No matter what you're interested in, from contemporary art to sculpture to the classics to medieval artifacts, there's something to please every taste in the city of light.
Quick tip: If you want to check out the museum after dark, you can do so on Wednesdays when it stays open until 8:45 p.m.
We stumbled upon this memorable museum one rainy morning in Paris, and the wet walk to get there turned out to be well worth it. Get lost among sculptures (from the miniscule to the grand), prints, drawings, ceramics, photographs and paintings to get great insight to the iconic artist Rodin and his work. The museum actually has two sites — one in central Paris in the Hotel Biron, and one just outside of the city at Rodin’s former home at Meudon.
OK, so this one isn't exactly a hidden gem, it’s still a nice alternative to the ever-crowded Louvre, especially if you get up early and go in the morning like we did. The spacious, airy museum (housed in what was originally a railway station) is a joy to wander through, and there’s so much to see, it could take you a few trips to get through it all (sadly, we only had one morning). Get your fill of paintings, sculpture (our favorite part of the visit), photography and even decorative art. All the big names are on display here, including Van Gogh, Rodin, Cezanne, Renoir, Monet, Manet and Degas.
Located in the Marais, a must-visit Paris neighborhood, this home to some of Picasso’s greatest works was established in 1985 and has since seen more than 12 million visitors. Over 3000 works of art are on display, including paintings, sketches, sculptures and ceramics, along with photographs of the man himself, his family and his friends. Walking around the museum you really get a sense of not only Picasso’s art and the progression of his craft, but also how he lived his life and how that might have influenced the way he wielded his brush. Do note that the museum is currently closed for renovation but due to reopen this summer, just in time for prime Paris tourist season.
Hungry? Don’t miss out on a falafel from the Marais — little shops are everywhere (sometimes literally a hole in the wall) to get an unforgettable crunchy sandwich will hit the spot after your afternoon in the museum.
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Musée de l'Orangerie
This small but well-curated museum is home to work from the Impressionist group, including Monet, Renoir, Modigliani, Cezanne and Matisse. If you’re a fan of the work of this group of painters, then a trip to L’Orangerie will be well worth your time and euros. The lovely glass roof adds to the experience, giving the already lush artwork even more of an ethereal look. The location — near the Jardin de Tuileries — also can’t be beat. Combine your museum visit with a leisurely wander through the manicured grounds.
Further afield: We strongly recommend a day trip outside of Paris to check out Claude Monet’s home in Giverny, located about 50 miles from the city. Take the train from Paris Saint-Lazare station to Vernon (about 45 minutes). Then take a shuttle bus to Giverny from the train station or rent a bicycle if you’re feeling energetic (we weren’t). The highlight here is getting to see Monet’s vast gardens, which inspired his work, along with his former home.
Musée National du Moyen Âge (formerly Musée de Cluny)
It's not always on the top of everyone’s Paris museum-hopping list, but we still thoroughly enjoyed our jaunt through this fascinating museum encompassing life in medieval times. We were instantly intrigued by the extensive display of fifteenth-century tapestries, early medieval sculpture, furnishings, stained glass and goldsmith work. Get an audio guide to learn the history of the pieces you’re looking at, which we felt really added to the experience. If you have time, take a walk through the pretty gardens inspired by the middle ages.
Pack your bags and join us next time when Frequent Flier heads to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
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