Visiting Museums in the French Alps

Information on open days, discount passes and must-see museums of Grenoble, Chambery and the towns and villages of the French Alp region...

There are plenty of provincial museums in the area covering art, archaeology, local history, crafts, and cultural heritage. Opening hours can vary (many are still closed between 12:00 and 14:00) and are best checked with the local tourist office.

Some local museums are free of charge and other larger national museums often have special days when admission is free – usually the first Sunday of each month. There are also special events during March and April when over 800 museums throughout France open free of charge. Also, the third weekend in September France traditionally celebrates its heritage and many museums put on special events or open free of charge at this time.

Museum Passes

Grenoble has a City Pass for visitors, which is available from April to the end of September. It is valid for four days and for a fixed price it includes a cable car ride, a trip on the petit train touristique as well as one guided tour of the historic city centre and entry to the Musée des Automates. It also entitles the holder to numerous other reductions.

Some of the more popular museums and monuments are listed below.

Isère (38)

Grenoble

Musée de Grenoble: One of France's most prestigious museums housing a wide collection of modern and contemporary works as well as many works of art by French, Flemish, Dutch, Italian and Spanish artists from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Highlights include the Saint-Grégoire by Rubens and Saint-Jérôme by Georges de la Tour. The museum also has an impressive collection of 20th century art with works by Picasso, Matisse, Miró, Bonnard and many others.

  • Musée de Grenoble
    At
    : 5 place de Lavalette, 38000 Grenoble
    Open: every day except Tuesday, 10:00-18:30

Musée Dauphinois: Regional heritage museum housed in a 17th century convent and devoted to the history of Alpine life, arts and crafts.

  • Musée Dauphinois
    At
    : 30 rue Maurice Gignoux, 38000 Grenoble
    Tel: 04 76 85 19 01
    Open: every day except Tuesday from 10:00-18:00 (1 October to 31 May) and 10:00-19:00 (1 June to 30 September)

La Correrie

Musée de la Grande Chartreuse: In the Chartreuse Regional Park is the Monastery, which for over 900 years has been the home to the Chartreuse monks. The museum has audio guides in English where visitors will learn about the monks through their history and how they live today in silence and solitude. The museum is only open between April and October (access via the icy roads in winter is difficult).

  • Musée de la Grande Chartreuse - La Correrie
    At: St Pierre de Chartreuse (38)
    Tel: 04 76 88 60 45
    email

Savoie (73)

Aix-les-Bains

Musée Faure: Collection of paintings, mostly impressionist, bequeathed to the town by a former resident, Dr Faure. The collection includes pastels and bronzes by Dégas as well as watercolours and sculptures by Rodin. Impressionist paintings include works of art by Cézanne, Boudin and Renoir.

  • Musée Faure
    At
    : 10 Boulevard des Côtes, 73103 Aix-les-Bains
    Tel: 04 79 61 06 57
    Fax: 04 79 88 27 48
    Open: every day except Tuesday from 10:00-12:00 and 13:30-18:00

Chambery

Musée des Beaux Arts: Featuring a collection of works from the 14th to the 20th century, this museum is situated in the former grain market. Artists include van Dornicke, Anton von Worms, Joos van Cleve, Paolo Uccello and Langlois

  • Musée des Beaux Arts
    At
    : Place du Palais-de-Justice, 73000 Chambéry
    Tel: 04 79 33 75 03
    Fax: 04 79 85 20 37
    Open: every day except Tuesday from 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-18:00

Haute Savoie (74)

Annecy

Musée Château d'Annecy:  This 13th century château houses the regional observatory for the Alpine Lakes and exhibits artwork on the themes of ecology, archaeology and the surrounding lakes. It is also home of the regional observatory.

  • Musée Château d'Annecy
    At
    : Place du Chateau, Annecy
    Tel: 04 50 33 87 30

Conservatoire d'Art et d'Histoire: Gallery presenting 17th and 18th century works and engravings and contemporary art work by artists from the region. It also houses the departmental archives.

  • Conservatoire d'Art et d'Histoire
    At:
    18 avenue de Trésum, Annecy
    Tel: 04 50 51 02 33 / 04 50 51 87 00

Chamonix

Le Musée Alpin (website in French): Housed in the old Chamonix Palace, the museum documents the previous two centuries of skiing and the history of the valley in a collection of maps, prints and other installations.

  • Le Musée Alpin
    At:
    89 avenue Michel Croz, Chamonix
    Tel: 04 50 53 25 93 
    Fax: 04 50 53 96 14
    Open: Daily 14:00-19:00. School holidays open 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-19:00

Hautes-Alpes (05)

Gap

Musée Départemental de Gap: Large traditional museum housing archaeological collections and items from the Queyras valley, also Roman and Greek finds. Botanical, natural history and science exhibitions for the region, folkloric items, local traditional costumes and tools and a collection of military uniforms and weapons. Exhibits include textiles and ceramics.

  • Musée Départemental de Gap
    At:
    6 avenue du Maréchal Foch, La Pépinière, Gap
    Tel : 04 92 51 01 58
    Open: 1 July to 15 September 10:00-12:00 and 14:30-18:30. 16 September to 30 June daily except Tuesday 14:00-17:00.