 1650 to 1950.

Gardens in front of
the Hôtel des Invalides

Napoleon looks down
over the main courtyard

A medieval suit of armour
inside the army museum

Eglise du Dôme

Napoleon's Tomb

Altar inside the church

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Near the top of the hill at Montmartre is L’Espace Dali. This is a small museum dedicated to the works of the Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dalí.

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Book a trip to Paris:
Anderson Tours: Travel/Tours/Company/AndersonTours
International Friends: Travel/Tours/Company/InternationalFriends

Useful websites:
Paris Museum Pass:
Louvre museum (Musée du Louvre): (location: map)
Orsay museum (Musée d'Orsay): (location: map)
Pompidou Centre (Centre Pompidou): (location: map)
Army museum (Musée de l'Armée): (location: map)

Guimet museum (Musée Guimet): (location: map)
Picasso museum (Musée National Picasso): (location: map)
Dali museum (Espace Dali): (location: map)
Rodin museum (Musée Rodin): (location: map)
Other museums:

Independent travel to Paris:
To book a Eurostar train ticket from London to Paris: Shop/Company/Eurostar
To book a Eurolines coach ticket from London to Paris: Shop/Company/NationalExpress
To book a flight to Paris: Travel/Transport/Air

Hostels/hotels in Paris:
Click here for: Accommodation in Paris

Weather forecast for Paris:

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Visit Paris: Travel/Tours/Paris
Visit other parts of France: Travel/Tours/France

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