Museums of Paris
by: Connor Gribbon
Say it’s your first time in Europe and you decide to take a weekend trip to Paris (because similar to London & Rome, Paris is one of those must-visit cities) (after all, you’ve spent enough time “paying attention” in history class to know that these three have some a lot to offer). Anyhow, you’ve got 48 hours in Paris and naturally you spend the first 24 hours discovering the differences between a bistro and a brasserie, a croissant and a kouign-amann and debating whether Pierre Herme is better than Laduree (it isn’t by the way). Having experienced your first Parisienne food coma, it’s time to hit the museums. Here are the must-see museums in Paris when you’re on a time crunch:
Musee D’Orsay: Located in a former railway station on Paris’ left bank, the Musee D’Orsay features an impressive collection of Impressionist art (no pun intended). There’s Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, etc… Snap a picture of the oversized clock on the museum’s top floor before you go.
Centre Pompidou: The Centre Pompidou is arguably the ugliest building in Paris. The artwork inside, on the other hand, is not. Take in the city and Eiffel Tower views on the escalator ride up and then take in one of Europe’s largest modern art collection on the way down…
The Louvre: The Louvre is massive, daunting, yet beautiful at the same time. There’s some crazy statistic that says if one were to look at each piece of art in The Louvre for 30 seconds it would take just about 100 days. So if you’re going to try and squeeze all of that art into 1 hour, plan ahead. Not sure how to narrow the list? Just make sure to see Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Liberty Leading the People. Save the rest for your next visit.
L’Orangerie: The L’Orangerie is an impressionist art gem located in the Tuileries. The museum is petite so you can enjoy everything within an hour. You can’t miss Claude Monet’s “Water Lillies” when you visit. Seriously, they dominate the entirety of the main floor so it would be impressive/concerning to go and miss them.
Fondation Louis Vuitton: Frank Gehry at his finest. Foundation Louis Vuitton has got to be one of my favorite spots in Paris. Not only is the architecture extraordinary, but the artists they display are nothing short of spectacular. Heads up: Foundation Louis Vuitton is located outside of the Peripherique (that road that encompasses Paris) so plan your commute accordingly.
The museums in Paris typically close around 6 so best of luck with “five museums to hit before 6.” If you’re up for the challenge, assuming you get an early start, spend an hour at each museum and are taking a leisurely lunch at Cafe St. Regis (following your visit to Centre Pompidou and before your visit to The Louvre), you should be able to check off all five! Good luck and don’t forget your sensible footwear.