Paris is obviously known for its historic art scene, it's inexhaustible galleries and vast museums. However, even as someone who is looking for a career in the arts, this can seem overwhelming. Rather, I have found more comfort and delight in some of the smaller and more intimate settings around the city. Here are my three favorite (so far) museums in Paris that I highly recommend if you are visiting.
P.S. They are all free to students!
Musée de la vie romantique
16 Rue Chaptal, 75009 Paris
Situated in the 9th arrondissement in the Nouvelle Athènes neighborhood, the Musée de la Vie Romantique is a boutique museum. The exhibits are installed in the minimally modernized and completely lovely former home of painter Adry Scheffer. The entrance is a bit hidden along a side road, and there is a small path that leads to the courtyard between the few buildings that make up the space. It really feels like walking into a secret world.
It has some personal collections as well as travelling exhibits that feature mainly 19th century romantic art, however, the rotating expositions can feature more contemporary art as well. The outdoor space is just as charming as inside, including a few sculptures and a garden. There is also a very chic café in a former green house. Both the atmosphere and the pastries are great. This is a great museum for any situation, whether it's solo, with family, or on a date.
14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld, 75009 Paris
The Musée Gustave-Moreau is also located in the Novelle Athènes neighborhood of the 9th arrondissement. And likewise, it is in the former three-story home of the artist for which it is named. Gustave Moreau was a symbolic painter with a style inspired by the italian renaissance, biblical stories, and exoticism. Altogether, he created tens of thousands of art works. The museum houses approximately 14,000 paintings, sculptures, and sketches from Moreau. So even though it is a relatively small place for one artist, there is always something new to see and more details to catch.
It's an intimate space full of genius, and a bit off the beaten trail of many other parisian museums.
77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
Okay, so this one is pretty well known...the fame of Rodin, housing The Thinker and other internationally known pieces, and it's proximity to Les Invalides makes it a fairly popular spot. However, while it is bigger than the other two I've described, this artist's home-turned-museum has a great atmosphere. It is overflowing with pieces by Rodin as well as other works he collected during his life, including some paintings by Van Gogh and a bizarre sculpture of a small man with a big hat on a deer that the curators have tried their best to fit in with the rest of the artistic flow. All of the windows make it feel open and airy while there remains a sense of intimacy with the artist.
What really makes this a great place to spend a sunny afternoon, though, is the beautiful garden out back. There are some more sculptures, a fountain, a very traditionally french-styled lawn, and a chic (albeit expensive) café. It is wonderful for sitting and studying, sunbathing, or enjoying a coffee and croissant with a view of the dome of Les Invalides.