The best art galleries and museums in Paris

A local culture writer counts down the finest museums and art galleries in Paris, from undisputed institutions to hidden independents

Last updated: June 26, 2024
The best art galleries and museums in Paris | The historic Louvre photographed against its own reflection in glass.
The Louvre. Photography by Thomas Fatin

There is nothing quite like the diffusion of natural light that paints Paris’s canvas of Haussmann buildings. Museum and gallery goers will quickly discover that Paris is a work of art in itself. Expect to marvel at the Eiffel Tower before entering the Palais de Tokyo and to gaze at the Sacré-Cœur Basilica from the rooftop of Centre Pompidou.

Paris is a cultural world leader, with more than 200 museums spread across the city, ranging from the enormous collection of the Louvre, founded in 1793 during the French Revolution, to the privately-funded Bourse de Commerce-Pinault Collection, which opened in 2021. Countless artists have lived in the city over the centuries, from the Impressionists to the Cubists.

Navigating the Paris art scene

The Paris art scene continues to cultivate an allure. Major art foundations and acclaimed art fairs have helped invigorate the city’s artistic offering through an embrace of contemporary art, while an influx of young creatives and international galleries has brought with it more pluralistic art forms. Special mention goes to the autumn art fair line-up of Paris+ par Art Basel, Paris Internationale and AKAA, which demonstrates the dynamism and diversity of the Paris cultural scene.

Paris rewards those who master the art of planning. There is a synergy to be enjoyed while strolling between the galleries that populate the Marais district (made up of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements). Other enjoyable combinations include visiting art galleries in the 8th and 16th arrondissements as a primer for the Palais de Tokyo. While a full day is recommendable for the exhaustive collection and exhausting scale of the Louvre, a refreshing walk through the nearby Jardin des Tuileries may be enough rest for some to reawaken their senses at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Many cultural institutions also lie within walking distance of the best restaurants in Paris, and charming boutique hotels.

Here are the best art galleries and museums in Paris, from undisputed institutions to lesser known independents.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | An interior view of The Louvre with the glass pyramid visible.
The Louvre. Photography by Stijn te Strake

1st arrondissement

Louvre Museum

What: Ten football pitches worth of masterpieces and the iconic Mona Lisa
Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Price: 22 EUR. Free admission to the permanent collection on the first Sunday of every month

The former royal palace and now most visited museum is perhaps the ultimate cultural pilgrimage, home to one of the largest and finest collections in the world. It is estimated it would take 200 days to visit the Louvre in its entirety, on the basis of spending no more than thirty seconds on each piece. The congregation of crowds in front of the Mona Lisa or by the iconic glass pyramid outside leaves plentiful room for visitors to enjoy some of the museum’s 35,000 works of art and artefacts, which span millennia. Other exciting features include a collaboration between the Louvre and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where ten major works from the Met’s Near Eastern Antiquities collection are on display in the Louvre’s permanent galleries until September 2025, creating a unique dialogue between the two collections.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | Musée de l'Orangerie.
Musée de l'Orangerie. Photography by Camille Gharbi

Musée de l’Orangerie

What: Monet masterpieces nestled within the Jardin des Tuileries
Address: Jardin des Tuileries, 75001 Paris
Price: 12.50 EUR. Free admission to the permanent collection on the first Sunday of every month

Steps from the busy Place de la Concorde is a museum of unparalleled serenity. The former orangery for citrus trees turned sanctuary for impressionist and post-impressionist art stands opposite the Jeu de Paume photography museum in the Tuileries Garden. Natural light floods the galleries, illuminating the minimal oval rooms dedicated to exhibiting Claude Monet’s Water Lilies paintings. Visitors seem called to stillness, invited by the Monet masterpieces to intimately encounter the emotive expression of the eight compositions. The works were offered to the French State by Monet on the day after the Armistice of 11 November 1918 as a symbol for peace.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | The Bourse de Commerce with a flag designed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
The Bourse de Commerce flag, designed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

The Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection

What: A private collection of more than 10,000 contemporary artworks housed in Paris’ former stock exchange
Address: 2 Rue de Viarmes, 75001 Paris
Price: 14 EUR

The Bourse de Commerce is a former stock exchange transformed by arts patron and founder of French luxury group Kering, François Pinault, into a modern-day temple to contemporary art. The building’s crowning feature is its Rotunda, where an immense skylight frames 360-degree panorama paintings with a blue expanse of sky. The paintings illustrate the progression of modernity in France through trade and commerce with countries around the world. Open to emerging and established artists, the cultural programming at Bourse de Commerce features a regular rotation of temporary exhibitions in the galleries, as well as video and sound works in its studio downstairs.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | Inside Musée Picasso
Musée Picasso. Photo courtesy of Musée National Picasso-Paris

3rd arrondissement

Musée Picasso

What: Paris’ most popular single-artist museum
Address: 5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris
Price: 14 EUR; Free admission to the permanent collection on the first Sunday of every month

Centrally located in the vibrant Marais district, the opulent Musée Picasso showcases works from the prolific Spanish artist as well as the artists that he worked alongside. Amongst the collection’s 5,000 works, which span Picasso’s entire career, are landmark pieces such as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Guernica, and Portrait of Dora Maar. A collection of Picasso’s photographs and correspondence, as well as works by creative friends including Cézanne and Miró, offer visitors a sense of the spirit in which Picasso worked and lived.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | An installation view at the Marais location of Thaddaeus Ropac.
An installation view at the Marais location of Thaddaeus Ropac. Photography by Charles Duprat, courtesy Thaddaeus Ropac gallery

Thaddaeus Ropac

What: Four floors of international contemporary art in the Marais district and a former factory turned art gallery in Pantin
Address: 7 Rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris & 69 Av. du Général Leclerc, 93500 Pantin
Price: Free

Thaddaeus Ropac specialises in international contemporary art and represents some of today’s most influential contemporary artists such as South African painter Lisa Brice and German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer. Two of the gallery’s six locations are in Paris: one is set across four floors in the Marais, followed by a redeveloped 20th-century ironworks factory in Pantin, north-east of Paris’s city centre. The 5,000 sq m exhibition space in Pantin allows for presentations of large-scale works and installations by renowned artists such as Venezuela-born and London-based artist Alvaro Barrington. Ropac also publishes catalogues and books to accompany the gallery’s exhibitions.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | Views of Perrotin's Marais bookstore.
Views of Perrotin's Marais bookstore. Photography by Tanguy Beurdeley, courtesy of Perrotin


What: Cool contemporary art housed in an elegant hôtel particulier
Address: 76 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris
Price: Free

French gallery Perrotin has a reputation for recognising the next big thing in contemporary art, having championed creators such as Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Founder Emmanuel Perrotin opened the gallery’s first location in 1990 at the age of 21, and has since expanded the gallery’s reach to seven other cities across the world, including New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The grandeur of Perrotin’s flagship mansion on Rue de Turenne makes an interesting backdrop for the innovative contemporary art it exhibits. Visitors can reach Perrotin’s other Marais gallery space (10 Impasse Saint Claude) through a connecting door. The gallery’s bookshop is also noteworthy for catalogues, special editions and merchandise from Perrotin artists such as American contemporary sculptor Daniel Arsham and French photographer and street artist JR.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | Inside OFR Grande Galerie
Inside OFR Grande Galerie

OFR Grande Galerie

What: A cutting edge indie bookshop-gallery, which hosts regular exhibitions and events
Address: 1, Rue Eugene Spuller, 75003 Paris
Price: Free

OFR, the indie bookshop gallery in the Marais with a cult following, was opened by siblings Alexandre and Marie Thumerelle in the late 1990s. Since then, OFR has been drawing diverse creatives to its shop to peruse towering piles of books and magazines on art, architecture, photography, fashion and music. The bookshop’s in-house gallery has been regularly reconfigured to host exhibitions, events and performances. Its reputation for successfully showcasing emerging artists led to a standalone gallery opening near its store in 2024, which hosts a rotation of larger-scale exhibitions and events.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | A street view of AFIKARIS Gallery
A street view of AFIKARIS. Photography by Studio Vanssay


What: Emerging and established artists from Africa and its diaspora
Address: 7, Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth, 75003 Paris
Price: Free

AFIKARIS represents emerging and established artists from Africa and the diaspora. Its mission is to give international visibility to their work through exhibitions, art fairs and collaborations with cultural institutions. Cameroonian painter and sculptor Hervé Yamguen, whose work is increasingly known in West Africa, had his first major solo show in Europe at AFIKARIS. The gallery, which first launched online in 2018, has expanded significantly in recent years to offer a space for exchange on the African contemporary art scene. Visitors enter through a long courtyard to find the gallery’s main display room, a tour of which leads to its project room – a space dedicated to innovative and experimental projects. AFIKARIS has shown its artists at renowned art fairs such as 1-54 and Photo London.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | Centre Pompidou.
Centre Pompidou. Photography by Khamkeo Vilaysing

4th arrondissement

Centre Pompidou

What: The largest collection of modern art in Europe
Address: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris
Price: 15 EUR. Free admission to the permanent collection on the first Sunday of every month

When Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers designed the Pompidou in the 1960s, they turned the building inside out, choosing to expose its pipes, air ducts and escalators in vibrant colours on the museum’s facade. Beaubourg (as Pompidou is known to locals) displays the first collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe, including several Matisse paintings and Duchamp’s (in)famous Fountain sculpture, which turned the concept of art on its head in 1917. On the piazza of the Centre Pompidou is Atelier Brancusi, the reconstructed studio of Romanian sculptor and painter Constantin Brancusi, whose abstract sculptures and other oeuvres were bequeathed to the French state upon his death in 1957. Brancusi’s fascination with how art relates to space makes the studio an artistic statement in its own right.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | The facade of Lafayette Anticipations at night.
The facade of Lafayette Anticipations. Photography by Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti

Lafayette Anticipations

What: A public interest foundation dedicated to the visual and performing arts
Address: 9, Rue du Plâtre, 75004 Paris
Price: Free

The Galeries Lafayette corporate foundation refurbished a late 19th-century industrial building in the Marais, transforming it into a multidisciplinary arts centre. Its support of contemporary artists has included hosting London-based artist Issy Wood’s first solo exhibition in France. Wood has won appreciation not only for her figurative paintings’ rejection of certain power orders and dynamics, but also for her personal rejection of professional representation by many of the titans of culture who pursue her. Lafayette Anticipations has experimental flair: the Foundation’s residency programme À l’œuvre! acts as a catalyst for artistic production, providing artists with workshop space and custom tools dedicated to production, film editing, and publishing. Its dynamic public programming includes exhibitions, talks, concerts and performances. The on-site boutique sells catalogues produced by Lafayette Anticipations’ own publishing house in collaboration with the artists it hosts, as well as a selection of art and design objects.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | Inside Mendes Wood DM in the Marais.
Inside Mendes Wood DM in the Marais. Photography by Romain Darnaud, courtesy of Mendes Wood

Mendes Wood DM

What: Politically active and highly conceptual contemporary art
Address: 25, Pl. des Vosges, 75004 Paris
Price: Free

Founded in São Paulo, Mendes Wood DM has garnered acclaim for its promotion of critical conversation and the cross-pollination of ideas. The gallery embraces the individuality of each artist while highlighting intersections between practices that initially seem disparate. Its New York gallery famously opened in 2017 with a series of double exhibitions juxtaposing the historic and the contemporary, including an exhibition of sculptures by two iconic artists exploring mixed media: German neo-expressionist A.R. Penck and Brazilian contemporary artist Sonia Gomes. Mendes Wood DM opened its first gallery space in Paris in 2023, taking up residence at the Hôtel de l’Escalopier on Place des Vosges in the Marais. Visitors can stroll through the august arcades of the historic square while contemplating the gallery’s cutting-edge contemporary art.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | Inside Musée Rodin.
Inside Musée Rodin. Photography by Jérome Manoukian

7th arrondissement

Musée Rodin

What: Experience the measure of the illustrious French sculptor’s creativity
Address: 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
Price: 14 EUR. Free admission on the first Sunday of every month from October to March

Within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower is Musée Rodin, an 18th century mansion devoted to the work of the prolific French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Visitors can enjoy some of Rodin’s famous bronze sculptures such as The Thinker as they stroll throughout the verdant gardens. Inside, Rodin’s constant artistic evolution is exhibited across 18 rooms, which contain clay sketches and plaster casts, as well as sculptures that are illuminated by the ever changing light that spills through the large bay windows. The museum also showcases works by other renowned artists such as Van Gogh and Renoir, whose work Rodin passionately collected.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | An installation view at Galerie Lelong
An installation view at Galerie Lelong

8th arrondissement

Galerie Lelong

What: Leading contemporary artists and a space dedicated to original prints
Address: 13, Rue de Téhéran 75008 Paris
Price: Free

Galerie Lelong was founded in 1945 by Aimé Maeght, of the visionary couple that founded La Fondation Maeght in the South of France – the country’s very first private art institution. At its founding, Gallery Maeght presented modernist icons such as Joan Miró and Alexander Calder. After Maeght’s death in 1981, the gallery adopted its current name and has continued to represent influential artists, including Louise Bourgeois and David Hockney. Galerie Lelong also works closely with artists on the production of original prints and opened an additional space on Paris’ most coveted gallery hub, Avenue Matignon, in 2018.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | Palais de Tokyo
Palais de Tokyo

16th arrondissement

Palais de Tokyo

What: A pioneering centre for contemporary art across multiple mediums; Europe’s largest contemporary art exhibition space
Address: 13 Av. du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
Price: 12 EUR

Palais de Tokyo seeks to celebrate living artists across multiple disciplines, including painting, graffiti, sculpture, and performance art. Rather than housing a permanent collection, the Palais de Tokyo opts for a rotating schedule of exhibitions that focus on emerging artists and cutting-edge art. The museum’s stripped back concrete structure gives it a raw finish unlike the typical Paris museum layout. With 22,000 sq m of expansive exhibition space, the Palais de Tokyo can host site-specific installations, such as an obstructive and alluring sculpture by Burundi-born artist Serge Alain Nitegeka to explore the connections between architecture and politics. Palais de Tokyo’s cafe and gift shop merit a visit in between exhibitions.

The best art galleries and museums in Paris | Fondation Luis Vuitton.
Fondation Louis Vuitton. Photography by Barthelemy de Mazenod

Fondation Louis Vuitton

What: A Frank Gehry-designed hub of blockbuster contemporary art exhibits
Address: 8 Av. du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris
Price: 16 EUR

Foundation Louis Vuitton is a contemporary art museum located in the scenic Bois de Boulogne. The unique architecture of the building, designed by Frank Gehry to evoke a ship’s sails, has become a landmark in the city’s 16th arrondissement. The museum boasts an impressive collection of contemporary art, including works by famous artists such as Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, and Takashi Murakami. The foundation’s temporary exhibitions showcase renowned collections such as the Shchukin Collection as well as individual icons such as Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. Amongst the building’s many breathtaking spaces is its Auditorium, which hosts musical performances ranging from orchestra to jazz throughout the year.