Your favourite museum
Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Monet, Rodin, Delacroix or Picasso: all these icons of the art world are represented in the museums of Paris. But art is also prehistory, antiquities from the four corners of the world, collections of miniatures and precious objects, or even the future of space exploration The majority of Parisian museums are open at the weekend and closed on Monday or Tuesday as well as some public holidays. Most of them stay open late one evening each week. Guided tours often need to be booked in advance. Admission to the permanent collections of museums run by the Paris City Council (Ville de Paris) is free and admission to national museums is free on the first Sunday of each month. Certain museums also offer free admission other days of the week. You can check the details in our information pages or directly with the museums themselves. In all cases, any reductions apply to permanent collections and not to visiting exhibitions. Children, students, job-seekers and seniors can also benefit from special reductions.
Paris and its monuments
Paris is famed throughout the world for the beauty and variety of its monuments. Towers, churches, palaces, archways, bridges or fountains an extraordinary collection of landmarks that transports us back in time. Of course, Paris wouldnt be Paris without the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame or Sacré Coeur. And each evening a special magic takes over the city when all these splendid constructions are illuminated! A sense of romance along the Pont Neuf, a shiver in the catacombs or an exotic mood at the Mosque: Paris is also a mix of atmospheres and cultures. From the must-see to the more unusual, all these monuments relate two thousand years of the capitals history. Most of the monuments in Paris stay open at the weekend and close on one weekday, as well as on some public holidays. They are usually open late one evening a week. Guided tours often need to be booked in advance and special reductions are available for children and groups.
This towering monument, inaugurated by Gustave Eiffel during the World Fair is a landmark site 324-metres-high. Its graceful metallic structure has dominated the Seine riverbanks and Champ-de-Mars for more than 120 years. At nightfall, it sparkles with lights to mark the change from one hour to the next an unforgettable sight for those who love Paris. This feat of engineering has been the inspiration for numerous artists, poets, painters, writers and film makers. It is the most visited monument in the world. As well as taking the lift up the three floors, there are also temporary exhibitions to see and the private apartment that the engineer Eiffel had installed there.
Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre
The white domed basilica of Sacré-Coeur dominates the city. Crowning the top of the butte (hill) of Montmartre, one of the highest hills in Paris, it offers one of the finest views of Paris. This church in the shape of a Greek cross, and its crypt, is in the Romano-Byzantine style. It was built between 1875 and 1923 by the architect Paul Abadie, after the Commune de Paris. With is cupola it stands 80-metres-high. The ceiling is decorated with the largest mosaic in France measuring almost 480 m². And, it also has the largest bell in France weighing 19 tons, towed from Annecy (Haute-Savoie) to the Sacré-Coeur.
On the hill, just below the basilica is the Place du Tertre and its painters, the Abbesses district with its winding steep streets, and at the bottom of the hill, the famous Moulin Rouge.
Access to the basilica is free every day from 6am to 11pm.
Arc de Triomphe
It is the centrepiece of the Place Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, from where it majestically overlooks the Champs Elysées. Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 in homage to French military victories, the arch was completed 30 years later during the reign of Louis Philippe, the last King of France, who dedicated the monument to the glory of the revolutionary army and the French army in general. It is adorned with reliefs and sculptures depicting scenes from Napoleons epic battles.
The Big Hall within the monument has been redesigned. The new scenography is divided into seven sections and takes a modern, interactive approach to tracing the history of the Arc de Triomphe.
From the 50-metre high terrace on top of the Arc de Triomphe, youre invited to admire each of the twelve avenues that stem from the monument, most of which bear the name of a famous battle fought by Napoleon, such as Friedland and Wagram. Paris is literally at your feet as you look out over the capitals historic avenue with, on the one side, the Champs-Elysées, the place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Garden, and the Louvre and, on the other, the Arche de la Défense.
Musée du Louvre
Today, the Louvre is one of the most important and most visited museums in the world. It is also the biggest museum in Paris, extending over 210,000 m². This former royal palace, residence of the Kings of France has a long history from the Capetian kings of the 12th century to the present day. During the French Revolution, in 1793, it was transformed into a national museum. In 1988, President François Mitterrand decided to make the Louvre the greatest museum in the world and commissioned the architect Ieoh Ming Pei. The latter built the 20-metre-high glass pyramid which forms the entrance to the museum.
The museum presents 35,000 works, in eight different departments: Oriental Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Islamic arts, Sculpture, Art Objects, Paintings, and Graphic Arts. Among the most famous works on show are The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, La Liberté Guidant le Peuple by Eugène Delacroix, The Venus de Milo, or the Code dHammurabi.