MOST FAMOUS MUSEUM ATTRACTIONS IN FRANCE
France bears witness to a wide range of ancient and contemporary iconic masterpieces. This includes art, natural history, military, cultural and technology collections. It is home to famous artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Claude Monet. Additionally, numerous historical and modern designers and architects are natives of the country. There are must-see art and history collections.
French leaders and the state have invested heavily in museums. The country has a large number of world-famous museums numbering well over a thousand. Visiting them is a popular weekend pastime for the French. Most of the best museums are in Paris with well over a hundred of them in the capital. There are also hidden gems that dot various locations outside the capital worth a visit.
Let us look at some of the top museum attractions in France.
1. The Louvre, Paris
The world’s largest museum attracts the highest number of visitors. It sits on a massive complex housing more than six hundred thousand square feet. It is packed with notable historical works of art as well as a rich history. Numerous kings lived in the vast royal palace until the late seventeenth century. It features French renaissance architecture. It has undergone several renovations adding a contemporary feel. There are over four hundred distinct rooms with over 300,000 iconic treasures on display. These include classical sculptures, antiquities and paintings and even Egyptian mummies.
2. Musée du Quai Branly, Paris
It is one of the newest and wildly popular museums in Paris. It opened in 2006 and doubles up as a research center in honor of the French scientist and inventor Édouard Branly. It consists of tribal arts from around the world including America, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Africa and Asia. Some of the treasures here are also displayed at the Louvre Museum. It is close to the Eiffel Tower. You will find hundreds of thousands of paintings, photographs, documents, clothing as well as musical instruments.
3. Musée d’Orsay, Paris
This is one of the biggest art museums in the country and Europe. It holds massive national collections of impressionist works of genius and world-famous artists such as Van Gogh. It is regarded as the third most popular museum in France. It initially served as a railway station. It was renovated into a museum and opened its doors in 1986. The museum features hundreds of historic sculptures, furniture, thousands of paintings and photographs. It is dedicated to promoting inter-cultural works and related conversations.
4. National Museum of Natural History
This is home to ancient dinosaur skeletons, rare plants and animals. It was built in conjunction with the Sorbonne Universities Network. It includes a total of fourteen locations throughout the country. The main attraction is the botanical gardens. These gardens originally served as the source of medicinal herbs for the royal family. It also acts as a research center with a focus on classification, aquatic populations, geology and the history of the earth.
5. Pompidou Centre, Metz
Welcome to the center of contemporary art and architecture. It is more than a hundred square feet and features three art galleries as well as an amphitheater. The center hosts semi-permanent displays of 21st-century European art and collections from the French National Museum of Modern Art. It is one of the most popular attractions outside the capital. It features seasonal exhibitions throughout the year in collaboration with other museums as well as local talent.
6. Palace of Versailles
The museum was originally built as the residence of King Louis XIV and served as the administrative capital for the government. The massive complex is over 600,000 square feet and is now a museum of French history. Key attractions include the Crusades Room, the Empire Rooms, the North and South Attics and the Africa, Crimea, and Italy section. It also includes multiple complex apartments, the Battles Gallery and the Hall of Mirrors. The king’s court was a social centerpiece where French style, taste, and culture took shape.
7. National Museum of Modern Art, Paris
This is an urban museum showcasing modern art. It features a fusion of visual arts, performing arts and theater. It features a permanent collection that’s a who’s who of French and European talent including works by Pablo Picasso, Pierre Bonnard, and Marcel Duchamp among dozens of other artists. These are curated annually to promote awareness and incorporate new pieces. Semi-permanent displays are organized every six weeks. It is an excellent destination to catch up with modern and emergent trends in art.
8. Army Museum, Paris
A museum dedicated to military artifacts from the Army of France and war history. This includes medieval weapons and armor. It offers unique insights into the history of the country. It is one of the most popular museums in France ranking in the top five. It is hosted symbolically in the Hôtel National des Invalides, a veteran and wounded warrior’s recovery center built by King Louis XIV. You can find weapons such as swords and cannons as well as uniforms, paintings and personal effects from famous generals and kings. It is also home to Napoleon’s Tomb.
9. Museum of Bayeux Tapestry, Bayeux, Normandy
This is an ancient historical monument. The museum features unique art pieces embroidered on white linen. They are more than 900 years old. The art honors Queen Mathilda and bears witness to the preparations to battle the English at Normandy. It is a famous history lesson on how the good prevails over evil. In this case, Duke William winning over King Harold. It continues to inspire contemporary productions in comics, film, and animation.
France is one of the top art and culture powerhouses in the world. It is packed with a rich history, a strong local culture and art collections from around the world. There is something for everyone including natural history, war history, modern art, ancient masterpieces as well as works by world-famous artists such as Van Gogh. You can get discounted seasonal tickets from various travel vendors to enable you to access the museums quickly.
Most Famous Museum Attractions In France written by guest blogger Scott Carruthers. He loves to travel and also enjoys photography and adventure dining. He blogs about his experiences from various destinations around the world. He graduated from Illinois College. To read more from Scott, head over to his blog at http://dscottcarrutherstravel.com/.