Famous museums in France worth a visit (2023)

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No visit to France is complete without a visit to a museum or two, and luckily, France has no shortage of them! Let’s get into some famous museums in France that are worth a visit. Whether you’re in Paris or another part of the country, there’s something you’re sure to love.

Must-visit famous museums in Paris

This is just the tip of the iceberg, so let this be your starting off point for museums in Paris and beyond!

Famous museums in France worth a visit (1)

Musée d’Orsay
Location: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris, 75007

Some of the world’s most famous paintings can be found in Paris’ Musée d’Orsay, which has been welcoming art lovers for over 35 years.

The train-station-turned-museum exhibits artwork that dates from 1848 to 1914. Many of the collections include, but are not limited to, creations by France’s most famous Impressionist and post-Impressionist painters including Monet, Gauguin, Manet, Degas, and Renoir.

The three-floor museum is a joy to walk through and even includes some original features from when it was built back in 1900 for the fifth Universal Exposition. During the 1960s, it became a movie set for Orson Welles’ adapted film The Trial.

Famous museums in France worth a visit (2)

Louvre Museum
Location: Rue de Rivoli, Paris, 75001

There are two ways to enjoy the Louvre Museum, which is the world’s largest museum and arguably the most famous museum in Paris. The first is to admire the 35,000+ pieces of art and sculptures within it and the second is to appreciate the architecture that houses said art from the outside. I say, why not do both?

A noteworthy part of the building that you have to take a moment or two to enjoy is the foundation, which was built in medieval times and later modified into a luxurious palace. The photo-worthy 675-glass paned pyramid entrance, designed by Leoh Ming Pei and opened in 1989, is a must see.

The most popular masterpieces that make up one of the world’s richest collections of art and artifacts, which are not to be missed include:

–The Mona Lisa painted by DaVinci in 1503
–The Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese in 1563
–Venus de Milo aka Aphrodite sculpted sometime around 100BC

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Be sure to leave yourself enough time to see what you came for. The Louvre is nearly 800,000 square feet in area! If you only have one day in Paris, be sure to make it to the Louvre.

Museums in France worth a visit (not in Paris):

Omaha Beach Memorial Museum

Famous museums in France worth a visit (3)

Location: Avenue de la Libération, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, 14710

The 15,000-square-foot Omaha Beach Memorial Museum and surrounding cemetery is a stop all Americans should make when they visit Normandy. Located right on Omaha Beach where the Americans landed on June 6, 1944, the museum was founded in memory of all the men who gave their lives in 1944.

Inside you’ll find a collection of uniforms, vehicles, personal objects, weapons, photos, and more giving you insight into the lives of all those who landed on Omaha Beach. You’ll also learn the story of the D-Day landing through a film featuring veterans’ testimonies of what they experienced at Omaha Beach and Point du Hoc. Omaha Beach is hauntingly somber but beautiful. Not to be missed!

Musée Cinéma and Miniature

Famous museums in France worth a visit (4)

Credit: www.shutterstock.com/Kollawat Somsri

Location: Maison des Avocats, 60 rue Saint Jean, 69005, Lyon

This unique museum is perfect for fans of modern cinema. Simply put, it is a fascinating and highly entertaining experience to see your favorite films from a new perspective.

The Miniature and Cinema Museum brings together the passions of Dan Ohlmann, a woodworker artisan who specializes in miniatures. The museum is home to 25 years’ worth of his intricate and detailed work.

Highlights include tiny setups of interiors and exteriors of famous Persian restaurants, traditional homes, theaters and cute stores. Also, you’ll discover props, prosthetics, and more from your favorite Hollywood movies like Alien, Back to the Future, Mrs. Doubtfire,and Jurassic Park.

The Cap Garonne Mine

(Video) Musée d'Orsay is the Best Museum to Visit in Paris

Famous museums in France worth a visit (5)

Credit: www.shutterstock.com/bensliman hassan

Location: 1000 Chemin du Baou Rouge, Le Pradet, 83220

The Cap Garonne Mine is recognized as one of the top five most beautiful mineralogical sites in the world and its story dates back to 1857. While interesting, its past has been rather unsuccessful despite the efforts of many people. It wasn’t until the three local communities: Le Pradet, La Garde, and Carqueiranne teamed up for the purpose of preserving this stunning piece of French landscape that it truly began to flourish.

The mine and museum have been open to the public since 1994. Today, guests can hike the trails of Cap Garonne, in the South of France, which offer breathtaking panoramic vistas of the Iles d’Hyères and Toulon, as well as exploring the copper caves and discovering its rocky past. (pun intended 😉) It’s a great place to hike as well if you want to get in some exercise.

Travel tip: It gets chilly down in the mine, so be sure to have a jacket on hand.

Musée 1900

Location: Chemin du Moulin, Arpaillargues, 30700

The Museum 1900 celebrates the transport, toys and technology of the 20th century. Exploring the eight themed rooms of this museum is fun, memorable, and educational. The family-owned museum holds a collection of more than 3,700 objects used in daily life, some of which may be familiar. You’ll find toys, bicycles, radios, games, and so much more.

The goal of the museum is to “save our national heritage for future generations.” So, you can expect to spark joy as you adventure around the 1500-square-meter museum and relive some fond childhood memories.

Musée Portuaire

Famous museums in France worth a visit (6)

Credit: www.shutterstock.com/jan kranendonk

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Location: 9 Quai de la Citadelle, Dunkirk, 59140

You’ll need a solid chunk of time to explore Musée Portuaire aka The Dunkirk Harbour Museum, as it includes three ships and a lighthouse, in addition to several exhibits. The museum itself, located in an old tobacco warehouse, contains magnificent artwork, models, videos, and artifacts to tell the story of the famous port, which dates back four centuries. Many exhibits portray the lives of local dockers, mariners, and fishermen.

Museum highlights definitely including boarding the ships:

–The three master Duchess Anne (1901) was a training ship that sailed to the coasts of Africa and South America. Exploring the ships takes you back in time and provides a strong sense of what the sailors’ living conditions were like.

–The Lightship Sandettié (1949) was a motionless ship that guided other ships into the Dunkirk harbor by warning them of its dangerous sandbanks with the use of a horn and lights. It was also used for reporting weather conditions.

–The Barge Guilde (late 20th century) now educates all that board about the inland waterways that were built to improve transportation over the course of the 20th century.

Renoir Museum

Famous museums in France worth a visit (7)

Credit: www.shutterstock.com/Kiev.Victor

Location: Chemin des Collettes, Cagnes-sur-Mer, 06800

It’s true that you can see the masterpieces of French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir in art galleries in Paris, but for true art fans, seeing his work in his home — now the Renoir Museum — is an extra special way to get to know his art and the man behind it.

Renoir lived on the peaceful estate, overlooking the Cape of Antibes, for the final part of his life. As well as walking in his footsteps, you’ll be able to view and admire 15 original paintings and various sculptures around the gorgeous house and property.

Cité du Vin

Famous museums in France worth a visit (8)

Credit: www.shutterstock.com/Elena Pominova

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Location: Esplanade de Pontac, 134 quai de Bacalan, Bordeaux, 33300

If wine is more your style, I’ve saved the best for last! In addition to complimentary wine tastings, the Cité du Vin is a magnificent hub to immerse yourself in all things wine. We visited a couple of years ago and the museum, built in 2016, is modern and diverse in its exhibits.

Even if you aren’t a wine drinker, it’s still worthwhile to go just to learn about wine, its history, and everything that goes into making it.

Upon visiting, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Explore the depths of the history of wine
  • Discover how the principles of growing and cultivating grapes has changed through time
  • Learn about the flavors and scents of wine, as well as pairings
  • Don’t miss a visit to the roof, as it has a spectacular view of the city of Bordeaux. That’s worth a trip in and of itself! Don’t forget to grab a glass of wine while there.

    ***

What’s your favorite museum in France? Have you visited any of the famous French museums I’ve listed here? There are so many to discover!

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FAQs

What's the name of a very famous museum in French? ›

1. The Louvre Museum. The Louvre is the world's largest museum in France with some of the most impressive art collections from history. It is a palace museum that sits along the banks of the Seine River in Paris.

What is the most visited museum in France? ›

The Three Most-Visited Museums
  • Louvre Museum. Opened at the end of the eighteenth century, the Louvre is the country's most renowned museum and one of the most visited in the world.
  • Musée d'Orsay. The Musée d'Orsay houses a stunning art collection from between 1848 and 1914. ...
  • Centre Pompidou.

What is the name of the famous art museum in France? ›

Louvre, in full Louvre Museum or French Musée du Louvre, official name Great Louvre or French Grand Louvre, national museum and art gallery of France, housed in part of a large palace in Paris that was built on the right-bank site of the 12th-century fortress of Philip Augustus.

Is France known for museums? ›

Only 63 museums in France welcomed between 100,000 and 1 million visitors. France's first museum – the Louvre – is also the world's largest and most visited museum.

Which French city has the best museums? ›

Best museum in Paris – the Louvre

As well as one of the best museums in France, the Louvre ranks as the country's largest and most popular. Visitor figures run well into nine million every year as tourists from round the world crowd the galleries to see some of the world's most famous artworks.

Which museum is the most visited? ›

The top 20 most visited museums in the world
  • 1 The Louvre – Paris, France. ...
  • 2 National Museum of China – Beijing, China. ...
  • 3 Vatican Museums – Vatican City. ...
  • 4 The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, USA. ...
  • 5 British Museum – London, UK. ...
  • 6 Tate Modern – London, UK. ...
  • 7 The National Gallery – London, UK.

What city has the most visited museum in the world? ›

Paris France

Whats the biggest museum in Paris? ›

The Louvre is the largest museum on Earth boasting more than 380,000 works of art in a gallery that is 652,300 square feet (60,600 square meters). It's considered by many historians to be the greatest collection of art on Earth and, without a doubt, the top museum in Paris.

What is Paris famous for? ›

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is known worldwide for the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame cathedral, and the Eiffel tower. It has a reputation of being a romantic and cultural city. The city is also known for its high-quality gastronomy and the terraces of its cafés.

Are Paris museums free? ›

A number of Parisian museums offer access to free to all of their permanent collection. Finally, some museums are simply free, always and for all, but be aware that on free days, there may be a few more people than usual. If your goal is to visit a museum with few people, prefer the days of night in the museums.

Is Louvre worth visiting? ›

Is a Louvre Museum Tour Worth It? Short Answer: Yes, if you have a great guide and a small group, your visit will be that much better. Here are a few reasons why going with the right tour will elevate your experience and make it more memorable.

What are 5 interesting facts about France? ›

Fun Facts About France
  • France Is the Most-Visited Country in the World.
  • France Is Smaller Than Texas.
  • France Has the Largest Art Museum.
  • The French Eat 25,000 Tons of Snails Each Year.
  • France Produces Over 1,500 Types of Cheese.
  • Supermarkets in France Can't Throw Away Food.
  • France Had a King – That Lasted Only 20 Minutes.
20 Aug 2022

What famous art museums visit Paris? ›

The Louvre

While a lot of its 10 million annual visitors make a bee-line for a certain famous lady – hello Mona Lisa – there are more than 35,000 works of art and artefacts to see once you've got the side-eye from da Vinci's most famous creation.

Does France have the largest art museum in the world? ›

The largest art museum in terms of total area is the Louvre in Paris, France, which covers 360,000 m² (3,875,000 sq ft) on the Right Bank of the River Seine.

What is important French culture? ›

Equality and unity are important to the French. The French also value style and sophistication, and they take pride in the beauty and artistry of their country. Family is also highly valued in French culture. Mealtimes are often shared with family, and extended-family gatherings and meals are common over the weekend.

How many museums are in Paris? ›

There are around 130 museums in Paris, France, within city limits.

Who is the most famous French painter? ›

Born on the 14th of November, 1840, Oscar-Claude Monet is to be considered one of the most famous French painters of all time, and is considered the founder and father of Impressionism.

What is the capital in France? ›

How do you pronounce Louvre? ›

How to Pronounce Louvre? (CORRECTLY) - YouTube

What is Latin museum? ›

From Latin mūsēum (“library, study”), from Ancient Greek Μουσεῖον (Mouseîon), shrine of the Muses (Μοῦσα (Moûsa)).

How do you say museum in other languages? ›

In other languages museum
  1. American English: museum /myuˈziəm/
  2. Arabic: مِتْحَفٌ
  3. Brazilian Portuguese: museu.
  4. Chinese: 博物馆
  5. Croatian: muzej.
  6. Czech: muzeum.
  7. Danish: museum.
  8. Dutch: museum.

How is Eiffel pronounced? ›

How to Pronounce Eiffel - YouTube

How do u pronounce Paris? ›

How to Say Paris in French? Pronunciation Tutorial - YouTube

Is the Mona Lisa in the Louvre? ›

The world's most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, needs a space big enough to welcome its many admirers. It is therefore housed in the Louvre's largest room, the Salle des États, which is also home to other remarkable Venetian paintings such as The Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese.

What are the 5 different types of museums? ›

In this article, museums are classified into five basic types—general, natural history and natural science, science and technology, history, and art.

What was the first museum? ›

The world's first public museum, the Ashmolean in Oxford, is celebrating a new permanent gallery called the 'Ashmolean Story' which opens today.

What's the biggest museum in the world? ›

The Louvre, Paris

By size, The Louvre, in Paris, France is the largest museum on Earth, with nearly 73,000 square metres of exhibition space. By reputation, it's also one of the best and holds works from antiquity to the 19th Century, including the world-famous Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa.

Can I see Mona Lisa today? ›

Mona Lisa is in the 'Paintings' section, in the Denon wing of the Louvre. To see Mona Lisa, you must head to Room 711, 1st floor, Denon Wing. Since Denon Wing has some of the most famous Louvre Museum exhibits, it attracts most tourists.

Is the Mona Lisa smiling? ›

An international team of researchers examined the symmetry of the subject's lips and the muscles in her upper face to conclude that the woman in Leonardo da Vinci's famed 16th century Renaissance portrait probably wasn't smiling in a happy sort of way, as the most recent interpretations of the painting have suggested.

Is it free to see the Mona Lisa? ›

Admission is free for visitors, aged under 18, and the 18-25 year-old residents of the European Economic Area, so don't forget to bring your ID!

How can I say museum? ›

How to Pronounce Museum - YouTube

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