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You don't have to spend a Euro at these fascinating free museums. One of the greatest innovations instituted by former mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe was making all the museums in Paris owned by the city free! .
The free museums are just another example of why we love Paris — things are always getting better
For instance, not only are the city museums in Paris free, but so are the modernistic, high-tech toilets dotted around on the sidewalks.
Then there's the system of almost-free bicycle rentals, the Velibs. Pay a modest fee and you can use the bikes for up to half an hour at a time at no additional cost.
Getting back to the museums in Paris, here are our five favourite free Paris museums to add to your planning list. Most can be visited in a hour or two, leaving plenty of free time to explore the neighborhood.
Note that, although these museums in Paris are free, there is usually a small fee for special exhibits.
While the City of Paris museums are free, most others aren't. If you're going to be visiting museums like the Louvre, d'Orsay and Pompidou we recommend you get a Paris Museum Pass. This gives you free admission to all the famous museums and many, many others. The best way to get a Paris Museum Pass is to buy a The Paris Pass, which also includes a Metro Pass for free unlimited transportation, and other bonuses.
It's amazing what you can see, learn and experience for free these days in Paris! Since all of the museums in Paris owned by the city became free, we spend a lot more time looking at art and history than we used to. Here are some of the museums on our regular circuit —
This elegant building built for the Exhibition of 1900 is today the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts.
Highlights include 19th-century paintings by Monet, Sisley, Cézanne, and Modigliani and medieval and Renaissance paintings. There is also a charming café set in the interior garden court.
Set in two rambling mansions (one was originally home to Madame Sévigny, the famous 17th-century diarist) is a great place to discover the history of Paris.
It's rarely crowded and has many fascinating permanent exhibits as well as a pretty garden to relax in.
This spacious museum is dedicated to the art of the 20th and 21st centuries.
It's located in the Palais de Tokyo, built for a 1937 exhibition in Paris, and it's choc-a-bloc with the best known painters: Picasso, Matisse and an entire room devoted to cubism and surrealism.
The museum was the site of a burglary in May 2010 when five modern masterpieces were stolen, including Picasso's Le Pigeon Aux Petit Pois. Both the thieves and the painting are still at large. So, if you find a Picasso or Matisse for sale cheap on eBay, you know where they probably came from.
Ernest Cognacq, a business magnate of the Belle Époque era, and his wife Théodore-Ernest, founded La Samarataine, one of Paris' grands magasins, back in 1869.
When they died in the 1920s, they bequeathed their possessions to the city of Paris. It is a beautiful collection of fine art and decorative items focusing on 18th century France. The museum is housed in a hôtel built in the Marais in 1575.
The Second World War was one of the darkest periods in the history of Paris. But, there were some bright spots.
Discover the poignant stories of the iconic French World War II leaders Marshal Leclerc and resistance leader Jean Moulin.
The museum was built in 1994 to celebrate the 50th anniversay of the Liberation of Paris.
Jean Moulin remains the most famous member of the French resistance in World War II. He was arrested in 1943, tortured and murdered by the German army. His ashes were moved to the Panthéon on 1964.
Marshal Leclerc was a French general who fought in many theaters of World War II and was instrumental in the liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944. He died in a plane crash in 1947
A student of Rodin, sculptor Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) created stunning bronze and marble sculptures.
Now, in the 15th Arrondissement very near the Montparnasse train station and the Musée Jean Moulin you can visit the gardens and studio where he lived and worked.
The Museum of the Romantic Life. Just the name puts you in a good mood!
The mansion holds a tribute to the poet George Sand with artifacts from her amazing life as well as temporary exhibits in the main building.
It's also a perfect location to set off to explore Montmartre.
The City of Paris owns and operates quite a number of museums, and all of them are free to enter. Here are a few more.
Maison de Balzac. The home of the celebrated French author has been turned into a museum examining his life.
Website (French) »
Maison Victor Hugo. The home of another famous French author turned into a museum. Located on beautiful Place de Vosges.
Website (French) »
Musée Galliera – Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. The 19th-century mansion of the Duchess of Galliera houses the city's history of fashion museum.
10, Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75116
Musée Cernuschi – Musée d'Art Asiatique de la Ville de Paris.
The Museum of Asian Arts
Website (French) »
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