Yes, the Louvre has the largest collection of art in the world. Yes, it is also a must-visit. However, there is so much more to the Parisian art scene than just the Louvre, in fact, here are five alternative art museums to visit that are just as breath-taking.
Baring close resemblance to the British Victoria and Albert Museum, Musée d’Orsay is one of the most interesting places to visit. Despite not being as big as the Louvre, it has a huge variety of paintings and sculptures, as well as furniture and photography. Resident artists at the museum are also some of the biggest names in the world, including Van Gogh, Sisley, Renoir and Monet. The most distinctive feature of the museum, besides its remarkable selection of art, is the giant clock that we often see people posing in front of on social media. The clock, located in the main hall, on the second floor of the museum, used to be more than just a decoration, for the museum was originally a train station, Gare d’Orsay before its artistic transformation in the 19th Century.
This museum is filled with the works of the famous French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, including some of his most iconic creations, the Thinker and the Kiss. The collection is housed in the Hôtel Biron and the enormous garden in front of this classic Parisian building. The charm of the museum and its surrounding grounds made the place a familiar venue at the Paris Fashion Week. Be sure to spend as much time in the rose garden as you would inside the elegant main building.
Located in the 4th arrondissement is the National Centre of Art and Culture. Unlike most art museums in the city, which are usually elegant and ancient in their architectural designs, Centre Pompidou has revolutionised the expectation of what an art museum in Paris should be, having a bright and colourful shell. Inside, you will find an expansive collection of modern and contemporary art, including international sensations Andy Warhol and Yves Klein. The place regularly holds exhibitions, concerts and live performances. Make sure you go online and check out some of the programmes they have on before your visit!
Musée de l’Orangerie
Literally on the opposite side of Jardin des Tuileries, the beautiful garden in front of the Louvre, you’ll find a much smaller, but no less impressive art museum, Musée de l’Orangerie. Like Musée d’Orsay, it is famous for its Monet paintings, which occupies two large rooms right at the entrance, there is so much more to the museum than the Water Lilies. From the thick and vivid strokes of Franz Marc to the distinctive shapes and colours of Chaim Soutine, this is the holy place for admirers of impressionist and modernist artworks.
The Petit Palais
Sitting directly opposite its giant counterpart, the Grand Palais, is one of the two landmarks with identical green domes, the Petit Palais. While the Grand Palais charges an entrance fee, this beautiful fine art museum is free of charge. In there, you’ll find a collection of paintings, sculptures and artefacts, from Middle Ages to Renaissance, from the 17th to the 20th century. There is a café in the outdoor garden inside the museum, which is beautifully decorated with gold statutes and blue mosaics. Just outside the museum, you’ll also find another iconic landmark, Pont Alexandre III.