Every first Sunday of the month all the national museums are free, permanent collections as well as temporary exhibitions. Aside from those museums you can also visit, for FREE and at ANYTIME, the PERMANENT COLLECTIONS of the MUNICIPAL(city-run) MUSEUMS, such as the Musée d’Art Moderne, Maison de Balzac, Musée Bourdelle, Musée Carnavalet, Musée Cernuschi, Musée Cognacq-Jay, Musée du Petit Palais, Maison de Victor Hugo, Musée de la Vie Romantique, Musée Zadkine, Pavillon de l’Arsenal and Le Plateau.
So, admission to Paris municipal museums is free for all, except for the temporary exhibitions as well as the Catacombes, Notre-Dame’s Crypte, the Musée des Egouts and Musée Galliera.
Please note that all the municipal museums are closed on holidays (January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, May 8th, Ascension, Pentecostal Sunday, July 14th, August 15th, November 1st, November 11th, December 25th.)
Also, a small window of free access in the following museums:
La Maison Européenne de la Photographie offers free admission on Wednesday from 5pm-8pm.
Le Musée des Arts et Métiers offers free admission on Thursday from 6pm-9.30pm.
A big lofty space exhibiting Paris’ past, present and future city planning and architectural projects. Drawings, photographs and models illustrating those projects from a regional scale, to the city, neighborhood and all the way down to the street one. Check out the temporary exhibitions on the 1st floor about Parisian houses, the haussmannian Paris or housing in Paris, and the News Gallery showcasing the latest trends in architecture.
Check out the museum’s library, the Bar à Journeaux. It focuses on Paris, it’s architecture and urban design. It is open to the public (free access) and offers books, trade papers, tabloids, periodicals, thematic dossiers and geographical reports.
Pavillon de l’Arsenal
21 Boulevard Morland
Closed on Monday, January 1st.
Le Bar à Journeaux
Entrance on the 2nd floor, via the exhibition hall.
Located on the second floor of the Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée, on the place des Vosges, this museum used to be Victor Hugo’s home from 1832 to 1848. Each room is dedicated to a specific period of his life and offers, through manuscripts, first editions, drawings, paintings, sculptures, cabinets and photography an insight into the writer’s life. He wrote Les Misérables while residing there.
Free permanent collection. There is a fee for the temporary exhibitions.
Maison de Victor Hugo
6 Place des Vosges
Metro: Bastille, Saint-Paul
Closed on Monday
Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle (World Expo), this is Paris’ first municipal museum. It houses a collection of art spanning from the Antiquity to the early 20th century. The artwork is displayed as to reveal the influence of prominent artistic movements through time and the diversity of aesthetic trends. Free permanent collection and free access to the garden and café-restaurant Le Jardin du Petit Palais. There is an entrance fee for the temporary exhibitions. Free permanent collection.
Musée du Petit Palais - Musée des Beaux-Arts de la ville de Paris
Avenue Winston Churchill
Metro: Champs-Elysées - Clémenceau
Tues-Sun: 10am-6pm (Ticket window closes at 5.45pm)
Closed on Monday
Pupil of Rodin and teacher of Giacometti, sculptor Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) lived and worked here. The museum houses an unmatched collection of his work: monumental bronzes, plaster and marble sculptures.
The permanent collection is free when there are no temporary exhibitions. Temporary exhibitions are €7.
18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle
Closed on Monday
“Foucault’s original pendulum, which he used in 1855 to prove the world turns on its axis, is among the 80,000 instruments, machines and working models displayed at Europe’s oldest science and technology museum.” Check out the Metro station bearing the same name as the museum, it is made out of copper panels and is definitely one of Paris’ most beautiful.
Regular opening hours fee at 6.50€.
Free admission for all on Thursday from 6pm-9.30pm only.
Le Musée des Arts et Métiers
60 rue Réaumur
Metro: Arts-et-Métiers, Réaumur-Sébastopol
Tues-Sun: 10am-6pm (until 9.30pm on Thursday)
Closed on Monday, May 1, Decembre 25
This museum is particularly precious for its rose garden, a little heaven of quietness tucked away from the busy streets of Paris. The perfect place, from Spring until the end of Summer, to sip hibiscus iced-tea while reading your favorite novel or writing postcards to your friends. Home of the portraitist Ary Scheffer, this 19th-century hôtel particulier—Hôtel Scheffer-Renan—saw a lot of famous artists such as Delacroix, Géricault, George Sand, Chopin, Rossini, Dickens… It is today a museum dedicated to the works of the painter Ary Scheffer himself as well as the ones of neighbor and friend George Sand.
Free permanent collection. Temporary exhibitions from 3.30€ to 9€.
Musée de la Vie Romantique
16 Rue Chaptal
Metro: Pigalle, Blanche, Saint-Georges
Closed on Monday
Housed in the 18th-century Hôtel Hénault de Cantobre this museum is the Parisian reference in terms of international contemporary photography from the 1950’s until today, with a collection of over 20000 photogrpahs. The temporary exhibits feature photographers such as Depardon, Larry Clark, Annie Leibovitz, Irving Penn, Salgado…
Free admission for all on Wednesday from 5pm-8pm only.
Maison Européenne de la Photographie
5-7 Rue de Fourcy
W-Sun: 11am-8pm (ticket window closes at 7.30pm)
Closed on Monday and Tuesday