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6 Best Impressionist Museums in Paris to Visit

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Paris is renowned for its vibrant art scene and has been a hub for artists and art lovers for centuries. It is also one of the most influential cities in the world when it comes to impressionist art.

From Claude Monet’s water lilies to masterpieces by Renoir, you’ll find some of the best impressionist museums in Paris.

With its unique brushstrokes and focus on capturing life’s fleeting moments, impressionism quickly became popular across all forms of art and still captivates the world today.

Many famous painters, such as Monet, Renoir, and Degas, lived and worked in Paris, making it the center of the impressionist movement.

There is no better place than Paris to really get to experience impressionism at its finest.

In this article, we are sharing the 6 must-see impressionist museums in Paris, where you can experience the beauty and magic of this iconic art movement.

A Brief History of Impressionist Art in Paris 

The impressionist movement was a revolutionary art style that emerged in the mid-1800s and has since become one of the most beloved styles of painting. This movement was born in Paris where many renowned impressionist artists lived and worked.

Often painting en plein air (outside) to capture the essence of natural light, these painters pushed back against traditional techniques to create dreamy landscapes full of vibrant colors and light.

Artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and others are credited with pioneering impressionism in the French capital.

In 1874, these artists held their first exhibition in Paris to showcase this new, controversial style of art.

Surprisingly, the exhibition was not received well by critics. Despite this criticism, impressionism eventually became popular throughout Europe before spreading around the world. To this day it remains one of the most recognizable and beloved artistic movements in history.

What are the Best Impressionist Museums in Paris?

Here is a list of the top 6 impressionist museums in Paris.

1. Musée de L’Orangerie

The Musée de L’Orangerie is one of the most beloved impressionist museums in Paris, renowned for its collection of Claude Monet’s famous water lilies.

Located near the Tuileries Garden in central Paris, the museum was originally commissioned by Napoleon III in 1852 to be used as an indoor garden to store the orange trees during the winter.

The museum officially opened in 1927 and today, the museum is known for its eight large-scale impressionist water lily paintings by Monet.

These masterpieces are located in two oval rooms in the center of the museum that were specially designed for these paintings.

If you love Monet, then this is a must-see museum in Paris. The artworks come to life as they transport you to Monet’s garden in Giverny on a lovely summer day. No photo will ever compare to the feeling of seeing these paintings in person.

The Musée de L’Orangerie also boasts some of the world’s finest impressionist art from other artists such as Renoir and Manet, along with a variety of sculptures, paintings from European artists, such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

Practical Info
Address: Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde (côté Seine), 75001 Paris
Hours: Open Wednesday to Monday from 9:00 am-6:00pm (closed Tuesdays)
Tickets: €12.50 full rate | Reservation recommended | Purchase tickets and find more info on the official museum site.

2. Musée d’Orsay 

The Musée d’Orsay in Paris is one of the world’s best impressionist museums and is a must-see for any impressionist art lover.

Image Credit: Anastasia Collection | Canva

Housed in a former train station station, this museum showcases one of the most extensive collections of impressionist artworks.

From Édouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe to Claude Monet’s Coquelicots and Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette, you will be in constant awe of the number of masterpieces on display at this museum.

The Musée d’Orsay also features many artworks by Vincent Van Gogh, Gaugin, Degas, and sculptures by Rodin.

With its vast collection of impressionist artwork, it’s no wonder why the Musée d’Orsay has become one of the most visited impressionist museums in Europe!

Practical Info
Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30am – 6:00pm (closed Mondays)
Tickets: €16 full rate (online) | €14 full rate (at museum) | Reservations strongly recommended | Purchase tickets and find more info on the official museum site

3. Fondation Monet in Giverny

Monet’s garden in Giverny, France is a must-visit for anyone who wants to experience one of the most lovely gardens in France.

Located just outside of Paris, this stunning estate was the home and workplace of French impressionist painter Claude Monet from 1883 until his death in 1926.

Image Credit: Herbert Frei | Getty Images

Here he created some of his most celebrated works such as his water lilies and Japanese bridge paintings, which were inspired by the lush gardens that surrounded him.

Today, visitors can explore these gardens, marvel at their beauty and appreciate the influence they had on one of impressionism’s greatest masters.

From its vibrant colors to its tranquil atmosphere, Monet’s garden in Giverny offers an unforgettable experience for all those who visit it!

Practical Info
Address: 84 Rue Claude Monet, 27620 Giverny, France
Hours: Open every day from April 1st to November 1st 2023 from 9:30am to 6:00pm, last admission 5:30 pm.
Tickets: €11 full rate | Reservation recommended | Find more info on the official museum site.

4. Musée Marmottan Monet

The Marmottan Musée is a renowned impressionist museum in Paris and is a must-see for impressionist art fans. Located in the 16th arrondissement of the city, it houses one of the world’s most comprehensive impressionist collections.

Named after its founder Paul Marmottan, a passionate art collector and scholar, Marmottan acquired and impressive number of impressionist paintings in his lifetime.

At the museum, you’ll discover the painting that is said to have started the impressionist art movement, Impression Sunrise by Claude Monet. It was painted in 1873 and features a sunrise over Le Havre harbour in France.

The painting is characterized by colorful brushstrokes, and vibrant colors, which capture the impression of a sunrise.

The Marmottan museum is also home to other impressive impressionist artworks, including many of Claude Monet’s water lily paintings.

Practical Info:
Address: 2, Rue Louis-Boilly, 75016 Paris
Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00am – 6:00pm (closed Mondays)
Tickets: 14€ full rate | Reservation recommended | Purchase tickets and find more info on the official museum site.

5. Petit Palais

The Petit Palais, also known as the Académie des Beaux-Arts, is a stunning museum filled with incredible art ranging from the 1st century BC to the 1900s.

Image Credit: DreamArtist | Canva

Originally built in 1900 for the Universal Exposition (World Fair), it was later converted into a museum and opened to the public in 1902.

This remarkable building is not only home to many impressionist masterpieces, but its architecture and murals are also worth admiring.

The Petit Palais boasts intricate details on its exterior walls with beautiful sculptures, including busts of famous figures from Greek mythology, as well as ornate window frames and stone carvings.

Inside the museum, visitors can marvel at the stunning decorative murals on the ceiling depicting historical scenes or admire the vibrant colors used by impressionist painters such as Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley.

The museum is one of the many incredible small museums in Paris, and its vast collection of art, sculptures, and artifacts makes it worthy of a visit!

Practical Info
Address: Avenue Winston-Churchill 75008 Paris
Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00am – 6:00pm (closed Mondays)
Tickets: Free access to permanent collection | Price varies for exhibition access | Find more info on the official museum site.

6. Musée de Montmartre

The Musée de Montmartre is a museum in Paris dedicated to the history of the impressionist art movement. The museum is located in the heart of Montmartre and was established in 1960.

Photo Credit: OSTILL | Getty Images

Originally built in the 17th century, the Bel Air House (which is now the museum), is the oldest building in Montmartre. Many impressionist painters lived and worked in this house, including its most famous resident Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The museum has even dedicated its beautiful gardens to Renoir where he used to spend many of his days painting en plein air, which you can discover for yourself during your visit.

The museum’s permanent collections showcase many lithographs, paintings, and photographs of the artists that played such an important role during the height of the art movement in Montmartre.

While the museum itself may not be as grand as some of the others in Paris, this is an essential stop in understanding the history of impressionism in Paris.

Practical Info:
Address: 12, Rue Cortot 75018 PARIS
Hours: Open everyday from 10:00am – 7:00pm
Tickets: €15 full rate | Purchase tickets and find more info on the official museum website.

Who are the most famous Impressionist Painters? 

Claude Monet

Banks of the Seine, Vétheuil by Claude Monet

Born in 1840, Claude Monet is one of the founders of impressionism. He is widely known for his paintings of water lilies, haystacks, and the Rouen Cathedral. Some of his most renowned works can be seen at the Musée de L’Orangerie and Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Picking Flowers by Pierre-August Renoir

Born in 1841, Pierre-August Renoir is also one of the founder’s of impressionist art. He is best known for is dream like paintings of landscapes and people, such as The Swing on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Édouard Manet

Masked Ball at the Opera by Edouard Manet

Born in 1832, Édouard Manet was inspired by the light strokes and boldness of impressionism. He is perhaps best known for his painting Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. He was also one of the founding members of impressionism.

Edgar Degas

The Rehearsal Onstage by Edgar Degas

Born in 1834, Edgar Degas is widely known for his pastel paintings and impressionist drawings of the ballet. You’ll find many of his paintings, such as La Classe de Danse and Danseuses Bleues at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Camille Pissaro

Boulevard Montmartre on Winter Morning by Camille Pissarro

Born in 1830, Camille Pissaro was a French impressionist artist and one of the pioneers of impressionism. He is probably most well-known for his series of canvases depicting the boulevards and sites of Paris, such as The Boulevard Montmartre and Le Pont Neuf. You’ll find many of his works on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Alfred Sisley

The Meadow by Alfred Sisley

Born in 1839, Alfred Sisley was known for his impressionistic landscapes of Paris and the surrounding countryside, as well as scenes from Venice and London. Some of his most famous works can be seen at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, including La Neige à Louveciennes and Le Canal du Loing.

Map of Impressionist Museums in Paris 

Here is a map of the best impressionist museums in Paris. If you select the icon on the left with the arrow, you will see a list of all of the museums. Select which one you’d like to visit and the address will show up with more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What impressionist artworks can be seen in Paris?

You will find endless impressionist artworks in Paris at many of the city’s incredible museums. Some of the most famous paintings that can be see in Paris include Impression Sunrise by Claude Monet, Dejeuner sur L’herbe and Olympia by Edouard Manet, Bal du moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and The Boulevard Montmartre at Night by Camille Pissarro.

What impressionist museums are located in Paris?

The Marmottan Musée offers an impressive collection of impressionist style paintings, including Monet’s Impression Sunrise, and several of his water lily paintings.

The Petit Palais houses works from impressionists such as Monet, Pissarro, Sisley and Manet.

The Musée de Montmartre features lithographs, sketches and photographs inspired by many famous impressionist artists that lived there, including Renoir.

The Musée d’Orsay is home to the world’s largest collection of impressionist artworks. Here you’ll find works by the most renowned artists, such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, and more.

The Musée de L’Orangerie is home to Monet’s eight water lily panels, as well as art from other famous European artists, such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

Where can I see Monet paintings in Paris?

Paris is the best city in the world to see Monet paintings. To see Monet’s iconic water lily paintings, head to the Orangerie Museum to view his incredible large-scale panels in person.

To view the painting that is credited for starting the impressionist movement, as well as many of his other masterpieces, visit the Musée Marmottan Monet.

For a variety of Monet’s work, you must visit the Musée d’Orsay, the best impressionist museum in Paris.

Where would you go in France to see impressionist paintings?

The best place to see impressionist paintings in France is at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The Musée d’Orsay in Paris is widely considered to be the best impressionist museum in the world.

Located on the left bank of the Seine, it houses the largest collection of impressionist artworks from some of the most renowned artists, such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Edouard Manet and Alfred Sisley.

The permanent collections feature paintings, sketches and sculptures that capture the essence of impressionism during its heyday in Montmartre.

A visit to Musée d’Orsay is essential for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding into impressionism’s influence on modern art.

Final Thoughts: The Best Impressionist Museums in Paris

We hope this guide to the best impressionist museums in Paris was helpful! Whether you’re wanting to see the best art by Claude Monet or take a walk through art history in Montmartre, there are endless options to experience the beauty and brilliance of impressionist artworks up close.

While Paris may have an incredible array of museums to see impressionist artworks, don’t forget to check out these wonderful fashion museums and hidden small museums as well!

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