Museums with free entry in Paris

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musées gratuits de la ville de paris
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Museums of art and history, extraordinary edifices, mansions belonging to famous artists and writers…

Paris boasts fourteen museums that bear witness to the capital’s rich cultural heritage and what’s more, entry to their permanent collections is completely free, all year round.

Esprit de France has picked four of them for you to visit.

Paris Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art houses a huge collection of over 9000 works of art. All the major artistic currents of the 20th century are well represented, including fauvism, cubism, abstraction and conceptual art. Also prominent are the major artists, including Braque, Léger, Picasso and Modigliani, to name but a few. Inaugurated in 1961 in one wing of the Tokyo Palace, its exhibition areas are simply awesome. If that wasn’t enough to warrant your visit, pop over to the other wing of the Tokyo Palace and marvel at the workshop of contemporary creations.

Musée d’Art Moderne
11, avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16
Metro: Iéna
Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  
Late opening on Thursday : until 10 p.m.

Petit Palais, Paris Museum of Fine Art

Erected for the Exposition Universelle in 1900, the Petit Palais, designed by the architect, Charles Girault, is itself a work of art worthy of visiting in its own right. Since 1902, the Petit Palais has been home to the Museum of Fine Art of Paris. There you will be mesmerized by its extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, pieces of furniture and objets d’art dating back from ancient times to 1914.

Petit Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 8
Metro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau
Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
Late on Friday until 7 p.m. 

The Carnavalet Museum

The Carnavalet Museum was created to promote the history of Paris and its inhabitants, from its deepest origins to the present day.

Its approximately one hundred rooms showcase a vast collection of works of art, souvenirs and models providing a snapshot of the capital at different moments in time and evoking its every day and intellectual life. Its magnificently restored period interiors afford a beguiling backdrop to your journey through the centuries – inspiring! As you enter the building, look out for the city’s coat of Arms; a white boat floating on rough waters topped with gold fleurs-de-lys and bearing the Latin inscription, “Fluctuat nect mergitur” (Tossed but not sunk), a reference to the city’s maritime past and trade along its River Seine.

Musée Carnavalet
23, rue de Sévigné, Paris 3
Metro: Saint-Paul Chemin Vert
Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.

Victor Hugo Mansion

Set aside at least one hour to visit the apartment where the famous writer and titan of French literature lived between the ages of 30 and 46, before going into exile in Jersey and Guernsey. From the hallway to his bedroom, not to forget his drawing rooms and study, the tour takes you on an interesting, poignant chronological journey of his life.  

There is also a guided tour of the premises (Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.).

Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée
6, place des Vosges, Paris 4
Metro: Bastille
Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
Access to the temporay exhibitions is not free.  
Reservations for guided tour: +33.(0)

The city of Paris is home to many more treasures, including the Cernushi Museum near Monceau Park, the Museum of Romantic Life (9th arrondissement), the Bourdelle Museum (15th arrondissement) and the Balzac Mansion (16th arrondissement), to name but a few, the entrance to all of which is also free.

For more information consult the website of museums with free entry in Paris.