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Museums in France

France is world famous for its museums and the French state invests heavily in them. Visiting museums and galleries is a very popular pastime and the French population is typically rather more versed in the Humanities than those in many other countries. Of course, most of the major globally-known museums, such as the Louvre and the Orsay are in Paris along with dozens of others. Not all are high-brow though and you can also explore the mediaeval crypts of Notre Dame or the Museum of Cinema. Outside the capital, most of the major cities will also have several museums and even the smaller towns will usually have their own too. Entry to museums is sometimes free or in other cases a typically modest charge is made. In Paris, queuing for entry to some of the major museums is commonplace at the height of the tourist season though the Withlocals tours will ensure you know when to go to avoid some of those and get the best deal tickets. In Paris and some other cities, the security searching of hand luggage is now commonplace and it may be a mandatory requirement to check-in and deposit larger items such as rucksacks.

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Top 10 French Museums France

  • The Louvre. Perhaps the most famous and the most visited museum in the world. With over 300,000 paintings as well as other art forms on display.
  • Musée d’Orsay. If you visited the Louvre and were disappointed at the lack of impressionist and post-impressionist works by the likes of Cezanne, Degas and Renoir don’t despair, they’re all here in this former Parisian railway station.
  • Picasso Museum. This museum is dedicated solely to the works of Picasso apart from some of his own collection of works by others. There are over 5,000 examples of his work including ceramics and sculptures.
  • Museum of Natural History. This museum is actually part of the Sorbonne University and has the dual aims of research and the dissemination of knowledge.
  • Army Museum. This museum in the National Hôtel des Invalides houses the third largest collection of old weapons and armor in the world and of course, much relating to Napoleon I and his Empire.
  • Pompidou Centre. A breathtaking example of modern architecture with an external skeleton of colored pipes, this Paris museum has an amazing assortment of exhibits and also houses a theatre and a library.
  • The Museum of Tokyo houses collections of modern and more radical art.
  • The National Museum of the Middle Ages (Hôtel de Cluny) houses one of the best medieval art collections in the world.
  • Rodin Museum. For sculpture fans, this is the place. Works including The Thinker and The Kiss are on display in two separate locations in the Hôtel Biron in central Paris and at Meudon – his old home.
  • Carnavalet Museum. If you are interested in the history of France and particularly Paris then this museum (housed in 2 renaissance mansions) holds all the answers. There are over 100 rooms covering the history of the city.

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3 Particularly good museums France

  • The Museum of Tokyo is an exciting space housing contemporary and modern art. There are no permanent collections here but rather constantly changing exhibitions of all types of art. There are restaurants and bookshops as well as special exhibitions and workshops for children. It’s open from lunchtime until midnight.
  • Museum of Natural History. This 14 site museum is also a great research and education establishment. It comprises a gallery of Geology and Minerology, Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy a menagerie and a herbarium with over 8,000,000 plant species - not to mention 3 zoos and 3 botanical parks.
  • The Louvre. This museum is about so much more than the Mona Lisa and to enjoy it properly you should spend some time planning your visit because you won’t be able to see everything in one visit. There are the outside gardens at the Tuileries and Carousel gardens also form part of the Museum and are well worth a visit.