For this week's installment of #TravelTuesdays , I'm going to share a list of a few of my favorite museums in Paris, and no, I'm not going to tell you to go to the Louvre. Of course, if you're ever in Paris, you shouldn't miss the chance to see the incredible art collections at places like the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and the Grand Palais, but my point is you don't need me to tell you that. Some of my favorite museums in Paris are the smaller ones with more specific collections, where you get to see something more unique in a more intimate setting.
When I'm planning a trip, GoogleMaps is my very best friend, and especially when visiting a city as vast as Paris, I love to plan out days based all the things I can do while in one area of town. That's why for each of these museums, I'm going to give you a brief description, tell you what neighborhood (or arrondissement as they say), and what else you could explore in the area. Without further ado, let's get into it!
1: Musée de l'Orangerie
What you'll see: My absolute favorite thing about this small museum in the Jardin des Tuileries is it's Monet Water Lily room (pictured above). Pictures don't do justice to the feeling of standing in a massive oval shaped room surrounded by curved Monet paintings fitted to the walls. If you love impressionist painting like I do, you'll love this museum!
Where it is: 1st arrondissement
While you're in the neighborhood: The museum is right inside the Tuileries Garden, so spend some time walking through and enjoying that beautiful space! On the other side of the garden is the Louvre, so you can easily see two museums in one day. If it's a chilly day or if you're just in the mood for a treat, stop in the classic café, Angelina, for a cup of their world famous hot chocolate and a macaron.
2. Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris
What you'll see: Since you're getting this list from someone who studied abroad in Paris as a fashion design student, I had to include a couple of fashion museum recommendations. At this museum, you can take in the beautiful history of the Yves Saint Laurent line.
Where it is: the 16th arrondissement (pretty much on the border of the 16th and 8th)
While you're in the neighborhood: This museum fits in nicely with a big monument day. You can walk up the Champs Élysées, see the Arc de Triomphe, then head to the museum and finish up the day with dinner at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, where you can get the best steak frites dinner around, or if you still have energy, cross the Seine and see the Eiffel Tower too! You could also make a fashion museum day out of it and see the next one on this list...
3. Palais Galliera
What you'll see: The Palais Galliera is another fantastic fashion museum in Paris. They have a rotation of exhibits showcasing beautiful costumes from throughout history. As a couture fashion capital, Paris excels at reminding you of the intricate craft that goes into making clothes, and these exhibits will have you as captivated as any fine art museum would.
Where it is: the 16th arrondissement
While you're in the neighborhood: The Palais Galliera is very close to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, so you could couple it in with the suggestions above or split up the monuments across a couple days. If you're looking for a more relaxed day, I'd suggest picking up a sandwich or snack nearby and having a lunchtime walk along the river afterwards!
4. Musée Rodin
What you'll see: Auguste Rodin was a prolific French sculptor, and this beautifully landscaped sculpture garden is a wonderful way to see his work. His most famous piece, the Thinker, sits in the center as you walk through the path of hedges and rose bushes to see his other sculptures.
Where it is: the 7th arrondissement
While you're in the neighborhood: This one is easy because the 7th arrondissement was my home in Paris! I'd suggest brunch at Coutume, a nearby cafe with delicious tartines and specialty coffees, then walk down Rue de Babylone to the iconic department store, le Bon Marche. Adjacent to le Bon Marche is La Grande Epicerie de Paris, a gourmet grocery store where you can pick up a delicious lunch, and then you can walk just a bit further to Le Jardin du Luxembourg to have lunch in the park.
5. Fondation Louis Vuitton
What you'll see: First of all, this museum is a work of art in itself! The colors on the glass in my picture were part of a temporary installation by artist Daniel Buren, but the building is just as stunning without them. The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a modern and contemporary art museum (despite the name suggesting it might be another fashion museum) with an extensive collection and a stunning calendar of exhibits.
Where it is: the 16th arrondissement
While you're in the neighborhood: This museum is a bit off the beaten path to central Paris, so you might not be walking to and from nearby place. However, it's only a 5 minute cab ride from the Arc de Triomphe, so it might be a good idea to fit it in when you're seeing sights on that side of town! It may be slightly out of the way, but it's worth it to see.
So there's my list of 5 museums I love in Paris that aren't the Louvre. Paris is full of museums showcasing it's rich history of art and design, and it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to spend you time in during a visit. I hope this list introduced you to a museum you might not have heard about and helped you decide which ones appeal to your interests!