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The Best Museums in France. Top 10

Los mejores museos de Francia.

France is one of the countries with an enormous cultural wealth and that translates into a large number of works of art and museums

In this article we are going to introduce you to some of the most famous and important art museums in France

1-Musée d’Orsay

Musée d´Orsay en París, Francia.

The Musée d’Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of the Seine. It is located in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts style railway station built between 1898 and 1900.

The museum houses mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography

Interior del Musée d´Orsay.

It houses the world’s largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces by painters such as Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Many of these works were in the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume before the museum opened in 1986. It is one of the largest art museums in Europe.

In 2021 the museum had one million visitors, up 30% from 2020, but well behind previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the decline, it ranked fifteenth on the list of most visited art museums in 2020.

2- Louvre Museum

El museo del Louvre es el más visitado del mundo.

The Louvre or the Louvre Museum , is the most visited museum in the world and a historical monument in Paris, France.

It houses some of the most famous works of art, such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. It is located on the right bank of the Seine, in the 1st arrondissement of the city. At any given time, approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are on display in an area of 72,735 square meters (782,910 square feet)

Attendance in 2021 was 2.8 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic, up five percent from 2020, but well below pre-COVID attendance. Nevertheless, the Louvre continued to top the list of the world’s most visited art museums in 2021.

Galería Italiana del Louvre.

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built between the late 12th and 13th centuries under Philip II. The remains of the Louvre’s medieval fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to urban expansion, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function and, in 1546, Francis I made it the main residence of the kings of France.

The building was enlarged several times to form the current Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his home, leaving the Louvre mainly as a place to exhibit the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture.

La Gioconda de Davincia es quizás la principal atracción del Loucre.

In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained in the Louvre for 100 years[8] During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to exhibit the nation’s masterpieces.

The museum opened on August 10, 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, most of which were owned by royalty and confiscated churches. Due to structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801

The collection increased under Napoleon and the museum was renamed Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon’s abdication, many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection continued to grow during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces

Since the Third Republic, the collection has continued to grow thanks to donations and bequests. The collection is divided into eight conservation departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

The Louvre Museum contains more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight conservation departments with more than 60,600 square meters dedicated to the permanent collection. The Louvre exhibits sculptures, objets d’art, paintings, drawings and archaeological finds.

3- Orangerie Museum

Museo de la Orangerie en Francia.

The Musée de l’Orangerie is an art gallery of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings located in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens, next to the Place de la Concorde in Paris

The museum is most famous for permanently housing eight large murals of Water Lilies by Claude Monet, and also contains works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Sisley, Chaïm Soutine, Maurice Utrillo and others.

Interior del museo de la Orangerie.

4- Rodin Museum

Museo Rodin en Francia.

The Rodin Museum in Paris, France, is a museum opened in 1919, dedicated mainly to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. It has two locations: the Hôtel Biron and surrounding grounds in central Paris, as well as outside Paris in Rodin’s former home, the Villa des Brillants in Meudon, Hauts-de-Seine. The collection includes 6,600 sculptures, 8,000 drawings, 8,000 old photographs and 7,000 art objects. The museum receives 700,000 visitors a year.

While living at the Villa des Brillants, Rodin used the Hôtel Biron as a workshop from 1908, and subsequently donated his entire sculpture collection-along with paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir that he had acquired-to the French state on the condition that they convert the buildings into a museum dedicated to his works

Estatuas del museo Rodin.

The Rodin Museum contains most of Rodin’s significant creations, such as The Thinker, The Kiss and The Gates of Hell. Many of his sculptures are displayed in the museum’s large garden. The museum includes a room dedicated to the works of Camille Claudel and one of the two casts of The Mature Age.

The gardens surrounding the museum building contain many of the famous sculptures in natural settings. Behind the museum building is a small lake and an informal restaurant. In addition, the nearby metro stop, Varenne, has some of Rodin’s sculptures on the platform. The building is served by the metro (line 13), the RER (line C: Invalides) and the bus (69, 82, 87, 92).

5- Marmottan Monet Museum

Museo Marmotton Monet en Francia.

The Marmottan Monet Museum is an art museum in Paris, France, dedicated to the artist Claude Monet. The collection features over three hundred Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings by Claude Monet, including his 1872 Impression, Sunrise.

The Marmottan Museum’s fame is due to a donation made in 1966 by Michel Monet, Claude’s second son and sole heir.

Although originally a showcase for First Empire pieces, the nature of the museum’s collection began to change with two important donations. In 1957, Victorine Donop de Monchy donated to the museum an important collection of Impressionist works that had belonged to her father, Dr. Georges de Bellio, a physician to Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, and Renoir, and an early supporter of the Impressionist movement.

In 1966, Claude Monet’s second son, Michel Monet, bequeathed his own collection of his father’s works to the museum, creating the largest collection of Monet’s paintings in the world

Interior del museo Marmottan Monet en Francia.

In 1985, Nelly Duhem, adopted daughter of the painter Henri Duhem, donated her large collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works (including several Monets) to the museum.

Every year since 1975, the museum has organized two exhibitions dedicated to an individual or a collection, including Toulouse-Lautrec in 1976, Boilly in 1984, Daumier in 1989, Goya in 1990, Boldini in 1991, and Pissarro in 2017

Museum paintings from Claude Monet’s late career were exhibited at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 1995. The works subsequently traveled to the Walters Art Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art and the Portland Museum of Art in 1998-1999.

The museum also contains works by Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and others. It also houses the Wildenstein collection of illuminated manuscripts and the Jules and Paul Marmottan collection of Napoleonic-era art and furniture.

6- Pompidou Center

Centro Pompidou en Francia.

The Pompidou Center, better known as Centre national d’art et de culture Georges-Pompidou, is a complex building in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil and the Marais

It was designed in the style of high-tech architecture by the architectural team of Richard Rogers, Su Rogers, Renzo Piano, along with Gianfranco Franchini.

It houses the Bibliothèque publique d’information (Public Library of Information ), an extensive public library; the Musée National d’Art Moderne, which is the largest museum of modern art in Europe; and IRCAM, a center for musical and acoustic research

Exposición en el Centro Pompidou de Francia.

Because of its location, the center is known locally as Beaubourg. It is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who commissioned the building, and was officially inaugurated on January 31, 1977 by President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

The center had 1.5 million visitors in 2021, up sixty-five percent from 2020, but down considerably from 2019 due to closures caused by the COVID pandemic. It has had more than 180 million visitors since 1977 and more than 5,209,678 visitors in 2013, including 3,746,899 for the museum.

Alexander Calder’s Horizontal sculpture, a free-standing mobile 7.6 m high, was placed in front of the Pompidou Center in 2012.

7- Louis-Vuitton Foundation

Fundación de Louis Vuitton.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation, formerly the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation , is a French art museum and cultural center sponsored by the LVMH group and its subsidiaries. It is run as a legally independent, non-profit entity as part of LVMH’s promotion of art and culture The art museum was inaugurated on October 20, 2014 in the presence of President François Hollande

The deconstructivist building was designed by American architect Frank Gehry and work began in 2006. It is located next to the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, bordering Neuilly-sur-Seine. More than 1.4 million people visited the Louis Vuitton Foundation in 2017.

Cuadros de Basquiat en la Fundación Louis Vuitton.

The museum’s collection, believed to be a combination of works owned by LVMH and Bernard Arnault, includes works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gilbert & George and Jeff Koons

For site-specific installations, under the curatorship of Francesca Pietropaolo, the foundation commissioned works by Ellsworth Kelly, Olafur Eliasson, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller (with Scott Tixier and Tony Tixier), Sarah Morris, Taryn Simon, Cerith Wyn Evans and Adrian Villar Rojas.

Morris made the filmStrange Magic(2014); Simon created the installationA Polite Fiction(2014). Kelly made a curtain, Spectrum VIII (2014), consisting of 12 colored strips, for the building’s auditorium. Eliasson created“Inside the Horizon” (2014), consisting of 43 yellow prism-shaped columns that are illuminated from within and placed along a walkway. Villar Rojas created“Where the Slaves Live” (2014), a water tank containing found objects, discarded sneakers and plants, installed under one of the 12 glass “sails” that provide the Fondation’s signature rotating shape.

8- Tours Museum of Fine Arts

Museo de bellas artes de Tours en Francia.

The Museum of Fine Arts of Tours is located in the former bishop’s palace, near the cathedral of St. Gatien, where it has been housed since 1910.

It presents rich and varied collections, including the painting collection, which is one of the first in France both for the quality and the diversity of the works presented.

The museum has a large and fairly homogeneous collection of paintings, including several masterpieces such as two paintings by Andrea Mantegna, from the predella of the Altarpiece of Saint Zeno:

  • The collection of Italian primitives shows works by Mantegna, Antonio Vivarini, Giovanni di Paolo, Lippo d’Andrea and Lorenzo Veneziano. Italian painting of the following centuries is represented by works by Giovanni Battista Moroni, Mattia Preti, Sebastiano Conca, Francesco Cairo and Giuseppe Bazzani.
  • French painting up to the 19th century is exhibited by artists such as Claude Vignon, Philippe de Champaigne, Jacques Blanchard, Noël Coypel, Eustache Le Sueur, Jean Jouvenet, Charles de La Fosse, Henri-Camille Danger, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Nicolas de Largillière, Pierre Subleyras, François Lemoyne, Jean-Marc Nattier, François Boucher, Carle Van Loo, Nicolas Lancret, Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, Joseph Vernet, Hubert Robert, Ingres, Théodore Chassériau, Eugène Delacroix, Edgar Degas and Claude Monet.
  • The collection of Flemish and Dutch painting presents works by artists such as Rubens (Virgin and Child), Rembrandt, Frans II Francken, Gerard ter Borch, Bartholomeus van der Helst, David Teniers the Younger.
  • Modern painting is represented with works by Maurice Denis or Maria Elena Vieira da Silva.
  • There are sculptures by Jean-Antoine Houdon, Auguste Rodin, Antoine Bourdelle, Alberto Giacometti and Olivier Debré.

9- Angladon Museum

Museo Angladon en Avignon.

The Musée Angladon – Jacques Doucet is a museum located at 5 rue Laboureur in Avignon, housed in the hôtel de Massilian, a former private hotel built in the 18th century

The museum was created in 1996 by Jean and Paulette Angladon-Dubrujeaud, heirs of the widow of the Parisian couturier Jacques Doucet (1853-1929). Their collections include works of art from the 18th to the 20th centuries.

Interior del museo Angladon.
  • Works by Pierre Dupuis, Jean-Baptiste Chardin, Joseph Vernet, Hubert Robert and Thomas Lawrence, drawings by François Boucher and Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier, furniture by Jacob, Tillard, Lelarge and various objets d’art.
  • Works by Eugène Carrière, Paul Cézanne, Honoré Daumier (Sancho Panza), Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, Vincent van Gogh, Rodo, Odilon Redon and Édouard Vuillard.
  • Works by artists from the avant-garde circles in which Doucet moved, such as Doucet fréquentait comme André Derain, Jean-Louis Forain, Léonard Foujita, Amedeo Modigliani and Pablo Picasso.
  • Medieval and Renaissance paintings, sculptures and furniture, which Angladon and his wife began to acquire in 1968 and which are displayed in two of the museum’s rooms.
  • A cabinet from the Far East, including historical porcelain from the 18th century, collected by Doucet

10- Granet Museum

Fachada del museo Granet en Francia.

The Musée Granet is a museum located in the Mazarin district of Aix-en-Provence, France, dedicated to painting, sculpture and archaeology. In 2011, the museum received 177,598 visitors.

The museum, adjacent to the church of Saint-Jean-de-Malte, opened in 1838 in buildings formerly belonging to the priory of Saint-Jean-de-Malte. It still shares a common garden with the church.

Colección de estatuas del museo Granet.

It has recently undergone major restoration and reorganization, ahead of the 2006 international exhibition to mark the centenary of Cézanne’s death

Due to lack of space, the large archaeological collection, which includes many recent discoveries, will be displayed in a new museum, still in the planning stage. The museum contains important paintings by Jean-Dominique Ingres (including the monumental “Jupiter and Thetis”), an authentic self-portrait by Rembrandt and works by Anthony van Dyck, Paul Cézanne, Alberto Giacometti and Nicolas de Staël.

Are you passionate about art, do you visit museums often, have you visited any museum in France? Tell us about your experience in the comments. Tell us about which museums you have visited, which works have caught your attention and whether you recommend visiting them or not

Do you know any French museum that is not on the list and you think it should be? Leave us a comment

If you want to know the most famous and important museums in the world, take a look at some of our articles

Antoni A

Antoni A

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