Paris has been the capital of one of the leading countries of Europe for centuries and centuries. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that it is home to numerous sites of cultural interest, with its outstanding museums being some of the most famous examples. Said institutions cover the full range of not just human endeavour but also natural wonders, meaning that there is sure to be something to suit all interested individuals.
Here are five of the top museums in Paris:
The Louvre occupies a central position in Paris, which makes sense since it started out as a fortress before it was converted into a palace and then a museum. Once, it housed the collection of the French kings, which consisted of hundreds of paintings as well as numerous sculptures that have survived since the Classical period. Now, the Louvre is used to house some of the most priceless treasures on the planet, which encompass paintings, prints, sculptures, and other items of interest from places and periods such as ancient Egypt, Classical Greece and Rome, and the Italian Renaissance. As a result, it is no wonder that it sees millions and millions of interested individuals on an annual basis, though it seems probable that some of them are just as interested in the buildings of the institution, which can be recognized in a single glance by their French Renaissance style as well as the glass pyramid that stands over an entrance in the main court.
Unlike the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay is situated on the left bank of the Seine. Given its name, it should come as no surprise to learn that it is housed in what was once the Gare d’Orsay, which was a railway station built in the Beaux-Arts style between 1898 and 1900. This is appropriate because the institution’s collection focuses on French art from 1848 to 1914, so much so that it claim the honor of having the single largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces not just in France but throughout the entire world. Examples range from Claude Monet, who has 86 paintings including the Blue Water Lilies featured in the museum, to Vincent van Gough, who has 24 paintings including the Self-portrait featured in the museum.
The Musee Rodin is named for Auguste Rodin, a French sculptor whose emphasis on realism clashed with the prevailing tastes of the times but nonetheless persevered to find success, so much so that he is often regarded as the founder of modern sculpture, which is no small compliment. Regardless, the Musee Rodin consists of not one but two sites, with one being the Hotel Biron in central Paris and the other being the Villa des Brillants in Hauts-de-Seine. Said institution houses some of Rodin’s most famous sculptures, including but not limited to The Kiss, The Thinker, and The Gates of Hell, though it is interesting to note that it features other pieces by other artists as well because the French sculpture was not just an artist but also a collector in his own right. Since the Musee Rodin has chosen to put some of its collection in the garden attached to the building in which it is housed rather than the interior of the building, visiting it is an excellent choice for people who love to stroll through scenic sights.
National Museum of Natural History
Part of the Sorbonne Universities, the National Museum of Natural History is one more of the institutions that can be found on the left bank of the Seine. In brief, it was founded during the French Revolution, but has since expanded so much that it now boasts no fewer than 14 separate sites throughout the whole of France. However, one of the most famous of the 14 sites remains the Jardin des Plantes, which started out as the royal botanical garden but remains an institution of some note. Examples of the galleries that can be found at the location range from the Grand Gallery of Evolution to the Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, while other locations that can be found in Paris feature exhibits focused on fields such as anthropology, botany, and zoology. Summed up, the sheer breadth of the National Museum of Natural History enables the institution to live up to its name, meaning that visitors are sure to find it an enriching experience.
Centre Georges Pompidou
Sometimes called the Pompidou Center in English sources, the Centre Georges Pompidou houses not just one institution but rather a collection of them. For example, it is home to the Public Information Library, which serves the French public as a public library of incredible size. Furthermore, it is home to the Musee Nationale d’Art Moderne, which is the largest museum dedicated to modern art that can be found in the whole of Europe. Combined with high-tech architecture that embodies the iconoclastic spirit, the building named for one of the former Presidents of France has earned its enormous number of visitors on a regular basis, which in turn, means that interested individuals will not be disappointed by what it has to offer them.
The five institutions that have been mentioned here make up no more than a small percentage of the museums that can be found in Paris. For that matter, seeing as how traveling from place to place within France is simple and straightforward, it is worth mentioning that the museums of Paris make up no more than a small percentage of the museums that can be found throughout that beautiful country. As a result, people who are interested in finding something to do while visiting France should not hesitate to conduct their own research on potential sites of interest because they are sure to be able to turn up a list filled with names with no more than minimal expenditure of time and effort.