Visiting the Museums of Paris
Art, archaeology, history, literature... Paris has some of the world's finest museums, with museums to suit almost any interest. Find out how to make the most of them using discount tickets, passes and vouchers and accessibility for the disabled...
There are various museum passes allowing discounted or preferential entry into a museum.
Museums are usually closed on Monday or Tuesday, also 1 January and 1 May. It's recommended to check museum closing dates before validating museum passes, as passes cannot be returned for a refund once purchased.
The permanent collections of French national museums and monuments - including the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou and Versailles do not charge admission to European residents under the age of 26, or to grammar and high school teachers working in France (proof of age and residence is required).
Many museums and monuments are free for the under 18s, and offer reduced rates to 18 to 25 year olds.
Paris Museum Pass
The Paris Museum Pass allows entry to over 60 museums and monuments in the Paris area. It does not include entry to temporary exhibits or guided tours. Passes cannot be returned or exchanged, even in the event of unscheduled museum closure or strikes.
Valid for 2, 4 or 6 days, the pass can be used for multiple entries and is generally a good buy if visiting three or more museums a day. A distinct advantage of the pass is that holders may by-pass ticket-purchase queues at museums and enter directly.
The pass can be bought ahead of time. Before the first museum visit using the pass, write the user's full name and the date on the back of the pass. Present the pass at museum checkpoints.
Paris Museum passes may be bought online through FNAC (a delivery charge applies) or at locations throughout the Paris region.
- For a list of sales outlets: Click here
Paris Visite pass
The Paris Visite pass is a transit pass that also includes discounts to some museums, other attractions and some sightseeing tours. The pass is good for the entire Ile-de-France transport network (including RER, Metro, busses, trams, the Montmartre funicular, Montmartobus and SNCF overland suburban trains).
Two choices of pass are available: a pass for Zones 1 to 3; and a pass for Zones 1 to 6. Passes are valid for 1, 2, 3 or 5 day periods. One day is from 05:30 to 01:00 the next day, not a 24-hour period. The day is based on the transport system's operating hours.
- For the RATP Transport zone map: Click here and select "Zone map" from the menu options
- For Paris Visite pass prices: Click here
Paris Visite passes are sold at Metro, RER and bus stations, SNCF suburban train stations, Paris Tourist Offices, Paris airports and travel agents abroad. The pass can be bought ahead of time. After purchase, fill in the card with the user's name, write the serial number from the card on the coupon and enter the start date. The card and accompanying coupon must be kept together and must be produced for inspection on request.
Some Paris Museums
Musée de l'Armée/Les Invalides
The Army Museum is located in the Les Invalides complex. The complex is also home to the Hôtel des Invalides, which was built in 1671 to house disabled veterans. The Musée de l'Armée is considered one of the greatest military history museums in the world, featuring ancient weapons, armour, artillery and art (including children's toys). The tomb of Napoleon is also located there.
- Musée de l'Armee
At: Hôtel National des Invalides, 129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
Tel: 08 10 11 33 99
Hours: April to September, 10:00-19:00; October to March, 10:00-17:00; open until 21:00 on Tuesdays (last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed the first Monday of the month (except July-September), 1 May, 1 November, 1 January and 25 December.
Metro: (8) Latour-Maubourg, Invalides, (13) Varenne, Saint-Francois-Xavier
Bus: 28, 63, 69, 80, 82, 87, 92, 93, Balabus
RER: C (Invalides)
Disabled visitors and uniformed servicemen and women are entitled to free admission. The museum is accessible to mobility-restricted visitors, though the North and South entrances may be difficult to manoeuvre and should be avoided (129 Rue de Grenelle and Place Vauban, respectively).
Built in 1977, the Centre Pompidou was created from a dream former president Georges Pompidou had for a modern and contemporary art complex in Paris. The complex is the home of the Musée National d'Art Moderne, a reference library, music research centre, educational facilities and performance halls. The Musée National d'Art Moderne is considered by many to be the greatest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. The building is distinctive as the architects designed it to appear "inside out" in order to allow the public to better understand how a building functions. Lifts, escalators and colour-coded pipes are located on the outside of the west façade of the building as are structural supports.
- Centre Pompidou
At: Place Georges Pompidou, Rue Saint-Martin (4th Arrondisement)
Hours: 11:00-21:00. Closed Tuesdays and 1 May (last entry at 20:00)
Metro: (11) Rambuteau, (1, 11) Hôtel de Ville, (1, 4, 7, 11, 14) Châtelet
Bus: 21, 29, 38, 47, 58, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 76, 81, 85, 96
RER: A, B, D (Châtelet/Les Halles)
Museum and exhibition tickets can be purchased and printed online or at FNAC or Reseau Tickenet ticket outlets. Tickets for the date of purchase can be bought at the Centre Pompidou from the ticket counter at Level 0 (Forum) or from ticket machines at Levels 0 and 6 (payment by credit card only). Tickets for performances at the Centre Pompidou are sold at FNAC and the Centre's performance ticket office on Level -01.
The Centre Pompidou is accessible to mobility-impaired people. Disabled parking is available on Rue Beaubourg and on Levels 2 and 3 in the Halles underground parking garage. To avoid the slope of the piazza, it is recommended that disabled visitors use the personnel entrance at the corner of Rue de Renard and Rue Saint-Merri (a disability card may need to be presented).
When thinking of Paris museums, the Louvre is generally the first to come to mind. Built in 1190 as a fortress for King Philippe-Auguste, the museum holds one of the most important art collections in the world and also offers film, concerts, lectures and thematic programs throughout the year. Its collection includes works created until 1948.
- Musée du Louvre
Tel: 01 40 20 53 17 / 01 40 20 55 00
Hours: 09:00-18:00 Wednesday to Monday (until 22:00 on Wednesday and Friday nights). Closed Tuesdays.
Metro: Palais Royal, Musée du Louvre
Bus: 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81
Not all collections are open daily. Special programs, such as artist workshops are available on Fridays.
- For more details on opening hours and exhibit closures: Click here
Entrance to the museum is free on the first Sunday of the month as well as on Bastille Day (14 July) and is always free on Fridays for those aged 18 to 26.
- For admission prices: Click here
Louvre Ticket: Ticket queues at the entry desks can be avoided by buying entry tickets at certain RER and Metro stations. Holders of a Louvre ticket should use the Passage Richelieu or the Carrousel Gallery to enter the building.
- For a list of stations at which a Louvre ticket can be purchased: Click here
The Musée d'Orsay is housed opposite the Tuileries across the Seine in the former Orsay railroad station. The collection consists of works from 1848 to 1914 (picking up in history where the Louvre leaves off) and includes pieces by Bonnard and Courbet as well as from many of the great Impressionists such as Manet, Monet and Renoir.
- Musée d'Orsay
Tel: 01 40 49 48 14
Hours: 09:30-18:00; 09:30-21:45 on Thursdays. Closed Mondays
Bus: 24, 68, 69
RER: C (Musée d'Orsay)
Visitors without a ticket must use entrance A to the museum (nearest the Seine), while ticketholders and members may use entrance C on the right of the building to avoid queuing.
The Musée d'Orsay is accessible to mobility-impaired people and disabled parking is available near the museum.
- For a map of spaces is available: Click here
- For more information on access points to the museum: Click here
Musée d'Orsay - Musée Rodin Passport: Purchase of this pass allows the holder to visit both the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée Rodin in the same day for a discounted price.
The Rodin Museum houses work by sculptor Auguste Rodin, as well as his own personal collection of works by other artists. A special collection of the works of Rodin's apprentice and lover, Camille Claudel are also housed in the mansion and costs extra to visit. The museum is located in an 18th century mansion and includes an impressive sculpture garden. Entry to the garden is not included in the entry fee, but is nominal.
- Musée Rodin
At: 79 Rue de Varenne (postal address: 19 Blvd des Invalides), 75007 Paris
Tel: 01 44 18 61 10
Hours: April to September, 09:30-17:45 (last entry at 17:15; garden closes at 18:45); October to March, 09:30-16:45 (last entry at 16:15; garden closes at 17:00). Closed Mondays.
Metro: (13) Varenne, Invalides or Saint-Francois-Xavier
Bus: 69, 82, 87, 92
RER: C (Invalides)
Entry to the permanent collection and garden is free on the first Sunday of the month. The Paris Museum pass allows entry to the Rodin Museum. A slightly-discounted family rate is available for two adults and their children under 18-years old.
Tours are available for the disabled. Contact the Cultural Department at the museum from 09:30-12:00 for reservations.
- Cultural Department, Musée Rodin
Tel: 01 44 18 61 24
Fax: 01 44 18 61 89
Within a week of purchase, holders of a ticket to the Musée d'Orsay can present their ticket stub for reduced admission fees to the Gustave Moreau National Museum and an unguided entrance to the Palais Garnier (Paris National Opera).