10 Must-Visit Art Galleries in Paris, France

The Louvre tops any list of must-see art galleries in Paris. It could take a whole year to soak in all of the collections and pieces, but just seeing Mona Lisa's smile is an experience truly second to none.
The Louvre tops any list of must-see art galleries in Paris. It could take a whole year to soak in all of the collections and pieces, but just seeing Mona Lisa's smile is an experience truly second to none.

If you're looking to experience some of the most renowned works of art in the Western world, look no further than Paris. In addition to such architectural marvels as the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles, visitors can marvel at the astounding collections of the city's many museums. Ignite your imagination at one or more of these 10 must-visit galleries in Paris.

1. The Louvre Museum

Arguably the most comprehensive art museum in the world, the Louvre features thousands of classic pieces. Admire the sly smile of the Mona Lisa and stand in awe of Géricault's Raft of the Medusa. The Louvre is a true monument of European art, so it could take days to see all of its magnificent exhibits.

2. Musée d'Orsay

Situated in an old railway station on the Left Bank of the Seine River, the Musée d'Orsay houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in the world. Walk among such greats as Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Degas. Leave with images of Van Gogh's Starry Night transfixed in your mind.

3. Musée Marmottan Monet

Originally the hunting lodge for the Duke of Valmy, this museum houses the world's largest collection of Monet pieces, as well as an extensive collection of Napoleonic-era art — a collection which, along with the lodge itself, was bequeathed to the Académie des Beaux-Arts (Academy of Fine Arts) by the Marmottan family.

4. Musée National d'Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou

Let the Centre Pompidou's exterior architecture, comprised of brightly colored tubes and pipes, set the stage for this refreshing infusion of modern art. Warhol, Kandinsky, Miró, and Picasso are all represented in this museum's collection. Few art galleries in Paris rival the Pompidou's style and collection of modern art.

5. Le Petit Palais

This museum, which houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts, exhibits a wide variety of collections such as the Dutuit collection of medieval and Renaissance paintings and the Tuck collection of 18th-century furniture — as well as an impressive variety of paintings. The building is a stunning work in itself, having been built for the 1900 Universal Exposition.

6. Musée National du Moyen Âge

Formerly the Cluny Museum, the history of the building alone is enough to spark interest. Originally used as a town house for the abbots of Cluny beginning in 1334, the building now houses a striking collection of medieval art. The chance to admire the The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry series makes this museum well worth a visit.

7. Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

This municipal museum is dedicated to the collection of modern and contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries, with a special focus on European painters from that time period. Come get lost in the worlds of modern artists such as Matisse, Modigliani, and Paik.

8. Musée Rodin

Dedicated to the life's work of one of the world's most prolific sculptors, Auguste Rodin, this museum features sculptures in outdoor garden spaces, as well in the lovely grand rooms of the Hôtel Biron. Stroll about the museum and spend time musing on such sculptures as The Thinker, The Kiss, Adam, and Eve.

9. Les Arts Décoratifs

Located in the west wing of the Louvre, this museum of decorative arts is worth a mention among the galleries of Paris for its unique collection of altarpieces, religious paintings, wallpaper, furniture, and toys.

10. Espace Dalí

Dedicated to the life's work of surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, this museum is located in the heart of Montmartre. The museum features original engravings and sculptures of the most famous of surrealist artists.

Any one of these galleries in Paris will fascinate and move you as you discover the artistic history of the West. A European cruise could be a perfect way to take your love for art to the next level.