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Free museums and monuments in Paris

Published on 3 November 2017 By Elodie D.
Les Musées gratuits de ce dimanche

Visiting a monument for free in Paris? Discovering a museum when being on a budget? Sortiraparis gives you the best permanent and temporary deals and tricks so you can make the most of Paris cultural side!

In addition to the exceptional days on which most of Parisians buildings are open to all and for free, including European Heritage Days in September, the Nuit Blanche in October or Museums Night in May, we do not always recall the best deals to visit museums and monuments for free in Paris.

To help you out, Sortiraparisinvestigated on the monuments and museums open for free and for all, with or without conditions, so that you can treat yourself, your family or your friends at low cost…

Museums and Monuments open for free and for everyone all year long – only permanent collections are accessible for free:

  • Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris:
    The MAM’s collection retells all the artistic creation of the 20th century including: Fauvism, surrealism, cubism, art brut, contemporary art. About 8000 works are chronologically displayed with small inserts on various major artists, icons of a movement: Dubuffet, Dada, Marcel Duchamp and so much more. In June 2013, the venue unveiled a new scenography promoting the building’s beauty.
    Schedules: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on public holidays.

  • Petit Palais – City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts:
    The Petit Palais is a wonderful setting for Paris Beaux-Arts collections – from ancient art to works from the 19th century: items conserved within the museum’s collections come from donations or acquisition by the city. In addition to its collections, the Petit Palais is an architectural gem like its big brother. Created to house the works of art for the universal and world exhibition in Paris, 1900, it became a museum in 1902!
    Schedules: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on public holidays.

  • Musée Carnavalet – City of Paris historical museum:
    Musée Carnavalet’s collection is likely to reveal all the secrets of Paris: Paris first museum, inaugurated in 1880, the Musée Carnavalet offers to rediscover the French capital through the centuries and through over a hundred rooms, so that you can meet celebrated characters and artists or you can just stroll around and follow the evolution of Parisian interiors. This museum is worth it and let you see the gardens that lead to a light atmosphere in full heart of Paris of yesteryear.
    Closed for renovations until 2019!

  • Musée Cernuschi – City of Paris Museum of Asian arts:
    Musée Cernuschi houses Asian works of art including 5000 items purchased by Henri Cernuschi in the 19th century. We go through the history of Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese peoples since the Neolithic Era. The flagship item of the museum is a great bronze Buddha overlooking the huge high-ceiling room where permanent collections are gathered together.
    Schedules: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on public holidays.

  • Gaîté Lyrique:
    Cultural establishment dedicated to digital culture, the Gaîté Lyrique offers us to try video games for free in a room featuring five computers (multi-player) provided by the City of Paris, a resource center allowing us to discover multiple discipline related to digital culture with 2000 works available and 150 specialized periodical newspapers and magazines! As for the rest, the Gaîté Lyrique houses charged exhibitions promoting multidisciplinary artists at reasonable prices…
    Schedules: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays

  • Musée Bourdelle:
    Housed in artist Antoine Bourdelle’s (1861-1929) former apartment and bequeathed by his wife and daughter to the City of Paris the museum showcases his works and personal collections. Thus, over 2000 works – paintings, sculptures and drawings by the artist – are unveiled within this building in Montparnasse!
    Schedules: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays and public holidays. Free if no temporary exhibition

  • Musée de la Vie Romantique:
    The Musée de la Vie Romantique is located in the Montmartre neighborhood, in painter Ary Scheffer’s hôtel particulier. Here, the City of Paris wished to recreate the romantic area from the 19th century featuring a focus on artists from this area including George Sand and Frédéric Chopin, the whole showcase in a very charming space that will move you with its tea room and its hidden garden!
    Schedules: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays and public holidays

  • Musée Cognac-Jay – City of Paris 18th century museum:
    The Musée Cognac-Jay housed in a private mansion the private collection of the Cognac-Jay couple including items and works of art from the 18th century. This couple of entrepreneurs to whom we owe the Samaritaine, and of art enthusiasts bequeathed 1200 items from this century that charmed the couple with their beauty. Works by Fragonard and Watteau are included as well as items of everyday life are to be found in this surprising small museum!
    Schedules: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays and public holidays

  • Maison de Balzac:
    In the heart of the former village of Passy, Balzac’s house has become a museum dedicated to his work, La Comédie Humaine, he wrote in this very place. You will find Balzac’s touch, manuscripts, original editions of his works, illustrated books from the 19th century as well as sculpted portraits… As a memo, the museum is open for free outside temporary exhibition!
    Schedules: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays and public holidays

  • Musée Zadkine:
    Rue d’Assas where Russian artist Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967) used to live, the Musée Zadkine offers us to come and discover over 300 works created by the artist. They have been donated by the Ossip Zadkine’s wife to the City of Paris. You can now discover the artist’s greatest paintings through a chronological tour allowing us to witness the artist’s stylistic evolution.
    Schedules: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays and public holidays

  • Mémorial de la Shoah:
    The Mémorial de la Shoah is open freely all year long. Remembrance place, recollection place, it is a “museum of vigilance created to learn, understand and feel” the Shoah.
    Schedules: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Saturdays


Museums and Monuments occasionally free – often on 1st Sunday of the month!

  • Musée de la Grande Guerre:
    If the subject does not give rise to smiles, families can find at the Musée de la Grande Guerre the explanations children seek after a lesson about war: reproductions of dressed soldiers, horses, trenches reconstituted with odors and sounds immerse us in this unimaginable state of war that we have not experienced ourselves. Through a very-well documented tour, we learn how war has been triggered, why men had to leave, what weapons were used on the battle field and how they do to have a wash… questions among others that everyone one day or another.
    Free on 1st Sunday of the month, 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  • Notre-Dame de Paris Towers:
    Notre-Dame, a genuine Gothic Art jewel, leaves us speechless: the so famous interior and stained-glass windows as well as portraits are visited by millions of people each year. Nonetheless, another part of Notre-Dame can be visited: the Towers taking us 40 meters above the ground and offering a brand-new view over the French capital. Caution: you have to climb about 400 steps to reach the top, so, do not forget to take a pair of good shoes…
    Free on 1st Sunday of the month from October to March, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • Musée du Louvre:
    Let he who is without going to the Louvre cast the first stone…on himself. True icon of culture in Paris, this palace is a must-see we would never know how to visit. In addition to the original version and the small versions best known in the world, the Louvre must be visited for its architecture, from the medieval Louvre to the Louvre by I. M. Peï (the Pyramid’s architect): we approve that the place is free which makes it easy to know this exceptional venue!
    Free on 1st Sunday of the month from October to March, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • Arc de Triomphe:
    As a symbol of France abroad, the Arc de Triomphe opens its doors for free so that we can visit the capital of national events. We can climb up the arc thought up by Jean-François Chalgrin inspired by Titus’ Roman arch so that we can enjoy the Place de l’Etoile and the world’s most beautiful avenue!
    Free on 1st Sunday of the month from October to March, from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

  • Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou:
    Whilst the Centre Pompidou is known worldwide for its large temporary exhibitions, we would almost forget that the Musée national d’Art Moderne, located on the 5th and 6th floors of the Centre Pompidou hosts the second largest collection of modern art in the world… Over 75,000 works are featured and they are naturally displayed in shifts in the museum’s rooms, following a chronological order so that we can better understand the last century’s artistic evolutions: we would never be done discovering the extent of the museum’s collections!
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Musée d’Orsay:
    Located in Orsay former railway station, the building houses the museum built for the universal and world exhibition in Paris, 1900. The Musée d’Orsay should be visited for its architecture and then for the masterworks it houses… You will discover creations from the 19th century, the museum’s collection goes from 1848 to 1914 including The Gleaners by Millet, Olympia by Manet as well as Van Gogh’s room in Arles!
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 9:30 to 6 p.m.

  • Sainte-Chapelle:
    The Sainte-Chapelle is one of the most mystical place in Paris: hidden by the law courts, the long line let us foresee that a spectacular monument is to be visited. Then, we discover a very secret place with a gothic architecture to welcome the Christ’s relics. Topped by a 33-m high arrow, the Sainte-Chapelle lets us speechless and what a feast for our eyes with its splendid stained-glass windows, its 9-m diameter rose window and its representations of the Apocalypse…
    Free on 1st Sunday of the month from October to March from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Musée du Quai Branly:
    The Musée du Quai Branly, on the initiative of former French President Jacques Chirac, brings primitive and ethnic arts back to former glory. Evolving around 3,500 items from all over the world, the Musée du Quai Branly’s collection invites us to travel Oceania, Africa, Asia and its long-lost peoples or current peoples so that you can discover their ways of life, their customs, their civilizations…
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Panthéon:
    Built by Soufflot in the 18th century on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève houses the remains of 72 figures of France from Rousseau to Alexandre Dumas. We go there for the place solemnity as well as for its neoclassic architecture.
    Free on 1st Sunday of the month from October to March from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Musée de l’Orangerie:
    Located in the heart of the Tuileries, the Musée de l’Orangerie houses numerous temporary exhibitions, each one more interesting than the last. Nonetheless, the Musée de l’Orangerie is famous for its various donations made by artists and collectors. Whereas Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume bequeathed their private collections to the museum, Monet offered to leave the Water Lilies so that the general public can enjoy the series.
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Musée Guimet – Musée national des Arts Asiatiques:
    The Musée Guimet leads you to Asia on the lookout for civilizations and their arts, in an area showcasing over 10,000 objects from Asia and Middle-East. This museum has been wished by Emile Guimet who spent a long time traveling and bequeathed the treasures he used to bring back. Among the collections, you will discover furniture, clothes, ceramics, sculptures, manuscripts… After visiting the museum, you will be surprised by the Buddhist pantheon and its Japanese garden making us forget the French capital!
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Musée Rodin:
    As its name suggest, the Musée Rodin showcases a great part of sculptor Auguste Rodin’s works. In the Biron private mansion aisles, you will discover the famous Kiss, Fugit Amor without forgetting the famous Thinker reigning over the wonderful private garden. Let’s forget Paris during a visit!
    Free on 1st Sunday of the month from October to March from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

  • Musée de l’Histoire et de l’Immigration:
    Built for the universal and world exhibition in Paris, 1931, the Palais de la Porte Dorée was to house the Musée des colonies, hence the wonderful architecture based on bas-reliefs and frescoes praising the French Empire. Long after the decolonization, in 2007, a call has been made and a museum dedicated to French and strangers immigrated in France after Wars in their countries has seen the light of day… The numerous pictures and stories immerse us in France as seen as a land of asylum and allow us to understand the history of immigration.
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine:
    As a vestige of the Art Deco style in Paris, the Cité Chaillot offers about 22,000 square meters dedicated to French and global heritage: separated into three parts, the collection of the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine houses full sections of buildings from all times, models, recreations or even photographs of diverse cities from the 18th century. The Cité de l’Architecture stand outs against the Parisian landscape by overlooking the champs de Mars, a stone’s throw from the Trocadero!
    Free on 1st Sunday of the month from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • La Conciergerie:
    Located in the current law courts, the Conciergerie has been the house of Kings of France for a long time, in the Middle-Age; it has then been used as a jail. The Conciergerie has been the last house in which Marie-Antoinette has stayed. We can even visit the reconstituted dungeon. The visit of this place lead us to discover a gothic architecture as well as kitchens, the hall of the Guards, the Hall of the Soldiers which dimensions are impressive (8.5-m high !)
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Musée Cluny – the Middle-Age museum:
    The Musée Cluny located in the former house of the Cluny abbots invites us to discore Roman and Gothic art: we discover thus a hidden heritage, within the building’s thermae housing the ancient collections from the institution. Moreover, you will pleasantly head to the museum’s garden open to all and nearby the ruins visible from the boulevard Saint-Michel…
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 9:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

  • Musée Delacroix:
    The Musée national Eugène Delacroix is well hidden! Located in the last flat the artist occupied as well as in the painter’s workshop, the museum hosts a small part of the artist’s works while allowing a chronological tour retelling Delacroix’s entire career. Depiste the museums being hidden within a flat Rue Furstenberg, it shows the intimacy of the artist who decided to settle down to finish the Saint-Sulpice chapel as soon as possible.
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • Galerie des Gobelins:
    Within the former premises of the Manufacture Royale des Gobelins from the 17th century, the Galerie des Gobelins shows us various tapestries and hangings from all eras. Open only on temporary exhibitions, the Galerie des Gobelins only unveils masterworks following a thematic tour.
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Musée des Arts et Métiers:
    The Musée des Arts et Métiers can be seen as one of the most playful museums in Paris thanks to the two Universcience areas. In a particular setting, those of the former medieval priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, the museum showcases over 3000 inventions which lead us to facilitate our daily lives: Foucault’s pendulum, Louis Lumière’s movie projector, Clément Ader’s flying machine… incredible machines are scattered across the 10,000-square-meter place. To make the visit easier, workshops and demonstrations are organized for free and on a daily basis! A small surprise awaits you: a replica of the Statue of Liberty welcomes us in the museum’s garden which is open to all!
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature:
    Fondation François Sommer offers us two places, two private mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries dedicated to the relationships men have with Nature. Through works by known artists such as Cranach, Corot or Koons we go all over the evolution of “wild animals from the Antiquity to the present day” whereas another space of the museum is dedicated to the various game techniques used men have always used.
    Free on 1st Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Photo credit: Musée du Louvre © Paris Tourist Office - Photographer: Marc Bertrand

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