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Paris is certainly a city full of museums. In fact, there are a whopping 140+ museums here! While many people are very familiar with the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, it is well worth visiting the best small museums in Paris too!
After several visits to Paris over the years, I found myself in the City of Lights for a full week this past spring and decided to check out both small art museums in Paris as well as other places. I’ll be honest, I’ve been to the bigger attractions in Paris, and after exploring the smaller, tucked-away museums in the city, I can honestly say they are my favorite.
For starters, there were far fewer people in the smaller museums in Paris! You can actually enjoy reading the information signs on the walls without being in someone else’s way, and you can really take your time without being pushed around to see something (I’m looking at you, Mona Lisa!).
Also, many of these museums are located inside former artists’ homes, meaning you may get to see what they lived like back in their time as well as get a glimpse of some stunning gardens!
17 Best Small Museums in Paris
Here is a quick list of the best small museums in Paris:
- Museum of Fairground Arts
- Musee National Eugene Delacroix
- Musee Gustave Moreau
- La Galerie Dior
- Carnavalet Museum
- Petit Palais
- 59 Rivoli
- Musee de l’Orangerie
- Maison de Victor Hugo
- Dali Paris
- Musee Rodin
- Musee Jacquemart-Andre
- Musee de la Vie Romantique
- Montmartre Museum
- Musee Curie
- CLUNY Museum
- Musee Bourdelle
For more information about these museums and what to expect, keep reading below!
Best Smaller Museums in Paris
Whether you’re searching for some free museums in Paris or tiny art museums, these are the best small museums in Paris you’ll want to visit.
1. Museum of Fairground Arts (Les Pavillons de Bercy – Musée des Arts Forains)
53 Av. des Terroirs de France, 75012 Paris
Whether you’re visiting Paris with children or you’re a kid at heart, you’ll fall quickly in love with the Museum of Fairground Arts.
Located in Bercy, which is a bit far from the city center, this Paris museum is dedicated to fairground objects from 1850-1950. The best part is that it is an interactive museum where you get to dance to old fair-time music, see an Italian-based opera put on by mannequins, and even ride the rides!
There are a few lovely carousels you get to ride on, including a vintage bicycle carousel powered by the riders pedaling! Also amongst the things to do is the chance to play an old fairground game.
I went here on my last visit and was seriously impressed. I had a blast there playing games, riding rides, and learning about these artifacts from yesteryear.
One thing to note, however, is that this is a private museum, and you can only visit by booking a tour in advance. I will also note that the regular tour is in French, and they sometimes offer English tours.
Museum of Fairground Arts Hours: By reservation only.
Admission Fee: €18.80 for adults, €14.80 for persons with disabilities, €12.80 for children 4-11, and free for children under 4.
Location: Bercy, 12th Arrondissement
2. Musee National Eugene Delacroix
6 Rue de Furstemberg, 75006 Paris
The artist behind the famous Louvre painting Liberty Leading the People has his own museum in Paris. Eugene Delacroix was a French Romantic painter, and you can visit his former apartment from 1857-1863.
The apartment also leads out to a lovely garden and studio. This tucked-away museum along the gorgeous Place de Furstenberg is pretty small but full of Delacroix’s great works. You can also relax in the garden, which feels like a little oasis in the heart of the city.
Musee National Eugene Delacroix Hours: Open from Wednesday to Monday from 9:30 am-5:30 pm. Open until 9 pm the first Thursday of the month.
Admission Fee: €7 and free for certain parties. Free if you have the Paris Museum Pass.
Location: Saint-Germain-des-Pres, 6th Arrondissement
3. Musee Gustave Moreau
14 Rue Catherine de la Rochefoucauld, 75009 Paris
Likely one of the more Instagramable museums in Paris, the Musee Gustave Moreau is known for its iconic spiral staircase.
But more than that, Gustave Moreau was a French Symbolism painter, with famous works displayed in The Met in NYC, Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre in Paris, and even in the Art Institute of Chicago.
For the bulk of his iconic pieces, though, you’ll want to head to the Musee Gustave Moreau. Here you’ll be able to spot works like Prometheus, Andromeda, and The Peacock Complaining to Juno.
At the museum itself, you can view Gustave Moreau’s apartment, and then the top 2 floors are dedicated to his workshops and art. It is well worth it to visit and far less crowded than the larger museums in Paris.
Musee Gustave Moreau Hours: Open daily except for Tuesday from 10 am-6 pm.
Admission Fee: Full rate is €7, €5 for select groups, and free for children under 18, EU citizens under 26, and free for everyone on the first Sunday of every month.
Location: Pigalle, 9th Arrondissement
4. La Galerie Dior
11 Rue François 1er, 75008 Paris
Are you a fashion lover? Look no further than La Galerie Dior when searching for the best small museums in Paris!
With an incredible scenographic narrative, you can discover the history of this iconic fashion house, as well as enjoy sketches, looks, and exceptional pieces from Dior’s collections.
If you’re a fan of Dior, and French fashion in general, this is a must-visit museum in Paris!
La Galerie Dior Hours: Open daily except Tuesday from 11 am-7 pm.
Admission Fee: Adults is €12, Under 26, students, and teachers are €8, and free for children under 10 and select parties.
Location: Champs-Elysees, 8th Arrondissement
5. Carnavalet Museum (Musée Carnavalet)
23 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris
There are some truly magnificent small art museums in Paris, but did you know that there are some epic history museums as well?
The Carnavalet Museum is actually a museum dedicated to the history of the city of Paris! It is located within two mansions: Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau.
Within this museum, you’ll find information, art, and artifacts dating back from prehistoric times and the Gallo-Roman times (when Paris was then called Lutetia) all the way up to the Middle Ages, Renaissance, French Revolution, and even stuff about the Belle Epoque, the Lost Generation, and today.
This is a fantastic museum to get a better understanding of the sheer length of this city’s history. Even the entrance is delightful with many old shop signs hanging above as you walk inside.
Carnavalet Museum Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am-6 pm.
Admission Fee: Permanent collections are free to visit! Guided tours start at €5.
Location: Le Marais, 4th Arrondissement
6. Petit Palais
Av. Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris
I’m sure you’re well aware of the many famous art museums in Paris, but did you know that Paris has its own Fine Arts Museum that isn’t the Louvre?
The Petit Palais was built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle and now houses the Museum of Fine Arts in Paris.
With art dating back from Antiquity to the early 1900s, there are a lot of paintings, sculptures, and more by famous artists such as Degas, Cezanne, Gauguin, Eugene Delacroix, Monet, Rembrandt, and more!
The best part is that you’ll be able to enjoy the lovely art without the crowds, or the cost, of the larger museums in Paris. Plus, there is a stunning garden in the center of the building.
The permanent collection here is free to visit!
Petit Palais Hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am-6 pm. It is open until 8 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Admission: Permanent collection is free. For the temporary exhibitions, it is €15 for full price, and €13 for the reduced price.
Location: Champs-Elysees, 8th Arrondissment
7. 59 Rivoli
59 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
For a fun small museum in Paris, definitely head to 59 Rivoli. This place was a former artist squat until 2006 when it became a venue for exhibitions, events, and more!
Now this place holds 30 artist studios, of which 15 are permanent studios and 15 are for temporary artists in residency. This means that you’ll see something new pretty much every time you visit as residencies are usually only 3-6 months long.
They also host musical events every Saturday and Sunday at 6 pm from September to June. If you’re searching for more contemporary art and a free art museum in Paris, this is a great place to visit!
59 Rivoli Hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 1-8 pm.
Admission: Free to the public.
Location: Louvre Neighborhood, 1st Arrondissement
8. Musee de l’Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries, 75001 Paris
While the Louvre is Paris’s most famous art museum, did you know that you can cross the Tuileries to a smaller museum that far fewer people visit with some really iconic pieces?
This smaller museum takes less than 90 minutes to enjoy and is well known for its giant Monet Water Lily paintings. These large concave paintings decorate the walls in 2 oval-shaped rooms at Musee de l’Orangerie.
And once you’ve admired those on the ground floor, you can head downstairs to the basement to see more art from the collections of Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume. These feature pieces from Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, and more!
It is a truly fun museum to visit, especially if you’re short on time in Paris!
Musee de l’Orangerie Hours: Open Wednesday-Monday from 9 am-6 pm.
Admission: €12.50 for full price, €10 for select parties, and free for select parties such as EU residents under 26 and children under 18. It is free to visit on the first Sunday of the month, but you must make a reservation in advance during the high season.
Location: Louvre Neighborhood, 1st Arrondissement
9. Maison de Victor Hugo
6 Pl. des Vosges, 75004 Paris
Located by the ever-charming Place de Vosges, this museum is dedicated to the famous French romantic writer and politician.
This small museum in Paris is located where Victor Hugo lived from 1832-1848. You’ve likely heard of this famous writer if you’re a fan of Les Miserables or The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
His home is a really nice place to visit, especially as it has over 50,000 works of art ranging from paintings to photographs.
It is also a lot of fun just to walk around his elaborately decored apartment!
Maison de Victor Hugo Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am-6 pm.
Admission: Free for the permanent collection. Temporary exhibitions start at €5.
Location: Le Marais, 4th Arrondissement
10. Dali Paris
11 Rue Poulbot, 75018 Paris
This is the largest private collection of Salvador Dali art in France. With over 300 works of art, comprising mostly of sculptures and engravings, you can admire the surrealist art from the famous artist in the heart of the Montmartre neighborhood.
The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions from other artists, and it is just an overall really unique place to visit in an otherwise pretty crowded part of the city.
Dali Paris Hours: Open daily from 10 am-6 pm.
Admission: €14 for adults, reduced prices of €12 and €10 for select parties, and free for children under 8. €3 for an audio guide.
Location: Montmartre, 18th Arrondissement
11. Musee Rodin
77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
For those who love sculptures and sculpture gardens, then you’ll love the Musee Rodin.
This tucked-away place is a great way to get away from the crowds at more popular museums, and it has a lovely sculpture garden that is serene with flowers blooming and ducks swimming in the little sculpture pond.
Inside the museum itself, you’ll also find magnificent pieces by Rodin, and while you’re there, you cannot miss the famous The Thinker statue.
Musee Rodin Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am-6:30 pm. The sculpture garden closes at nightfall depending on the time of year.
Admission: €13 for full price, and free for everyone on the first Sunday of every month from October until March and certain parties.
Location: Les Invalides, 7th Arrondissement
12. Musee Jacquemart-Andre
158 Bd Haussmann, 75008 Paris
What was once the former home of Edouard Andre and Nelie Jacquemart is now a museum featuring the massive collection they accumulated during their lives.
Edouard Andre was a wealthy man who loved purchasing art and Nelie Jacquemart was a society painter. Together, they lived in an elaborate home full of artworks by famed artists such as Jacques-Louis David, Botticelli, Rembrandt, and more!
Plus, this is a great place for tea, as it is known for having one of the most beautiful tea rooms in Paris. Located in their former dining room, this is a lovely place to enjoy a light lunch or pastry.
Musee Jacquemart-Andre Hours: Open daily from 10 am-6 pm. Open until 8:30 pm on Monday during exhibition periods.
Admission: €12 for the permanent collection and €17 for both the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Reduced prices apply to certain parties.
Location: Champs Elysees, 8th Arrondissement
13. Musee de la Vie Romantique (Museum of the Romantic Life)
16 Rue Chaptal, 75009 Paris
This charming museum was once the former home of Dutch-French painter Ary Scheffer. This artist hosted many famous artists and intellectuals at his home, including Georges Sand, Charles Dickens, Frederick Chopin, and more.
The museum has since restored his former home and it is now dedicated to works of art from George Sand, Ary Scheffer, and other renowned artists of his time.
Aside from the lovely museum, there is a charming outdoor tea room and garden to enjoy on a nice day.
Musee de la Vie Romantique Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am-6 pm.
Admission: The permanent collection is free for everyone to visit. Prices vary for temporary exhibitions.
Location: Pigalle, 9th Arrondissement
14. Montmartre Museum
12 Rue Cortot, 75018 Paris
Learn all about the history of the iconic Montmartre neighborhood at the Montmartre Museum. Built in the 17th century, this place was the home and studio of many artists in the past, including Auguste Renoir, Suzanne Valadon, Émile Bernard, and more.
At the museum, you can visit the recreated workshop and apartment of Suzanne Valadon, the gardens of Renoir, and see the permanent collections displaying the history of Montmartre, including its famed cabaret past.
It is also home to Paris’s only working Vineyard!
Montmartre Museum Hours: Open daily from 10 am-7 pm.
Admission: €15 for the full admission during the exhibition period. Prices vary for select parties. Free for children under 10.
Location: Montmartre, 18th Arrondissement
15. Musee Curie
1 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris
Those who love science will love this museum. Dedicated to radiological research, this museum is located in the former laboratory of Marie Curie.
Today it shares exhibits on radioactivity and how it is used, especially in medicine. They also provide guided tours in French and English, which must be booked in advance.
Learn more about this famous science family, who is known for being awarded 5 Nobel Prizes, as well as learn more about their work. The museum also has temporary exhibitions occasionally.
Musee Curie Hours: Open Wednesday-Saturday from 1-5 pm. Closed during August.
Location: Pantheon, 5th Arrondissement
16. CLUNY Museum (National Museum of the Middle Ages)
28 Rue du Sommerard, 75005 Paris
Okay, maybe I’m a big nerd, but I absolutely loved this museum on my last visit. For starters, it wasn’t crowded at all, which is always a bonus!
But this place has several works of art throughout the Middle Ages including intricate altarpieces, the absolutely stunning tapestries called The Lady and Her Unicorn which were just epic, and artifacts from daily life in the Middle Ages.
I really enjoyed it, especially as most of the time, you really learn about the Renaissance onwards when it comes to contributions to art and daily life. But the Middle Ages was much more advanced than the stereotypical “Dark Ages” story.
Oh, and it is even located in a Medieval building! And the museum even has ancient Gallo-Roman baths. It is really cool to visit this museum both from an architectural standpoint as well as for the art.
CLUNY Museum Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am-6:15 pm.
Admission: €12 for full admission, €10 for certain parties, including 18-25-year-olds from outside the EU, and free for everyone on the first Sunday of the month, people under 18, EU members under 26, and other parties.
Location: 5th Arrondissement
17. Musee Bourdelle
18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015 Paris
Another former studio turned into a museum, this was the former studio of French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle.
This place provides a fantastic idea of what ateliers, or workshops, looked like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This museum has over 500 works of art including bronze, plaster, and marble sculptures, photographs, paintings, and graphic art from the artist himself as well as from his personal collection.
Musee Boudelle Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am-6 pm.
Admission: Permanent collection is free to visit.
Location: Montparnasse, 15th Arrondissement
These are the 17 best small museums in Paris that you’ll definitely want to visit. With many famous artists and works of art as well as key historical items, you’ll love visiting these places without the crowds of the larger Paris museums.
Which museum would you most like to visit?
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