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10 Best Museums in France

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Musée d’Orsay on the Seine River in Paris, France

Musée d’Orsay on the Seine River in Paris, France

France is home to some of the world’s most notable museums, and any trip to France should include a visit. 

With over 1,200 galleries tucked across the country, every exhibit offers a new perspective of the country and its history, heritage, and culture. Whether focusing on Greek statues or Impressionist masters, gigantic paintings or ancient tapestries, France’s must-see museums display an indelible grandeur and should find a place on any trip itinerary.

1. Louvre Museum, Paris

The Louvre in Paris, France

The Louvre in Paris, France

With a history of French kings and global masterpieces, the Louvre Museum is one of the world’s most notable galleries. A treasure trove of some of Western Civilization’s most famous masterpieces, and collections of the Mediterranean’s most important artifacts, you can travel the world and venture through time. There is much to explore and take in across the museum’s 785,765 square feet of exhibition spaces with 70 rooms brimming over with paintings, sculptures, and artistic artifacts.

2. Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France

Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France

Focused on fabulous works of art from the 19th and 20th centuries, the Musee d’Orsay embodies the Belle Epoque down to the artistic design of the gallery itself. A haven for Impressionist artists and masterful works presented in chronological order, you can follow the progression of artistic aesthetic through the ages as creative perception transitioned between movements captured in pieces by the likes of Monet, Renoir, van Gogh, and Cezanne.

3. Centre Pompidou, Paris

Centre Pompidou in Paris, France

Centre Pompidou in Paris, France

The modern aesthetic of the Centre Pompidou contrasts the Paris most find familiar as the stunning collection of steel and glass create an original design. The extensive collection possesses more than 100,000 works of modern and contemporary works from the 20th and 21st centuries displayed in chronological order. From Kandinsky to Picasso, Braque to Warhol, you can find exceptional diversity housed under the umbrella of modern art and accentuated by the fantastic views over the city.

4. Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, Normandy

Tapestry depicting the Norman invasion of England in the 11th century

Tapestry depicting the Norman invasion of England in the 11th century

The town of Bayeux reflects a remarkable history captured in the renowned Bayeux Tapestry displayed in the Musee de la Tapisserie de Bayeux. The museum gallery highlights the infamous history of the region embroidered into the masterful medieval artwork using ten different shades of yarn and dating back to the 11th century. When the museum is coupled with Baueux’s Old Town, you can find an enchanting reflection of preserved history in half-timbered houses and elegant mansions.

5. Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi

Palais de la Berbe ang gardens in Albi, France

Palais de la Berbe ang gardens in Albi, France

The Palais de la Berbie from the early Middle Ages houses the elaborate reflection of the Belle Epoch with the Musee Toulouse-Lautrec, the most extensive collection of works by the famous artist outside of Paris. As you explore the galleries, you can find a timeline of the artist’s development as he transitioned from one aesthetic to portraits and poster works. Each piece demonstrates a wry and playful humor until plunging into the Parisian underworld of the era while showcasing distinctive technique and perspective.

6. Musée Ingres, the Dordogne

Ingres Museum in Montauban, France

Ingres Museum in Montauban, France

The Musée Ingres in the Dordogne shines through the 17th-century bishops’ palace featuring works of classicists admired by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. With more than 4,000 drawings and paintings, the galleries capture the spirit of a fine-arts museum and the preferred aesthetic of the neoclassical painter and violinist who collected the works over his life. From Ingres’s own key works to the likes of Tintoretto and Van Dyck, the extensive collection offers a refined perspective on art in the Dordogne.

7. Musée Historique Lorraine, Nancy

Instead of a broader history of France or works brought from around the world, the Musée Historique Lorraine is one of the best reflections of the province. The galleries bring to life the past and reveal why history remains relevant in contemporary life. With a collection that features 16th-century engravings, masterpieces by local artists, antique furniture, and exhibits on Jewish history in eastern France, Musée Historique Lorraine is hyper-local and yet incredibly extensive.

8. Palace of Versailles, Versailles

Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles

Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles

As one of France’s most famous and glamorous palaces, the Baroque chateau immerses you in elegance and opulence that spans 2,300 rooms and gardens that overtake more than 1,976 acres. From roaming the landscape to view the foundation and waterfalls to strolling through the gilded reflections in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles is an exceptional representation of the historic pomp and prestige of French aristocracy in which you can indulge during a private tour or planned picnic.

9. Matisse Museum, Le Cateau-Cambrésis

Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France

Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France

The Matisse Museum sits on a secluded hill within a Genoese villa that remarks on the glamour and heritage of the region touching the Cote d’Azur and the Italian border. The extensive collection of Matisse’s works create a diverse ensemble of paintings, sculptures, and sketches demonstrating the artist’s distinctive methods and creative genius. The charming setting, connection to the celebrated coastline, and featured cultural exhibits and art workshops create a formidable heritage center instead of simply a museum gallery.

10. The Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse, Lille

l’Hospice Comtesse in Lille, France

l’Hospice Comtesse in Lille, France

The Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse creates a dramatic image in Old Town Lille. The museum grounds spread through the wings built between the 15th and 18th centuries with each new corner sharing a piece of local history, from an old hospital ward to a convent. The collection of tapestries, sculptures, and Flemish porcelains add to the enticing preserved history of Lille. While small, the museum’s collections speak loudly by demonstrating a tangible sense of Lille’s past and how it informed the present.

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D'day Memorial on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France

D'day Memorial on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France

A France tour unveils the beauty of the past and the unforgettable style of contemporary culture. Masterpieces of art and architecture create an unforgettable ambiance from the beaches of Normandy to lavender fields of Provence. A France travel specialist can personalize your trip with experiences tailored to your preferences, from visiting celebrated museums with a private guide to sampling renowned wineries, You can find inspiration for your vacation with our France Travel Guide and speak with a France travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling 1-888-265-9707.

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