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Here are numbers 11—20 of the Top 20 most visited Paris Museums and Monuments based on statistics from the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau that tracks the number of visitors to each site (based on year 2009, most current report as of 2011).
11. Musée du Quai-Branly: This art museum is built around its extensive collection of indigenous art and cultural relics from civilizations in Africa, Asia Oceania and the Americas. The work of Australian aboriginal artists is an especially popular attraction. The museum also has an important research library. Located at a curve in the scenic Seine, the museum is an easy walk from the Eiffel Tower, as well as from #16 on this list.
Address: 37, quai Branly, Paris 7th
Métro: Line 9, Alma-Marceau, Iéna; Line 6, Bir Hakeim
RER: Line C, Pont de l’Alma
Bus: 42, 63, 69, 72, 80, 82, 87, 92
Hours: Open daily (except Mondays) 11am — 7pm (until 9pm Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays)
Admission: Begins at €8,50
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible from Rue de l’Université (southern side of museum)
12. Musée de l’Armée (Invalides): Originally a home and hospital for retired war vets, Invalides now features a series of buildings that include a war museum, burial site for war heroes and a soaring cathedral. While the most famous draw may be Napoleon’s tomb, the collection of arms, armaments and other military memorabilia are themselves a hit with kids and adults alike.
Address: 129, rue de Grenelle, Paris 7th
Métro: Line 8, Latour-Maubourg, Invalides; Line 13, Varenne, Saint François-Xavier
Bus: Lines 28, 63, 69, 80, 82, 83, 87, 92, 93
Hours: Open daily form 10am — 6pm April 1 to Sept 30; 10am — 5pm Oct 1 to March 31
Admission: Begins at €9; Free for anyone under 18 and any uniformed member of any military
Accessibility: Accessible entrance on the south side of museum (admission is free for handicapped visitor and one companion)
13. Sainte-Chapelle: This Gothic chapel found on the centrally located Ile de la Cité has some of the city’s best stained glass windows and is an impeccable overall example of Gothic architecture; its fantastic blue ceiling alone merits a visit. Beyond that, the chapel offers a more intimate visiting experience than its much more famous neighbor, Notre Dame cathedral.
Address: 4, boulevard du Palais, Paris 4th
Métro: Line 4, Cité; Line 7, Pont Neuf
RER: Lines B & C, Saint Michel — Notre Dame
Bus: 21, 27, 38, 85, 96
Hours: Open daily 9:30am — 6pm March 1 to Oct 31; 9am — 5pm Nov 1 to Feb 28 (closed 1pm — 2pm during the week all year)
Admission: Begins at €8; free for visitors under 18, disabled persons and their companions
Accessibility: Accessible entrance on Boulevard du Palais (southeast side)
14. Musée Rodin: Located in the Hotel Biron, this museum is a tribute to the great sculptor August Rodin and features many of his works and sketches in a variety of materials including marble, bronze and terra cotta. Rodin’s iconic piece The Thinker (pictured) is housed here, as are The Kiss and The Gates of Hell. The museum also has a pristine garden that offers a refreshing alternative to purely indoor museums.
Address: 79, rue de Varenne, Paris 7th
Métro: Line 13, Varenne or Invalides
RER: Line C, Invalides
Bus: 69, 82, 87, 92
Hours: Open daily (except Mondays) 10am — 5:45pm
Admission: Begins at €6; visitors under 18 free; all visitors are free the first Sunday of each month
Accessibility: Accessible entrance on Rue de Varenne (north side of building)
15. Musée Grévin: Charlemagne. Michael Jackson. Einstein. Ray Charles. Gandhi. Pope John Paul II. See them all and over 300 other characters at Musée Grevin, one of Europe’s oldest wax museums. The museum opened in 1882 and includes panoramas of historical scenes in addition to stand-alone celebrity figures.
Address: 10, Boulevard Montmartre, Paris 2nd
Métro: Lines 8 & 9, Grands Boulevards or Richelieu—Drouot
Bus: 20, 39, 48, 67, 74, 85
Hours: Open daily 10am — 6:30pm (until 7pm Saturdays and Sundays)
Admission: Begins at €21, with discounts for children and families
Accessibility: The museum is 100% wheelchair accessible.
16. Musée d’Art Moderne: This museum holds a giant collection of 20th century artistic trailblazers like Picasso, Matisse and Léger. Genres like surrealism, abstract and modern are on hand. The over 8,000 pieces hail mostly from Europe, though other regions are represented as well.
Address: 11, avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16th
Métro: Line 9, Alma-Marceau or Iéna
RER: Line C, Pont de l’Alma
Bus: 32, 42, 63, 72, 80, 92
Hours: Open daily (except Mondays) 10am — 6pm (until 10pm Thursdays)
Admission: Free for permanent collection; temporary collection admission ranges from €5 — €11
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible through ramps and elevators
17. Institut du Monde Arabe: This collection of exhibits on past and present Arab culture also functions as a research & education center and provides a great rooftop view of central Paris. Paintings, sculptures, pottery, movies and other media are well represented in this museum located just across the Seine from Notre Dame. In addition to the contents of the center, the building’s walls are quite the sight: they’re made up of adjustable metal lenses that close and open in relation to the amount of sunlight they receive.
Address: 1, rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, Paris 13th
Métro: Line 7, Sully; Lines 7 & 10, Jussieu; Line 10, Cardinal Lemoine
Bus: 24, 63, 67, 86, 87, 89
Hours: Open daily (except Mondays) 10am — 6pm
Admission: Begins at €5,50
Accessibility: Wheelchair access via ramps and elevators
18. Tour Montparnasse: Though Parisians complain that the building itself is less than stunning, this skyscraper is beloved for its views, which are the best in the city. Visitors can marvel at the beauty of the city’s rooftops and rivers during the day and the gorgeous city lights at night. After coming down the elevator, be sure to take advantage of the area’s excellent high-end shopping.
Address: 33, avenue du Maine, Paris 14th
Métro: Lines 4, 6, 12, 13, Montparnasse Bienvenue
RER: Line B, Port Royal
Bus: 25, 58, 82, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96
Hours: Open daily 9:30am — 11:30pm April 1 to Sept 30; 9:30am — 10:30pm Oct 1 to March 31 (until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays)
Admission: 56th floor observation deck begins at €10, with discounts for students, children and disabled persons
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
19. Panthéon: Nestled into the Left Bank near the Sorbonne and the Luxembourg Gardens, the Panthéon is a majestic church that was rededicated and continues to serve as a secular mausoleum honoring the “great men” of France. Buried within its majestic walls are the remains of Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Louis Braille, Marie Curie and others. Fantastic statues and tributes also make a trip inside this patriotic temple worthwhile.
Address: Le Panthéon, Paris 5th
Métro: Line 10, Cardinal Lemoine
RER: Line B, Luxembourg
Bus: 21, 27, 38, 82, 84, 85, 89
Hours: Open daily 10am — 6pm (until 6:30pm April 1 to Sept 30)
Admission: Begins at €8; visitors under 18 are free, as are disabled visitors and their companions
Accessibility: There is no ramp or elevator for the 11 steps at the entrance.
20. Musée Carnavalet: Found within the Marias, this gem chronicles the history of Paris itself. Housed in two exquisite mansions, le Musée Carnavalet is not to be missed. The museum houses about 150,000 photographs and twice as many engravings among its many treasures. Marie Antoinette’s personal belongings, paintings of the storming of the Bastille and Napoleon’s favorite toiletries are among the memorable pieces.
Address: 23, rue de Sévigné, Paris 3rd
Métro: Line 1, Saint Paul; Line 8, Chemin Vert
Bus: 29, 69, 76, 96
Hours: Open daily (except Mondays) 10am — 6pm
Admission: No charge for permanent collection; temporary exhibits average around €6
Accessibility: There is an accessible entrance, but there is no elevator to the second floor.
Photo Credits: Métro sign © Howard Stanbury; Musée du Quai Branly © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra; Invalides © Matthieu Milliot; Sainte Chappelle © Scott; Musée Rodin Thinker © Bryan Smith; Musée Grevin Marilyn Monroe © Raissa Bandou; Musée d’Art Moderne © Constant; Institut du Monde Arabe © Jessica Spengler; Panthéon at night © Stavros Markopoulos; and Musée Carnavalet garden © Lulybelle
Adam Weiner is an editorial assistant for BonjourParis.
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