Paris Travel Planner   Museums of the City of Paris
The city owns and manages fourteen museums in Paris. And most of them are free!

 Carnavalet Museum, Paris
Sign for the 19th century Montmartre club, Le Chat Noir, at the Carnavalet.



Paris is well known for its wonderful museums—the Louvre, the Orsay, the Picasso, the Orangerie, the Carnavalet, and many more.

Fourteen museums in the city of Paris are actually owned by the city, and most of these offer free admission to their permanent collections; special exhibitions will have a price. Those that charge a fee all the time are the Catacombs and the Crypte of Notre-Dame; the Maison de Victor Hugo, the Palais Galliera, and the Zadkine charge when temporary exhibitions are on.

If you plan to attend several temporary exhibits at City of Paris museums, you might want to consider the Carte coupe-file Paris Musées. This gets you free admission to special exhibits at city museums and allows you to coupe file, or go to the head of the line, for entrance. It also offers reductions for museum conferences, boutiques, and book stores. You can buy it at any museum or online.

Here are the fourteen museums of the City of Paris:

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

This large museum is housed in the Palais de Tokyo, which was built for the 1937 Universal Exhibition. It focuses on 20th century art and the trends of that period. With works by Matisse, Dufy, and other 20th century artists, it has a broad range of offerings. More...

Maison de Balzac

The home of Honoré de Balzac, 19th century novelist and playwright, is in the Passy section of Paris, not far from the Trocadero. Balzac wrote most of his most famous work, The Human Comedy, here. The museum includes personal items of Balzac and his family and original manuscripts and other publications.

Musée Bourdelle

Antoine Bourdelle was an assistant to Rodin and also an accomplished sculptor in his own right. Works in marble, plaster, and bronze are on display here. There is also a sculpture garden of Bourdelle's work in the tiny village of Égreville, about 100 kilometers southeast of Paris. More...

Musée Carnavalet—Histoire de Paris

If you Sivalet, in the Marais section of Paris. From pre-history to the 20th century, the Carnavalet chronicles the history of this wonderful city. More...

Catacombes de Paris

Ah the Catacombs! With the remains of over six million Parisians, crammed into former quarries under the city, the Catacombs provide a different look at the history of Paris. More...

Musée Cernuschi: Musée des Arts de l'Asie

Many people know the Guimet Museum, a wonderful collection of Asian art in Paris. But there is also the Cernuschi, a private collection of Chinese and Japanese art that was bequeathed to the city, along with the beautiful mansion near the Parc Monceau.

Musée Cognacq-Jay

The Cognacq-Jay Museum, located in the Marais (very close to the Carnavalet), houses the private collection of 18th century art amassed by Ernest Cognacq and his wife Marie-Louise Jay. More...

Crypte Archéologique Parvis Notre-Dame

Everyone who visits Paris goes to the Cathédral de Notre-Dame. But fewer venture underground to the nearby Crypte, which houses archaeological evidence of the history of Paris dating back to Roman times. More...

Palais Galliera Musée de la Mode

The Palais Galliera Musée de la Mode is the city of Paris fashion museum. It only presents temporary exhibitions and is closed to the public when there is no exhibit on display.

Musée du Général Leclerc/ Jean Moulin

Two museums housed together, focusing on World War II and specifically the three holders of the Compagnon de la Libération, an honorary order recognizing the contributions of Général Leclerc de Hauteclocque, Jean Moulin, and the city of Paris.

Petit Palais

The Petit Palais is a jewel of a museum. The lovely building was constructed for the 1900 World's Fair. Its extensive art collection spans the centuries. There's plenty here for several return visits! More...

Maison de Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo's home, on the beautiful Place des Vosges, gives a picture of the life and times of the author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables. More...

Musée de la Vie Romantique

The beautiful Hôtel Scheffer-Renan is a fitting home for the Musée de la Vie Romantique, which celebrates art and life of the 19th century. It also includes memorabilia of George Sand.

Musée Zadkine

This small museum and sculpture garden was the home of Russian-born sculptor Ossip Zadkine, who lived and worked here for 40 years in the mid 1900s. Recent renovations have created a wonderful display of his work.

That's quite a list! And quite a variety of wonderful opportunities to see great and varied art in Paris, mostly without having to open your wallet.

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Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


 Courtyard, Petit Palais, Paris

Above, Lovely courtyard of the Petit Palais.

Friendly (?) greeting at the Catacombs!

Catacombs, Paris, France

Canaletto, Cognacq-Jay Museum, Paris

, Canal of Santa Chiara, Venice, by Canaletto, at the Cognacq-Jay Museum.

Below, Detail from La Fée Électricité, by Raoul Dufy, at the Musée d'Art Moderne.

Modern Art Museum, Paris


Maison de Victor Hugo, Paris
Above, Bedroom of Victor Hugo, at the Maison de Victor Hugo.

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