Skip to Content

10 Museums to Visit in Paris that aren’t the Louvre

Looking to avoid the queues at the Louvre? Check out these other top Paris museums including some of the best small museums in Paris!

Don’t get me wrong, the Louvre is an amazing museum. But with a queue of up to three hours on a particularly bad day, why waste your time when this city has so much more to offer.

France has a long history with the Arab world and it’s well worth checking out the Institut du Monde Arabe to find out more. Alternatively, there’s the palaeontology museum that, rather alarmingly, looks like a sneak preview of Game of Thrones Season 8.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 museums to visit in Paris that aren’t the Louvre and every single one of these is one of the best museums in Paris.

Musée de la vie romantique

Widely regarded as one of Paris’ most beautiful and quaint museums, the Musée de la vie romantique is one of Paris’ best-kept secrets. The collection of paintings here is really spectacular and there’s nothing more relaxing than spending an hour wandering through their rooms of beautiful artwork.

The house pictured contains lots of memorabilia from French writer George Sand. I must admit that I did not find this section of the tour hugely exciting given that there were few explanations of the objects inside. They’d also mixed old and contemporary art together in a strange mishmash.

Outside, however, there’s also a gorgeous, green cafe area outside that you can visit even if you don’t enter the museum.

Find out more on their website here.

16 Rue Chaptal
75009 Paris

Musée de Montmartre

The Musée de Montmartre takes us through the history of Montmartre from windmills to the Moulin Rouge (there’s even a whole room on the French Cancan!).

I don’t know a lot about the history of Paris bar the basics of the French revolution so it was really interesting to see how this beloved quartier of Paris has developed. There are permanent displays here on the history of Montmartre but there are often exciting temporary exhibitions too.

When I visited there was a large exhibition on how Paris, and Montmartre specifically, is presented on screen and viewers were treated to some of the most characteristically “Parisian” scenes from over 100 famous French and American films.

Find out more on their website here.

12 Rue Cortot
75018 Paris

Musée Rodin

The Musee Rodin houses some of the most significant pieces of work by sculptor Rodin. My first visit here was probably the first time I truly began to appreciate sculptures and think about how difficult and time consuming they must be to create.

The gardens of the house are filled with these impressive and enormous works and the whole museum is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Aside from the artwork, the house itself is magnificent and its interiors are the definition of #interiorgoals. Definitely one of the top museums to visit in Paris!

Find out more on their website here.

77 Rue de Varenne
75007 Paris

Palais Tokyo

A breath of fresh air in traditional Paris, here you’ll find modern and contemporary art exhibitions. I’ve been to the Palais Tokyo a few time for some designer fashion exhibitions, which are always breathtaking. What’s more, the building is absolutely gorgeous and you get a phenomenal view of the Eiffel Tower from here!

Find out more on their website here.

13 Avenue du Président Wilson
75116 Paris

Grand Palais

Most famous for its enormous glass vault, some of the best exhibitions are held in this spacious museum. There are always lots of different things going on here with both contemporary and traditional art exhibitions.

There’s never something I’m not interested in going on in this space and I’ve always found the exhibitions to be well-curated and very insightful.

This is one of my favourite museums to visit in Paris and you could spend hours and hours exploring the exhibits in here. After the Louvre, this is probably the most grand of all the museums in Paris  – isn’t the building magnificent?

Find out more on their website here.

3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower
75008 Paris

Petit Palais

The Petit Palais may stand in the shadow of the Grand Palais but it has plenty of its own significant artwork on display. Here you’ll find French art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries curated since 1870. Outside, there’s a beautiful courtyard lined with columns and filled with trees.

Find out more on their website here.

Avenue Winston Churchill
75008 Paris, France

Musée Gustave Moreau

Musée Gustave Moreau is one of the best small museums of Paris. Moreau’s home has now been converted into a museum dedicated to his (many) works. If you haven’t heard of him before, this man counted Henri Matisse amongst his students and influenced many of the most influential 20th-century artists.

His home is spectacular and there are paintings stuffed into every single corner of the place, its unbelievable that one man managed to produce so many enormous and beautiful paintings during one lifetime!

Of course, this museum is also home to the magnificent spiral staircase pictures below, which you may have seen floating around on Instagram before.

Find out more on their website here.

14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld
75009 Paris, France

Musée national d’Histoire naturelle

I was sceptical about visiting this one and thought that it was going to be something more for children than adults but this actually turned out to be one of my favourites on this list!

Often when I’m in museums I find myself glancing over half the placards that are put up and only bothering to read those attached to works of art or objects that catch my eye.

However, at this museum, I found myself going through each and every page on the interactive screens, wanting to find out more and more about the evolution of our planet and species.

This Parisian museum houses a seriously impressive gallery dedicated to evolution, filled with realistic looking animals from times gone by.

Find out more on their website here.

57 Rue Cuvier
75005 Paris, France

Galerie de paléontologie et d’anatomie comparée

This gallery is certainly very impressive though I have to admit I did feel like I’d just walked into the season finale of Game of Thrones. A collection of skeletons throughout history or the army of the undead? You decide…

Here there are hoards and hoards of dinosaur and animal skeletons that make for an impressive, if rather scary, exhibition to visit in Paris.

Find out more on their website here.

2 Rue Buffon
75005 Paris, France

Institut du Monde Arabe

There’s never been a more important time to explore France’s tricky past with the Arab world and the Institut du Monde Arabe is the place to start. I will admit that I found the permanent collection here a little sparse both in content and in information but there are always temporary exhibitions going on here which deal with more interesting pieces of work.

I’d recommend checking out their website to see what’s on so you don’t miss out anything! If you’re not interested in what’s going on inside, then the building is still well worth a visit just so you can see the magnificent metal panels that surround this building.

Below on the far right, I’ve pictured what one of these panels looks like from the inside – now imagine a whole building made up of those! There’s also a magnificent view of Paris from their terrace, from which you can see the back of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Find out more on their website here.

1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
75005 Paris

If you liked this post, check out these other posts about Paris:
120 Beautiful Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Paris 
5 English Bookshops You Must Visit in Paris
The Best Bakery in Paris: Du Pain et Des Idees 
Travel Back In Time To The 18th Century Parisian Salon

Pin for later! 

Laura whatshotblog profile photo


Editor of What’s Hot?

Laura is an award-winning travel and book blogger based in the UK. She studied French literature at Oxford University and is now an IP lawyer at a top law firm in London. She was named UK Book Blogger of the Year in 2019 and loves to combine her passion for books and travel with literary travel.


Wednesday 12th of September 2018

Great suggestions but you forgot one of my favourites: Arts et metiers!

Elise Cohen Ho

Wednesday 15th of November 2017

That round staircase is incredible. I always adore they look. However, they are not the most pleasant to walk down.


Sunday 12th of November 2017

Oh a wonderful list with several I haven't visited yet! My husband and I love to spend a couple of days in Paris every now and then just to walk around and discover new things so this is perfect.

Laura Dove

Sunday 12th of November 2017

Oh I've been to the natural history museum! I forgot all about it until now! I was only 13 and over on a French exchange, it was an amazing trip!

Chrissy Faery

Sunday 12th of November 2017

Ooh! Great list - the palaeontology museum looks right up my street! Those skeletons are truly amazing! xx