As the reigning French capital of art and culture, it isn’t surprising that Paris houses some of the world’s best museums. From the Louvre to the Musee d’Orsay, the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Grand Palais, many of the year’s most-attended exhibits– and revered fine-art collections– are held in Paris. Whether you wish to take in Degas’ sublime pastel dancers, bask in Monet’s water lilies or admire oddly beautiful, albeit alien, portraits from Modigliani, the city is a treasure trove for art lovers. Architecture fans will also be fascinated with recent arrivals such as the Fondation Louis Vuitton: its magnificent, boldly contemporary structure from celebrated architect Frank Gehry certainly counts as a work of art in its own right.
Interested in more than the art? Some museums– including the aforementioned newcomer to the Parisian arts scene — offer visitors much more than world-class collections and exhibits. They boast luxurious amenities and services that greatly enhance any high-end getaway to the metropolis. Whether you’re interested in browsing luxury boutiques before or after catching an exhibit, dining in an acclaimed gastronomic restaurant with views of the city, taking high tea on a rooftop or renting the breathtaking premises of a prestigious museum for your private event, these 18 Paris museums offer so much more than paintings, photos and sculptures. Read on to learn how to make the most of these exceptional places in the capital.
As one of the world’s great luxury capitals, Paris has nearly infinite riches to offer, including in the realm of arts, culture, and architecture. These remarkable museums are essential to any high-end getaway, and some are perfect for a private event. Just contact us to make your dream a reality.
Not only does the Musée du Louvre hold some of the world’s most-revered works of art– from the Mona Lisa to The Raft of the Medusa and Eugene Delacroix’ Liberty Leading the People-– it’s also a historic site of royal splendour and power, as the former Palace of the monarchs of France. This prestigious setting is an obvious choice for luxurious amenities including a high-end shopping centre, chic brasseries and a high-end tearoom.
If you’ve only got a day or two in Paris and want to get in a little luxury shopping as you explore the major sights, the Carrousel du Louvre is an excellent choice. The high-end shopping centre– which is open seven days a week– is situated underneath the glass pyramid that serves as the public entrance to the Louvre, and boasts 34 boutiques. For men’s and women’s fashion, beeline to the Printemps Louvre, Lacoste, or Sandro. For accessories, bags and home items, try Bickici, Fossil, Lancel or the Carrousel Collection boutique. Luxury perfumers with boutiques in the centre include Jo Malone London and Fragonard; for gourmet chocolate patisseries, and fine food items, head to Maxim’s, Comtesse du Barry, and Maille. There’s also a full Apple Store and a selection of casual eateries, including a Mariage Freres French tearoom.
For fine dining before or after exploring the museum’s extraordinary collections, the Cafe Marly is an excellent choice. It offers superb views over the glass Pyramid designed by I.M. Pei, and serves a variety of gastronomic French dishes. For chic afternoon tea, pastries or some of the city’s richest and creamiest hot chocolate, meanwhile, try the elegant salon du thé, Cafe Richelieu/Angelina.
Finally, the Louvre frequently opens its doors for private corporate events, offering a superb backdrop for a company anniversary or other key event.
With its mesmerising design from Frank Gehry, the Fondation Louis Vuitton opened with much fanfare in 2014, at the edge of Paris’ elegant Bois de Boulogne. Already recognised as one of the French capital’s most-breathtaking 21st-century structures, the Fondation resembles a futuristic vessel, with its 12 ethereal glass “sails” bending into an imaginary wind. For modern and contemporary arts fans, it is a welcome addition to the capital’s arts scene.
Inside, architecture fans will appreciate the incredible curved lines so iconic to Gehry’s organically inspired design, and the light that floods in through the abundant glass makes exhibit-going here especially pleasant. Shows that have drawn huge crowds include retrospectives on Henri Matisse and “Being Modern: MOMA in Paris”. The entire space can be privatised for a special event or celebration (contact us to learn more and create your own).
In addition to world-class exhibits and events, the Fondation’s gastronomic French restaurant, Le Frank, offers an ideal setting for a casual but elegant lunch, tea or more formal evening dinner. Glowing orange fish designed by Gehry himself float above from the ceiling, as if the entire restaurant were plunged in water; the large windows offer pleasant views over the trees and ponds of the Bois de Boulogne.
Looking for a more exclusive culinary experience in Paris? The Fondation hosts weekly thematic gastronomic dinners specially designed by chef Jean-Louis Nomicos; these may be based around a champagne, an artistic movement, a color or the home country of an artist currently exhibited at the foundation. Wine pairings are included. Reservations must be made well in advance: you can book here.
Inaugurated under the patronage of former French President Jacques Chirac in 2006, the Musee du Quai Branly has earned both acclaim and criticism for its collections dedicated to the arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. The (somewhat controversial) permanent exhibits and temporary shows are certainly worth a morning or afternoon, and the innovative architecture from Jean Nouvel, featuring a lush green wall facing the Seine, are celebrated by the ecologically-minded.
But the standout feature for luxury fans at this relative newcomer to the French capital is the rooftop restaurant, Les Ombres, with its breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower and numerous other city landmarks. Many have reported that the views here are some of the very best in the city, offering a superbly romantic, and luxurious, setting for an evening of fine dining. The restaurant can also be hired for private events and glamorous soirees. With views like these, you can bet that this spot is in high demand for exclusive evenings, Parisian-style.
For scent aficionados, this museum is an essential stop in any luxury stay in Paris. The Musee Fragonard, located in close reach of the elegant Palais Garnier (the former opera house, now home to the National Ballet) often gets overlooked by tourists. But it shouldn’t.
Not only can you learn all about the history of French perfume-making, from the medieval origins to the present day: you can also attend a “Perfumer’s Apprentice Workshop” that will leave you with your own hand-blended, bespoke scent, admire gorgeous old bottles and vials from decades past, and shop for signature fragrances at the adjoining boutique. Fragonard is by far one of France’s most-revered scent-makers, so a morning or afternoon exploring this little-known museum and perhaps coming away with the perfect perfume for your tastes is definitely something we recommend for luxury-minded visitors.
Last but most certainly not least, Paris’ 14 municipal museums— from the Art-Deco splendour of the Petit Palais to the Musee Carnavalet, the Catacombes and the Asian-arts themed Cernuschi museum– can be privatised for an unforgettable personal or company event. Private tours with museum curators around the permanent exhibits are available, too, adding a special cultural dimension to the event.
The thematic possibilities here are abundant. Whether you wish to organise a company soiree themed around the history of France at the Musee Carnavelet, a private anniversary or honeymoon celebration with an Asian-inspired decor at the Cernuschi, or a cocktail and live music event at the chic Palais Galliera, home of the Paris Fashion Museum, one of these elegant city-run museums are likely to fit your desired backdrop and theme. To make yours come to life, get in touch with us to organise your next unforgettable company event in Paris.
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Inspired by some of these places? If you’re ready to start designing your own entirely bespoke tour of Paris and take advantage of its countless cultural and artistic riches, contact us. We’ll expertly design your tour or exclusive event in the French capital.
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