The free museums of Paris

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To visit Paris without spending money, it is possible to stroll through the atypical and picturesque districts, enter a religious monument or stroll through the cemeteries of Montparnasse and Père Lachaise, to name but a few examples. Or go to one of Paris’ free museums.

For several years now, free admission to Parisian museums has been offered to everyone at events that have become essential. There is the most regular: the first Sunday of each month, and the occasional dates: the Night of the Museums in May, the Heritage Days in September and the White Night in October. However, these appointments can be quickly missed, postponed next time, or even incompatible with your visit dates or schedules.

But some fantastic museums have chosen to offer free admission to their permanent collections, for everyone, all year round. These museums form the “Musées de la Ville de Paris” and are mainly the fruit of legacies. They are to be discovered from 10am to 6pm, from Tuesday to Sunday.

Let’s discover together the 8 free museums of Paris! Some are to be found during guided tours with local Keewego guides.

The Paris Liberation Museum

The youngest of the free museums in Paris just opened its doors on August 25, 2019, for the 75th anniversary of the city’s liberation. Located on Place Denfert-Rochereau, it offers a real immersion in Paris after the First World War to introduce you first of all to how Paris and its inhabitants were before the break-up of the Second World War.

Then the tour presents how General de Hauteclocque and Jean Moulin influenced the liberation and resistance of Paris. The highlight of the visit is the discovery of the PC in the basement, a shelter offered to the public for the first time.

A visit to this museum gives you a unique insight into the popular uprising against the German occupier. One of the best museums in Paris. And it is free for everyone. You will find more information in this article.

The free Paris museum dedicated to Bourdelle

The Bourdelle museum located in the sculptor’s former apartments is one of the editorial team’s favourites. He comes from the legacy of his wife and daughter to the City of Paris. In the shadow of the Montparnasse Tower, it is very easy to access it from one of the 4 metro lines that cross it.

The visit begins even before arrival at the museum: some of the artist’s best-known bronzes are displayed in one of the gardens open to passers-by. The former workshop of Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929), Giacometti’s master, remained frozen in time, faithful to what it was in the artist’s time. One would almost wonder if it is not yet in the process of being created.

The plaster hall plunges the visitor into the greatest fascination with monumental works, including Héraklès Archer, which can also be seen at the Musée d’Orsay. The other rooms follow a chronology that allows us to follow with incredible natural light the evolution of the work accomplished through his inspirations. The second garden offers an intimate and bucolic itinerary in the middle of prodigious bronzes mixed with vegetation.
WHere18, rue Antoine Bourdelle 75015 Paris
AccessMetro Lines 4, 6, 12 , 13 : Montparnasse - Bienvenüe (exit 2 - Place Bienvenüe)
Line 12 : Falguière
Bus : n°28, 48, 58, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96
Opening hoursThe Bourdelle Museum is open from 10am to 6pm every day except Mondays and certain public holidays.

The Petit Palais

Create a building dedicated to the fine arts, linking the Esplanade des Invalides to the Champs-Élysées, for the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris. This is one of the reasons for the construction of the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais.

Behind a facade made up of ionic columns and bas-reliefs centred around a monumental porch, the Petit Palais has housed the Musée des beaux-arts de la ville de Paris since 1902. Equipped with a decoration of exceptional richness, the entire building is organized around a semi-circular interior garden. From ancient art to 19th century works, French, Flemish and Dutch paintings come from donations or acquisitions from the city of Paris. It is much more than an alternative to the Grand Palais’ exceptional temporary exhibitions, it is essential. Certainly the most beautiful free museum in Paris.

It is to be discovered, during the guided tour of the Paris Universal Exhibitions at the date and time that suits you by groups of 6 people maximum.
WhereAvenue Winston-Churchill 75008 Paris
AccessMetro : lines 1 et 13 Champs-Elysées station and Clemenceau station; line 9 Franklin-Roosevelt station
RER : line C Invalides station
Bus : 28, 42, 72, 73, 80, 83, 93
Opening hoursOpen from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm

The free Paris museum dedicated to Modern Art

The Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, otherwise known as the MAM, located in one of the wings of the Palais de Tokyo, presents all the artistic creation of the 20th century through its permanent exhibition.

With nearly 11,000 works by more than 2,000 artists, covering the artistic movements of fauvism, surrealism, cubism, raw art and contemporary art, it is undoubtedly one of the leading institutions in the Parisian cultural field. Temporary exhibitions are subject to a charge and enjoy the influence of the permanent exhibition.
Adress11 avenue du Président Wilson 75116 Paris
AccessMetro : line 9 - stop Alma-Marceau ou Iéna
Bus : lines 32 (Iéna), 42 (Alma-Marceau), 72 (Musée d'Art moderne), 80 (Alma-Marceau), 82 (Iéna) and 92 (Alma-Marceau)
Opening hoursTuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm

The free museum of Paris from the Cognacq-Jay couple

The Cognacq-Jay couple, great art lovers to whom we owe the Samaritan woman, bequeathed their prestigious collection to the city of Paris in 1928, nearly 1200 objects of the time.

The Cognacq-Jay Museum offers visitors exhibitions dedicated to 18th century French society and art: paintings by Canaletto, Tiepolo, Boucher, Fragonard, Greuze, Reynolds; pastels by La Tour and Perronneau; sculptures by Houdon, Lemoyne, Clodion; porcelain from Saxony. There are also everyday objects, all in the Denon mansion, in the heart of the Marais, near the Place des Vosges, the Carnavalet Museum and the Picasso Museum.

Its participation in all the free museums of Paris allows you to have a drink on one of the terraces of one of the many typical cafés and enjoy the atmosphere of this charming, lively and iconic district of Paris.
Adress8 Rue Elzevir, 75003 Paris
AccessMetro : Saint-Paul (line 1), Chemin-Vert (line 8), Rambuteau (line 11)
Bus : lines 29 (Turenne-Saint Gilles / Payenne), 69 (Saint-Paul), 76 (Saint-Paul), 96 (Saint-Paul)
Opening hoursTuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm.

The free Paris museum dedicated to Asian art: Cernuschi Museum

Like the Guimet Museum, the Cernuschi Museum is one of the free museums in Paris that presents a large collection of Asian art objects, nearly 5,000 works, acquired during a stay in Japan and China and then left to his death, two years before the museum opened in 1898.

Among these works, many paintings and sculptures in terracotta, bronze and stone trace the history of imperial China and China at the beginning of the 20th century. The impressive Buddha of Meguro is the emblem of the museum and its centerpiece. This 18th century Japanese bronze meditates in front of a large glass roof and the Parc Monceau.

Henry Cernuschi, (1821-1896), was an Italian patriot, who in 1848 participated in the liberation of Milan from Austrian occupation and was elected as a deputy of the Roman Republic (1848-49).

If you wish to visit the treasures around this Museum, reserve your place on the date and time that suits you for the guided tour of Parc Monceau.
Adress7, avenue Vélasquez 75008 Paris
AccessMétro :
Line N° 2, stations : Villiers or Monceau
Line N°3, station : Villiers
Bus :
Lines 30, 93 - station Malesherbes/Courcelles
Line 84 - station Ruysdaël /Parc Monceau
Opening hoursOpen from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 6pm without interruption
(checkout closing at 5.30pm and room evacuation at 5.45pm
Closed on January 1st, May 1st, July 14th and December 25th

The Museum of Romantic Life

The Museum of Romantic Life, located in the New Athens district, is located in the former residence of Ary Scheffer (1795-1858), a painter of Dutch origin who arrived in Paris in 1811. The State bought the house in 1956 for a symbolic amount and decided to use it to host a cultural institution. The city of Paris acquired the mansion in 1982 to make it an annex to the Carnavalet Museum.

It was not until 1987 that the museum took the name “Museum of Romantic Life” and offered visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the romantic period of the 19th century, with a look at the artists of the time. One of the most pleasant free museums in Paris.

The Fragrance-Fragonard Museum

It is here, at 9 rue Scribe, that Fragonard opened its first Parisian boutique in 1936 and that now stands the Musée du Parfum, opposite the Opéra Garnier. Olfactory and sensory, the free guided tours throughout the year show on the first part, all the steps necessary to create a perfume. Some manufacturing secrets are even revealed. The Fragonard house exhibits its unique collection of bottles, from ancient Egypt to the 20th century, in a magnificent Napoleon III style private mansion.

To complete the visit, the visitor, if he or she so wishes, is invited to slip into the shoes of an apprentice perfumer to leave with his or her own eau de Cologne.

The Shoah Memorial

The Shoah Memorial is open to all free of charge all year round except on Saturdays.

It is a place of memory of the genocide of the Jews dedicated to the Shoah, opened 60 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz camp. You can gather around the tomb of the unknown Jewish martyr and look around at the names of the deported Jews carved on the walls.

Here are the free museums of Paris ready to amaze you and save you money for other activities. All are real treasures of the City of Paris to discover all year round. You have no more excuses, they’re just waiting for you to come. Find all the practical information below.

Find on the map, the location of the free museums of Paris