If you are an art museums lover, Paris is definitely your perfect destination. With Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation trains we suggest a walking tour through the most important and charming museums of the French capital. Are you up for it?
Paris is one of the major European capitals and city of birth and growth of different art and cultural movements that coexisted for decades. Degas, Monet, Gauguin, Satie, Modigliani and Pissarro are among the painters who lived in this city and immortalized it in paintings that are today exhibited in countless galleries and Parisian museums.
Our tour begins in the neighborhood of Le Marais, particularly in the Centre Pompidou, a museum of contemporary art. It is renowned by its collection of more than 100,000 works and its avant-garde building of metal structures and bright colors, designed by the architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. It opened its doors in 1977 and is the third most visited museum in the city. Its rooms show works of renowned painters such as Miró and Picasso and in addition it uses some of its space to the artistic and cultural dissemination by organizing debates and expression workshops. The Centre Pompidou, besides being a place for exhibition and art dissemination, also operates as Public Library of Information.
Less than fifteen minutes’ walk down the Rue de Rivoli, there is the second stop of our tour: the Louvre Museum. It is one of the most internationally renowned museums and its dimensions require more than one day to have a complete tour. Currently 58,000 square meters are used for the exhibition of more than 300,000 works. Some of the best known are “The Mona Lisa”, “Liberty guiding the people” or “The Venus de Milo”. The Louvre Museum houses and incredible collection divided into different floors and thematic areas such as Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Islamic art, sculptures, paintings and graphic arts. Now, besides visiting the exhibition, it is possible to visit the different areas of the Medieval Louvre to know its history, which goes back many centuries when the building was the residence of kings, queens and courtiers.
After leaving the Louvre and crossing the Seine on the Pont Royal, our third stop is less than ten minutes away: the Orsay Museum. This museum holds one of the most important collection of impressionist paintings in the world. The building was a former railway station which during the twentieth century became a shelter for deported war prisoners, auction house, rehearsal premises of the theater company Renaud, before opening its doors as museum in 1986. The inside shows works by Degas, Millet, Manet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cézanne and Van Gogh, among others.
Following the steps of impressionist and post-impressionist painters we get to the Orangerie Museum, ten minutes’ walk from the Orsay Museum. This museum is located in the amazing Jardin des Tuileries, with views to the Louvre and the Seine. It is house for works by Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Monet, Picasso, Renoir and Rousseau, among others. It is worth visiting to admire the most important works of these painters and go in depth into an impressionist painting. If you seat a few minutes before the series of paintings of the oval and white rooms of the museum, you will be experiencing life inside one of these canvas.
The Petit Palais Museum
After crossing the Pont de la Concorde we get to our fifth stop: the Petit Palais Museum. Located in a majestic building built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, it contains a large collection of paintings and objects from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, a furniture collection from the eighteenth century and the city collection of the artists Jean Ingras, Eugène Delacroix and Gustave Courbet.
The Grand Palais Museum
The Grand Palais is located on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. It is a palace built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900 and dedicated to "the splendor of French art by the Republic of France." In 2000, it was listed as a historic monument.
After leaving the Petit Palais and walking down the Rue de Bourgogne, we arrive to the Rodin Museum. It is a museum fully devoted to the artist Auguste Rodin placed in a former hotel, a privileged neoclassical building with a three-hectare garden. It opened its doors in 1919 and currently exhibits much of the private collection of the French sculptor.
Quay Branly Museum
At this point we are now just a few minutes from the Eiffel Tower, an essential and must-see for all visitors. A good option is to walk along the Champs de Mars until the Quai Branly Museum next to the Seine. This museum is known for its collection of art from cultures of other continents such as Asia, Africa, Oceania and America and its façade covered with plants. The museum exhibits more than 300,000 works and operates as a center for research and teaching of art history from other cultures and civilizations.
The Museum of Modern Art of Paris
Finally, our tour ends at the President Wilson Avenue, in front of the Seine and the Tour Eiffel and just a few meters from the Trocadéro gardens. The Museum of Modern Art of Paris is devoted to the art of the twentieth century and the most highlighted movements and European artists of this period.+
The Catacombs of Paris
We cannot finish our tour without recommending a visit to the Catacombs of Paris. It is a network of underground tunnels that served as limestone mines during the Roman era and at the end of the eighteenth century became a large warehouse of human bones. Currently the Catacombs of the 14th arrondissement can be visited and without a doubt you will not remain indifferent.