Free Museums Paris (the full guide!)

Paris is a fantastic city for arts & culture lovers, there is so much to see! Unfortunately, visiting the most popular museums in Paris is not for all budgets. However WorldinParis has a little list of Parisian museums where you can always pop into for absolutely free, at least for its permanent collections.

free museums paris

From Arts to Science museums and visiting some Artists’ workshops in between, Paris does not have to leave you feeling financially drained. Some of these museums are well known by the public; others are hidden gems. Because we don’t want to make this post too long, we describe only our favourite ones. We invite you to think out of the box and get out off the beaten path, you will find out that Paris has much more to offer than the Louvre and Orsay.

Are you ready? Bonne visite! /Enjoy the visit!

FREE MUSEUMS PARIS – ARTS & CULTURE

Musée Bourdelle 

16 rue Antoine Bourdelle, Paris XV – M. Montparnasse – Bienvenüe L 4, 6, 12, 13 ; Vélib post #15002

free museums paris

via flickr CC @Corinne Moncelli

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.

Musée Cernuschi

7 avenue Velasquez, Paris VIII – M. Villiers L. 2, 3 ; Vélib post #8037

free museums paris

via flickr CC @Tom Flemming

This museum is located in the hôtel particulier where Henri Cernushi (1821-1896) lived. It shows his private collections of Asian art. Especially remarkable are the rooms dedicated to ancient Chinese art. Come to this museum if you like Asian arts. This museum is also a good excuse to visit beautiful Parc de Monceau, very close to the museum, afterwards.

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.

Musée Cognacq-Jay

Hôtel Donon – 8 rue Elzévir, Paris III. M. Saint-Paul L1 ; Vélib post #3013

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.

Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris

Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris VIII. – M. Champs-Elysées– Clemenceau L1 ; Vélib post #8001

free museums paris

via flickr CC @ctj71081

The Petit Palais is an architectural gem dating back to 1900, located on the avenue des Champs-Elysées. The building was built for the Universal Exposition (1900) and houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris with sculptures, paintings, tapestries, art objects and icons. The artistic panorama is very large, from Ancient and Medieval collections to works from the French and Italian Renaissance and Flemish and Dutch paintings.

Come to this museum for an excellent alternative to (the expensive) Grand Palais, also built for the Universal Exposition. Don’t miss its charming inner outdoor garden.

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.

Musée de la Vie Romantique 

16 rue Chaptal, Paris XIX – M. Pigalle L2, 12 ; Vélib posts # 9028 and 9026

free museums paris

via flickr CC @Ottavi Alain

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

11 Avenue du Président Wilson, Paris XVI – M. Iéna L9 ; Vélib post #8046

free museums paris

This museum located in the east wing of the Palais de Tokyo is devoted to Contemporary Art in all its forms: paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs and videos. The museum’s permanent collections, with more than 8,000 works of art, show the diverse art trends of the 20th century: Cubism, École de Paris, Abstract Art and New Realism.

Come to this museum to see works by Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque and Yves Klein.

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.

FREE MUSEUMS PARIS – ARTISTS & WRITERS’ WORKSHOPS

Atelier Brancusi – Centre Pompidou

Place Georges Pompidou /Rue Saint Martin, Paris IV – M. Rambuteau L11; Vélib post #4021

free museums paris

via flickr CC @Thor

Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) was a major artist in the history of modern sculpture. He created most of his works in the workshop which he occupied in the 15th arrondissement. In his will, he left his entire workshop to the French State. Today we can find this workshop entirely reconstructed on the square of the Centre Pompidou featuring his unique collection of sculptures, pedestals, photos and drawings.

Come to this museum to see how an artist worked at the beginning of the XXth century and because Brancusi is Brancusi!

Opening times: from 2pm to 6pm. Closed on Tuesday.

Maison de Balzac 

47 rue Raynouard, Paris XVI – M. Passy L6 ; Vélib post #16112

The Maison de Balzac is the last famous Parisian novelist’s house to exist today. It was in this house where he wrote “La Comédie Humaine”. Balzac left many original editions, manuscripts and illustrations exhibited in this house today. I personally like the house by itself: its layout, the garden and the surrounding green space with fantastic views over the Eiffel tower.

Come to this museum to know more about Balzac and his life in this beautiful house.

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.

Maison de Victor Hugo

Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée – 6 place des Vosges, Paris IV – M. Bastille, L1, 5 and 8 ; Vélib post #4101

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.

Musée Zadkine 

100 bis rue d’Assas, Paris VI – M. Notre-Dame-des-Champs, L12 ; Vélib posts #6008 and 6018

free museums paris

via flickr CC @Pierre Lannes

This is a hidden gem, not far from Luxemburg Garden. Ossip Zadkine, Russian sculptor, arrived to Montparnasse in 1909. After some time here and there he moved with his wife, also an artist, to this studio located at Assas Street. They lived and worked in this house until their last days. Read more about this beautiful place on this post

Come to this museum to discover a cute place few Parisians know.

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.

FREE MUSEUMS PARIS – HISTORY

Musée Carnavalet – Histoire de Paris 

23 rue de Sévigné, Paris III – M. Saint-Paul L1, Chemin Vert L8 ; Vélib post #3013

This museum is closed for works for the next 3 years.

Musée national de la Légion d’honneur et des ordres de chevalerie

2 rue de la Légion d’honneur, Paris VII – Métro Solférino L12 ; Vélib post #7007

Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday from 1pm to 6pm. Tuesday only opened for groups (previous booking). Closed on Monday.

FREE MUSEUMS PARIS – SCIENCE

Musée Curie (Institut du radium)

11 rue Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris V – M. Cardinal Lemoine L10 / Place Monge L7 ; Vélib post #5012

Opening times: Wednesday to Saturday from 1pm to 5pm. Closed on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday.

FREE MUSEUMS PARIS – VERY PARISIAN

Nouveau Musée du Parfum Fragonard

3-5 square de l’Opéra Louis-Jouvet, Paris IX – M. Opéra, L3, 7 and 8; Vélib post #9106

free museums paris

Paris is since many years the world capital of perfumery so the city could not miss a museum dedicated to Perfume. Originally opened in 1983, the Perfume Museum has been recently renovated by historical fragrance-maker Fragonard and reopened as the Fragonard Musée du Parfum. Read more about this beautiful place on this post

Come to this museum if you are a scent lover and you want to know more about the Perfumes’ world.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm. Closed on Sunday.

FREE MUSEUMS PARIS – OTHER

Musée – Librairie du Compagnonnage

10 rue Mabillon, Paris VI – M. Mabillon L10 ; Vélib post #6022

The world of the Trade Guildes in France (association of craftsmen working in the same field (cabinetmakers, carpenters..) is very fascinating and its earliest traces date back to the Middle Ages. Not anyone can be a “compagnon”: tests to enter are very hard and the apprenticeship lasts many years, by the hand of other compagnons all around France. This museum shows about the Trade Guildes’ history, their techniques and much more.

Come to this museum to learn about a fascinating tradition of craftsmen in France.

Opening times: Monday to Friday from 2pm to 6pm. Closed on week ends.

Musée de la Préfecture de Police

Hôtel de Police du Ve arrondissement 4 rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, Paris V – M. Maubert – Mutualité L10 ; Vélib post #5007

Conspiracies, arrests, famous criminals, archives, unique items (weapons, uniforms) . . . this is your museum if you like all this stuff!

Come to this museum for a spooky visit (well, just a little bit. .).

Opening times: Monday to Friday from 1.30pm to 5pm and third Saturday of the month from 10.30am to 5pm.

Musée d’Ennery 

59 avenue Foch, Paris XVI – M. Porte Dauphine, L2 ; Vélib post #16105

Opening times: Saturday only, with previous phone reservation (+33 (0) 1 56 52 53)

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40 thoughts on “Free Museums Paris (the full guide!)”

  1. Such a useful guide for doing Paris on the cheap – especially with the price of everything else there! Have bookmarked! Thanks

  2. Good list! Free museums are always high on our agenda. Saw the Fraggonard in Grasse, France where it is headquartered.

  3. I love art museums! will definitely check out your recommended list the next time I visit Paris. 🙂

  4. This is such a fantastic list! I love museums and if they are free than I am even more so there. Thanks for your great insight!

  5. Awesome guide. Its always good to know when there are free things to do and museums are such a great way to explore a city. The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris looks quite interesting and I’ll be sure to check it out when I make it to Paris!

  6. Wow, I’ve been to Paris a few times and didn’t realize there are so many free museums! I’d love to visit Musée de la Vie Romantique next time. Love those green shutters 🙂 Great post, thanks for sharing!

    1. Good choice, this museum has a very beautiful garden, perfect for “romantic” tea parties 🙂

  7. Such an impressive list! And great for the traveler visiting such a beautiful, yet expensive city. I love that there are so many topics from art to science, history and even perfume! Wish we’d have had more time to visit places like this, next trip will have to take a few in!

    1. Hope you will have the opportunity to come to Paris again to enjoy these museums 🙂

  8. I am not really into art because I am not artistic. But I can still appreciate stuff at least, and this huge wall painting is really nice. It is very artistic and something that is filled with hard work and emotion. I hope many will continue to do art .

    1. there are also history museum or other subjects museums. there is a big choice in Paris

  9. Museum and it’s free?! You definitely got my interest there. I am a sucker for museums and art galleries. While some people have a thing for churches, I have a thing for museums (and yeah art galleries). I just think that a visit to a museum is one of the best ways to really get to know a place. I try to find one in places I go to as much as I can. Thank you for coming up with this list. Who knows, maybe I’d find myself in France one of these days, then I can definitely check out these museums for myself.

  10. Is this a sign? I’ve been reading about Paris more lately. Haha! Hopefully soon! Parisians really love art and stuff, no? It’s part of their passion. and people love it! Thanks for these pointers. I’ll keep them in mind 🙂

  11. We haven’t done much of the museums though we visited Paris couple of times. Glad to have stumbled on this post we will make sure to do most of this we visit next time. Fragonard Musée du Parfum is for sure unmissable 🙂

  12. I didn’t know there were so many free museums in Paris. Very ideal to spend spare time… that is if you have spare time in Paris. I enjoyed walking streets of Paris and didn’t care to check out the several museums there. I would love to visit the one of perfumes!

    1. museums are good for when it rains. good pick, the perfume museum is very nice

  13. So many free museums in Paris! Wish my family and I had more time to visit them while we were there. Only had 2 and a half days in Paris. Definitely have to come back here 😀

  14. Paris is such an exquisite place. The museums are such an integral part of the magic of Paris. Loved the Louvre among many others. The fact that there are so many museums that have free entry with wonderful exhibits is an added attraction. Can never ave enough of Paris, will check these out next time when in Paris.

  15. I have bookmarked your post. Since I am going to Paris next year and I have to make the best possible use of my time. Would these museums be more crowded than the ones that levy a good entry fee?

  16. Super helpful guide for those in Paris on a budget or after something a little bit different. I’ll be sure to save this for the next time I go. I think my first stop would be Musee Zadkine and then the perfumery.

  17. Seriously, this article is helpful. It’s very costly to travel to Paris and pay extra for museum. Gladly, there are lots to choose from! This is so amazing! If I have to pick one I think I’ll visit Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Love this one!

    1. Thanks for your comment Cai! Good pick, interesting things going on at Musée d’Art Moderne

  18. Have never been fans of museums especially because of the high entry fees we never found justified to our meagre interest in them. However when you add free to the mix, it becomes a very interesting proposition especially for an expensive city like Paris. Love the guide and will totally be bookmarking it for our next trip!

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