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Best Art Museums: France

Whether you are just visiting or international moving to France, you will find plenty to see and do.  A country is known for its rich culture of food, wine, art, and film, France never fails to stir the imagination.  Let’s take a look at three of the most spectacular art museums France has to offer.

Musee de Louvre

Originally built in the 12th century by Phillip II as a fortress, the building itself is a masterpiece.  Famous ruler Louis XIV stored his personal art collection here in the late 1600s before the museum officially opened in 1793 with a total of 537 paintings.  That number has grown to over 35,000 objects from prehistory till the 21st century.  The Louvre is the most popular art museum in the world, attracting over 8 million visitors per year.

Centre Pompidou

Called “the most avant-garde building in the world,” the Centre Pompidou lives up to its reputation.  Essentially just an inside-out building, the front is completely covered with pipes, or what would normally be inside the walls.  A technological marvel, it features an outdoor fountain with sixteen moving and spraying water sculptures.  It contains more than 40,000 art pieces, along with a movie theatre, bookshop, library, panoramic terrace, and is frequented by street performers.

Musee d’Orsay

Also in Paris, on the bank of the Seine rests this former railway station, built in 1899.  It was not converted into a museum until 1986, but served as a mailing center for WWII and movie sets after that, before being converted into a historic monument.  It holds primarily French art dating back to 1848.  It is best known for its collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works including those by world-famous artists Van Gogh, Money, Sisley, and Cezanne.

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