FRENCH MUSEUMS – ELABORATE AND SPACIOUSLY ADVANCED

Paris’s best museums and art galleries

The mansion where Rodin lived at the end of his life now contains an unrivalled collection of the sculptor’s work

By Natasha Edwards

Musée du Louvre

Both art collection and royal palace, including chunks of medieval castle concealed in the basement, the Louvre is mind-boggling in its scale and sheer wealth of treasures: from classical sculpture, Egyptian mummies (always a hit with kids) and Mesopotamian antiquities via renaissance and baroque painting to the early 19th century. Seamlessly modernised in the 1990s with I M Pei’s Pyramid entrance, it is not, however, as daunting as it might seem. I never miss the glazed sculpture courts, the Italian Renaissance galleries, and the grand French neoclassical and Romantic works by David, Delacroix and Géricault, but after that I like to wander and make discoveries. Pick up a plan at the entrance. You can avoid the often long queues to enter by purchasing tickets in advance, but they must be collected at the agency.

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs (www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr) occupies a wing of the Louvre, but is independently run.

You can avoid the often long queues to enter by purchasing tickets in advance, but they must be collected at the agency.

Cour Napoléon, 75001 Paris
0033 1 40 20 50 50
www.louvre.fr

Centre Georges Pompidou

The Pompidou was groundbreaking when it opened in 1977, both for Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers’s colourful, hi-tech architecture and its multidisciplinary approach and I still find it one of the city’s most exciting buildings. The modern and contemporary art collection ranges from Picasso, Matisse and the surrealists to the latest trends in installation and video and work by artists from emerging countries. Also on offer are temporary exhibitions (Cartier-Bresson, Martial Raysse and Duchamp in 2014), a gallery for children, performing arts and cinema. The centre also has an excellent design shop, art bookshop and the trendy Georges restaurant. Make the most of the late opening hours by coming early evening, when exhibitions are less crowded.

Make the most of the late opening hours by coming early evening, when exhibitions are less crowded.

Place Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris
0033 1 44 78 12 33
www.centrepompidou.fr

Musée d’Orsay

Twenty five years after its transformation from train station to the home for the stunning state collection of art from 1848 to 1914, the Musée d’Orsay has at last had a wonderful rehang. It gives much more space to the impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces on the top floor, arranging them both thematically and stylistically to suggest all sorts of new perspectives. Downstairs is devoted to earlier Symbolists and Realists, including a new room for Courbet’s giant canvases, and new art nouveau galleries. Admire the view from the Café de l’Horloge, redesigned by the Campana brothers. Consider buying tickets ahead: there’s a special, queue-avoiding entrance for advance ticket, and Paris Museum Pass, holders.

Consider buying tickets ahead: there’s a special, queue-avoiding entrance for advance ticket, and Paris Museum Pass, holders.

1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris
0033 1 40 49 48 14
www.musee-orsay.fr

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

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