10 Best Museums of Paris

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You can’t see everything in Paris in a single visit. This guide to the Top 10 Best Museums of Paris will help you plan your next visit.

I adore Paris. On my most recent visit, I shared some of that love with my granddaughter. We were there for a week, and I still returned home thinking of places I regretted missing on our trip. There is always next time! But that got me thinking about what you really must see in Paris. Of course, no visit to Paris is complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower and visiting the Louvre, but there is so much more to this magical city. For me, the museums hold a special place in my heart.

Note: The image above is of The Conciergerie, a medieval royal palace that was the final home of Marie Antoinette while she was imprisoned during the French Revolution. The Conciergerie is now a museum highlighting the French Revolution. I took the photo while walking along the Seine.

Imagine my thrill when I discovered a new book by Anne Carminati and James Wesolowski entitled 111 Museums in Paris That You Shouldn’t Miss. Now I need to return and visit the ones I’ve never seen!

111 Museums in Paris That You Shouldn’t Miss

The book is an excellent resource for planning your trip. It briefly describes each museum, its address, the best way to reach it using public transportation, hours of operation, website, and a helpful tip.

I reached out to Carminati and Wesolowski to get their take on the top 10 best museums of Paris. Read on for their curated list, which includes some of the most famous museums in Paris and a few unsung heroes.

Note: All photos are courtesy 111 Museums in Paris That You Shouldn’t Miss unless otherwise noted.

1. Arts & Industry Museum

The Arts & Industry Museum is a very cool museum for gearheads, engineers, and anyone who loves engines, science, and technology innovation. The showpiece is an airplane designed around the body of a bat. But the unsung hero here is the enormous Fardier de Cugnot, the first self-propelled (steam-powered) military transport vehicle built in 1769!

Fardier de Cugnot, the first self-propelled (steam-powered) military transport vehicle, is displayed at the Arts and Industry Museum.

2. City of Architecture

Tourists rarely visit the City of Architecture, an incredible museum filled with the architectural patrimony of France through plaster casts of church and building façades.

City of Architecture and Patrimony tells the story of France through its architecture.

Curie Museum

The Curie Museum is the laboratory, office, and private garden of two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie and her daughter and son-in-law, who also won the prize. You can see the machines they used for their experiments, Marie’s lab coat, and her garden, where you’ll find the rose named after her. It’s small and very intimate (and right behind it is the Museum of Mathematics, which just opened and is geared towards kids 10-12 years old).

Curie Museum.

City of Music

The City of Music is a beautiful museum filled with instruments from around the world and through the ages. It has the only known guitar made by Stradivarius, the 12-foot-tall Octobass, and Chopin’s last piano. The museum also offers concerts where musicians play historic instruments. It’s a great place for kids.

Chopin’s last piano is on display at the Museum of Music.

Eyeglass Museum

By appointment only at the luxurious Meyrowitz Optical Boutique, the Eyeglasses Museum is a tiny space filled with eyeglass frames made from all sorts of materials. You can also find early goggles for drivers and pilots and even the glass used to make lenses for the artist Gustav Rodin when he developed cataracts and needed the blue lenses so he could see true colors again.

Gustav Rodin’s eyeglasses are on display at the Eyeglasses Museum.

Hunting and Nature Museum

The Hunting and Nature Museum is in a beautiful mansion. It is a cabinet of curiosities. You’ll find works of art, taxidermy animals, and hunting arms that are works of art in and of themselves.

Hunting & Nature Museum. The painting is Saint Eustace by Lucas Cranach. Photo courtesy David Giancatarina, LePhotographedArt.com

Montmartre Museum

I think the Montmartre Museum is one of the best museums in France. There, you’ll really see how the art crowd lived in the apartment of the artists Suzanne Valadon, Maurice Utrillo, and André Utter. There are also exhibits about the legendary nightlife in Montmartre in the late 1800s. The garden is beautiful, and right behind the museum is the famous Montrmartre vineyard!

Montmartre Museum.


A small and surprising museum about language, Mundolingua is full of interactive games, including a giant Scrabble game. It covers every language from around the world and through time, including Native American languages, and it has an actual Enigma machine, a rare sight.


Liberation of Paris

Liberation of Paris reopened in 2019 in a new building where the French Resistance had its headquarters during the week of the liberation from German occupation in August 1944. This is one of the free museums in Paris, and there’s also a free “mixed reality” tour of the tunnels where the Resistance leaders worked. The photo is a dress made by a French woman during the occupation. She wore it for the celebrations in the street on Liberation Day.

Museum of the Liberation of Paris. Photo by Pierre Antoine / Paris Musées / Musée de la Liberation de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin

Phono Museum

The Phono Museum doesn’t look like much from the street, but it’s a wonderland of music and innovation inside. You’ll find hundreds of phonographs that brought music to the masses, including huge dancehall models. They also have an actual Edison phonograph. And the best part? They all work! The docent will gladly play music on pretty much any machine you like.

Phono Museum Paris.

More Suggestions for Museums of Paris You Must Visit

If you make it through the top 10 museums, Carminati and Wesolowski have a few more suggestions for some of the unique museums in Paris:

Hotel de La Marine: Newly reopened, this palace was the “storage space” for the furnishings at Versailles. Imagine the splendors here!
The Pianault Collection at the Bourse de Commerce: The private collection of François Pinault in the former Stock Exchange building.
The Rodin Meudon Museum includes Rodin’s home and gravesite. It’s a bit of a hike, but it’s wonderful. The museum is closed during the winter months.
Museum of Smoking: A private collection in the back rooms of a head shop, this place is full of smoking history, including ad campaigns, ashtrays, and even a peace pipe from North America. The small bathroom is covered in photos of famous people smoking.
Victor Hugo House: Also newly renovated, this apartment contains elements of several of the author’s homes and the bed in which he died. You’ll find art related to his great works, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

About the Book Authors

The two authors, Anne Carminati and James Wesolowski, joined forces to create this informative volume about these Paris museums.

Anne Carminati

Anne Carminati is a self-described free spirit. A native Parisian, her greatest passions are art and design. She attended art schools in Paris and New York. Now, she is an interior designer for Maison Anne Carminati, based in Paris and New York.

Author Anne Carminati. Photo courtesy William Bibet

James Wesolowski

James Wesolowski fell in love with Paris when he first visited as a young man. After university, he lived and worked throughout the world and then settled in New York City, where he runs a technology consulting firm. James splits his time between New York and Paris, where he pursues interests in museums, French wine and cuisine, photography, and running marathons.

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When You Visit Paris Museums

There are so many fabulous museums in Paris. This is an excellent resource for helping you find the most well-known museums, like the Louvre and Rodin Museums, as well as the smaller and more unique museums. These cover everything from eyeglasses and perfume to economics, the military, and magic. We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more things to see and do when you visit Paris.


10 Best Museums of Paris