August 14, 2023

Top 5 FREE on 1st Sunday Paris Museums

Many of Paris' incredible museums are free on the first Sunday of each month! If you are fortunate enough to have scheduled your visit early in the month and on the weekend, then you can take advantage of these free entries. But even if you are not in town with the right timing, these five museums are still absolutely worth the visit and you can learn which one(s) will suit you best from this article.

1. Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge: Unveiling Medieval Splendors

Transport yourself to the enchanting world of medieval Europe at the Musée de Cluny, known as the Musée national du Moyen Âge. This museum is actually my very favorite in all of Paris because of the time-travel atmosphere I experience in the building and exhibits. Nestled in the heart of the Latin Quarter, this museum preserves and celebrates the art, architecture, and lifestyle of the Middle Ages. 

The museum's exquisite collection includes illuminated manuscripts, intricately carved sculptures, and remarkable tapestries such as "The Lady and the Unicorn," which captivates with its mystique and symbolism. The highlight, however, is its location atop the remains of Gallo-Roman thermal baths, adding a layer of historical depth that few museums can offer.

2. Musée Rodin: Embracing the Soul of Sculpture

For a rendezvous with the masterpieces of one of the greatest sculptors in history, the Musée Rodin is a haven of artistic brilliance. Set amidst lush gardens and elegant architecture, this museum is dedicated to the works of Auguste Rodin. The stunning "The Thinker" and "The Kiss" are iconic sculptures that grace the museum's grounds, while the interiors house a diverse collection that showcases Rodin's mastery in capturing human emotion and form. 

The ambiance of the museum's gardens, featuring several of Rodin's monumental sculptures, creates an immersive experience that transcends time and space. And fun fact: you can enter Rodin's gardens for just €1, and the gardens contain basically all of the sculptures you would see in the interior anyway!

3. Musée Gustave Moreau: A Portal into the Artist's Imagination

This is THE Instagram staircase, people! Think of it as vanilla peeling into the lush decor, perfectly draping itself among the grandeur.

The captivating world of a 19th-century Symbolist painter is at the Musée Gustave Moreau. Housed in the former residence of the artist himself, this museum offers an intimate exploration of Gustave Moreau's dreamlike and fantastical creations. As you ascend the ornate staircase and traverse the artist's studio, you'll encounter a treasure trove of paintings, sketches, and personal artefacts. The museum's unique layout, with rooms and walls densely adorned with art, provides a glimpse into Moreau's artistic process and his fascination with mythology, history, and allegory.

4. Musée de l'Orangerie: Immersed in Monet's Water Lilies

Imagine being enveloped by the soothing hues of Monet's iconic Water Lilies series, their tranquil beauty stretching as far as the eye can see. This mesmerizing experience awaits at the Musée de l'Orangerie, where Claude Monet's immersive masterpieces are displayed in two oval rooms designed to evoke a sense of harmony and contemplation. 

Beyond Monet's enchanting works, the museum also houses a collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, making it a haven for those seeking to connect with the artistic movements that shaped modern art. There are no photos allowed in the exhibition areas, so this photo is of Monet's actual gardens in Giverny and from what his water lily paintings are based.

5. Musée d'Orsay: A Grand Voyage through Art History

This is the most famous museum on this list, and normally included in a tour of Paris museums. If you are seeking a grand voyage through art history, the Musée d'Orsay offers a captivating narrative spanning from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. Housed in a stunning Beaux-Arts railway station, the museum showcases a breathtaking collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Art Nouveau masterpieces. 

From Van Gogh's vibrant self-portraits to Degas' graceful ballerinas and Renoir's scenes of Parisian life, the museum offers a comprehensive view of the artistic revolutions that defined an era. Its vast collection also includes sculptures, decorative arts, and photography, making it an all-encompassing exploration of creativity and innovation. A wonderful highlight here is standing inside the enormous clock face looking out over the Seine River.

I hope you are able to enjoy these five amazing museums as much as I have over the years, and maybe even time your trip out with the free entry on the first Sunday of the month!

Top 5 FREE on 1st Sunday Paris Museums on iOS & Android
Find the rest of my navigational GPSmyCity app article cities HERE (newest) and HERE (older).