World In Paris
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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.

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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52 Comments

  • Reply
    Lucas Rodrigues
    11/26/2016 at 1:34 pm

    That’s a really detailed post, very nice info! Too bad I’m not going to Paris soon, but I pinned it for later use 😀

  • Reply
    Jordan
    11/26/2016 at 2:35 pm

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

  • Reply
    Carol Colborn
    11/26/2016 at 4:54 pm

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

  • Reply
    Jing
    11/26/2016 at 5:26 pm

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

  • Reply
    Edd Sanchez
    11/26/2016 at 9:15 pm

    Wish I’d know about half of these for my last trip to Paris, will have to save these for next time!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/27/2016 at 11:06 am

      Glad to know there will be a next time for Paris! 🙂

  • Reply
    Cherene Saradar
    11/27/2016 at 5:36 pm

    This is great info. Love the beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Helena
    11/27/2016 at 11:53 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/02/2016 at 11:48 am

      You are welcome Helena 🙂

  • Reply
    Mike
    11/28/2016 at 4:26 am

    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!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/02/2016 at 11:53 am

      Good choice, Mike! I particularly like their photo exhibitions there 🙂

  • Reply
    Carmen's Luxury Travel
    11/28/2016 at 7:18 am

    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!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/02/2016 at 11:47 am

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

  • Reply
    Amy
    11/28/2016 at 7:33 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/02/2016 at 11:46 am

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

  • Reply
    Andi
    11/29/2016 at 4:32 am

    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 .

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:15 pm

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

  • Reply
    Megan
    11/29/2016 at 1:35 pm

    Great info 🙂 will bookmark for the next time i’m in Paris!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:14 pm

      Good to be helpful!

  • Reply
    Marge
    11/29/2016 at 11:02 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:14 pm

      Hope you will find your way to Paris one day!

  • Reply
    Jerny
    11/30/2016 at 2:50 am

    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 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:13 pm

      You are welcome, Jerny!

  • Reply
    Rashmi and Chalukya
    11/30/2016 at 10:34 am

    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 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:13 pm

      i see that perfume museum is the public’s favourite one 🙂

  • Reply
    Indrani
    11/30/2016 at 12:57 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:12 pm

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

  • Reply
    Johna
    11/30/2016 at 2:42 pm

    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 😀

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:11 pm

      cool to know there will be a second time for you in Paris! 🙂

  • Reply
    Vyjay
    12/01/2016 at 4:45 am

    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.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:11 pm

      good to know there will be another time in Paris for you!

  • Reply
    neha
    12/01/2016 at 5:33 am

    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?

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:10 pm

      good news is that these museums are not crowded at all 😉

  • Reply
    Emily
    12/01/2016 at 10:49 am

    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.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/01/2016 at 3:08 pm

      Good choices, I love those museums! Thanks for the comment, Emily

  • Reply
    Cai Dominguez
    12/01/2016 at 7:33 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/02/2016 at 11:45 am

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

  • Reply
    anna
    12/04/2016 at 7:46 am

    Oh my word! What a resource. Thank you for taking the time to compile all of this! Bookmarking 🙂

  • Reply
    Gypsycouple
    12/05/2016 at 8:23 am

    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!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      12/06/2016 at 9:56 am

      Oh, happy to know you found it helpful 🙂

  • Reply
    Fábio Inácio
    02/05/2017 at 1:39 pm

    I was in Paria in 2012 and to be honest I didn’t see much because it was the end of my trip and my budget was already finished. I wished to know this list when I was there. The good news is that I am planning to go soon and this post will help me so much. Looking for photography exhibitions 🙂

  • Reply
    Swati & Sam
    02/12/2017 at 1:20 pm

    Wow what lovely pictures of the museum. We have never been to Paris and would keep this in mind. London also has a lot of free museums. It’s difficult to find time to visit museums in a city when you are visiting it for a short duration. A very informative write-up tho.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/12/2017 at 11:23 pm

      Museums are always a cool option for cold or rainy days so it is always useful to have a museums list in mind 😉

  • Reply
    RaW | Ramble and Wander
    02/12/2017 at 8:03 pm

    I love Paris and can stay there for days without even going out of the city to somewhere else. Why? Mostly because of the museums! My favourites are unfortunately the ones with entrance fees like Musée de l’Orangerie. Thanks to your list, I might go and check our Petit Palais and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris one day. They both look like museums that I’d enjoy!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/12/2017 at 11:20 pm

      Yes of course! And add to this list the Museum of Romantic Life for a short break in the tea garden 😉

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/13/2017 at 10:39 pm

      If one of your favourite museums in Paris is l’Orangerie, YES, Petit Palais and Musée d’Art Moderne are two options perfect for you 🙂

  • Reply
    Vicki Louise
    02/13/2017 at 3:49 am

    There are so many free museums in Paris! This is such a great resource for travelers on a budget – or for those looking to see things outside the ‘main’ attractions. I think my first stop would be the perfumery!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/13/2017 at 10:37 pm

      I am sure you would really enjoy the perfume museum, Vicki 🙂

  • Reply
    Trisha Velarmino
    02/13/2017 at 6:24 pm

    I’ve been to Paris years ago and this just makes me want to come back to my favorite city! Merci beaucoup for an awesome and budget friendly list! 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/13/2017 at 10:33 pm

      Hope you will make it soon! 🙂

  • Reply
    Nisha
    02/14/2017 at 4:42 am

    There is so much history and culture in Paris that it would take months if not years to get through all of them. Paris being expensive as it is, Who would imagine that there were so many museums which are free! I have been to a couple of them and have not heard about many of these. Thanks

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/14/2017 at 11:19 pm

      You are welcome. I guess your Paris wish list is getting bigger by now . . . isn’t it? 🙂

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