Museums in France
France is a country rich in history and steeped in wonderful heritage, so it’s no surprise that it has some of Europe’s best museums. Paris is home to some of the world’s finest museums and galleries but you can also find a multitude of great museums throughout the country.
You can find an abundance of great works by France’s famed artists in almost every city, as well as many displays containing precious artefacts from France’s colourful history.
France has never been easier to explore, just take one of our car ferries to Calais, Dunkirk or Newhaven and you’re free to explore France’s many fantastic museums at your own leisure. If you live in the north of England or Scotland, you may prefer to take our relaxing overnight from Newcastle to Holland. From port near Amsterdam its just 185 miles to France.
Header image credit: Dennis Jarvis
The Louvre, Paris
As one of the world's artistic capitals, Paris is brimming with the finest of galleries and collections, and no trip to the city would be complete without taking in the masterpieces at the iconic Louvre. The renovated royal palace holds world-class pieces ranging from the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo to treasures of ancient Egypt.
Image credit: Jon
The Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Housed in an abandoned railway station, The Musée d’Orsay is one of Europe's most thrilling museums. Best known for its collection of French art it also houses photography, sculptures and even furniture. The Musée d’Orsay is also well known for its expansive collection of both impressionist and post-impressionist art, including work by artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, Monet, Cézanne and Sisley.
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Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux
You probably learnt about the Bayeux Tapestry in your school history lessons, but nothing can prepare you for how large, astonishing and beautiful it is. The tapestry is 70 metres long but only 50 centimeters wide and depicts the conquest of England by William the Conqueror, from 1064 to the defeat of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. An audio guide is included in the admission and explains all 58 scenes that make up this incredible historic document.
Image credit: John McLinden
Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi
Toulouse-Lautrec is one of France’s best-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period. The museum is housed in the Palais de la Berbie in the centre of Albi and contains over 1,000 works including paintings, lithographs, drawings and preparatory studies, which perfectly illustrate each of the styles and talents of this multi-faceted and innovative painter. It’s worth a trip just to see the Palais itself, as it is an impressive and imposing 13th century fortress.
Image credit: Historia del Arte Ilustración y siglo XIX
Palais des Beaux-Artes, Lille
The largest museum in France outside of the capital, the Palais des Beaux-Artes in Lille has a number of world-renowned art collections, including European paintings, 17th and 18th century ceramics, 19th century French sculptures and more. Its collection of renaissance paintings currently stands at more than 650, including paintings from the Flemish, Dutch and Spanish schools.
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A monument to maths, science and astronomy, Universcience has a number of attractions sure to wow both adults and children. Formerly two museums - the Discovery Palace and Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie - they merged in 2010 and now the unified Universcience attracts almost 3.5 million visitors a year. With a planetarium, a living lab and more, Universcience is dedicated to ensuring all of the family is captivated by science and technology.
Image credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
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