Arts

Paris Museums Online: Art You Can Enjoy From Anywhere

by Ali Postma

A lot of us are on COVID-19 lockdown at the moment, and some have had travel plans disrupted. If you were planning on visiting Paris but are now unable to, you don’t have to forego the sightseeing entirely. You can still explore the city’s famed museums and art galleries from your own home, thanks to the Internet. COVID-19 aside, these virtual experiences are also great for those with limited mobility. So click through to add a bit of Parisian art and culture in your life, no matter where you are.

A brunette girl in a white t-shirt and green pants, wearing white sneakers, sitting on a bench seat in the Louvre Museum. She is looking away from the camera to an inner sculpture courtyard.
Top: Oscar Helgstrand. Above: Mika Baumeister

Musée du Louvre

Head to the Musée du Louvre’s website to discover a selection of must-see artworks from their collection, organized thematically. You can also explore their curatorial departments.

Go on a virtual tour of the Petite Galerie. The exhibition “The Advent of the Artist” examines the artist’s transition from the typically anonymous craftsman in the Classical period to the heroic or legendary artist figure of the Renaissance.

Left: Leonardo de Vinci's Mona Lisa painting hanging on a wall in the Louvre Museum with people standing in front of it. One is listening to an audio device, another is taking a photo of the painting. They are out of focus. Right: a black and white photograph of two women walking outside the Louvre Museum. One is walking a dog. The photo is taken from behind.
Zach Dyson / Steven Lasry

The Louvre has an app that introduces you to the Mona Lisa via your smartphone. Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass is a virtual reality experience that reveals new scientific research on Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous masterpiece.

Musée D’Orsay

The Musée D’Orsay has a great YouTube channel full of videos in both French and English. For example, their English “Une œuvre, un regard”  series is released every Tuesday and allows you to discover the vision of a contemporary figure—an artist, writer, philosopher, designer, musician, actor, film or theater director, or scientist—via an artwork chosen from the collections of the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie.

The outside of the D'Orsay Museum, on the Seine river in Paris. The sky is blue with some clouds, the sun is shining, the trees along the river are green. There is a boat going down the river.
Inha Bae

There’s also the “Orsay en movement” series, which features short films shot at the Musée d’Orsay and offers details on artistic movements that arose between 1848-1914.

Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou also has a YouTube channel. Most of the videos are in French if you’re lucky enough to be a French-speaker, but there are some exceptions. For example, “Chefs-d’oeuvre #PompidouVIP” is a series of short videos that invite you to discover some of the most important modern and contemporary artists from the Centre Pompidou’s collection.

A blonde woman wearing a yellow poncho, black jeans, and brown boots and handbag is walking down a glass cylindrical corridor in Centre Pompidou. The photo is taken from behind.
David Mitchell

If you missed the exhibition of renowned British painter Francis Bacon, which closed on January 20 this year, don’t worry: You can have an exclusive tour of the exhibition with the curator himself.

Also available in English are a series of podcasts. If you didn’t get to the exhibition of Christian Boltanski, which closed on March 16, you can listen to a podcast that explores notions that are essential to his art. The exhibition of Christo and Jeanne-Claude was due to start on March 18, instead listen to an exclusive interview about Christo’s artistic debut in Paris, his working process, and the adventure of wrapping the Pont-Neuf. You can also listen a tour through the collections, and the galleries of the 20th century.

A blonde woman standing infant of a Rothko painting. She's wearing a denim jacket and has a red ribbon in her hair. The Rothko painting is dark red with a black square.
Pauline Loroy

Musée Rodin 

Musée Rodin has a page on its website dedicated to #culturecheznous. This page features plenty of resources; for example, you can immerse yourself in the mystery of, and learn more about, Rodin’s masterpiece La Porte de l’Enfer. You can explore Rodin’s collection of Egyptian art and antiquities before the upcoming 2021 exhibition “Rodin and Egypt.” Read the timeline of Rodin’s life and discover the trials and tribulations that defined him as an artist. Finally, explore the museum collections and even watch videos on how to create a sculpture

Left: A woman standing in front of a window at the D'Orsay Museum. The window is actually a large clock face, with Roman numerals and clock hands. The photo is taken from behind and she and the clock face are silhouetted. Right: the inner sculpture courtyard at the Louvre Museum. The photo is taken from up high, looking down. There are archways and windows along the walls. There are trees in pots, white sculptures, and some people. The sun shines in from the glass roof onto the wall.
Hannah Busing / Tanya Prodan

Google Arts and Culture

Google Arts and Culture is an incredible resource created by the Google Cultural Institute. You can discover artworks, collections, and stories from 500 cultural organizations around the world, from museums to historic sites. You can view entire exhibitions and walk through museums and sites using Google Street View. From France, you can explore the Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée du Quai Branly, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Opéra National de Paris, Grand Palais, Palais de Tokyo, and even Château de Versailles.

Left: the interior of D'Orsay Museum. It's a long room with an arched largely glass roof. The walls are engraved with a repetitive flower motif. The photo is taken from up high, looking down. There are sculptures along the first floor and the mezzanine above it, and there are lots of people. Right: Leonardo de Vinci's Mona Lisa painting hanging in the Louvre Museum. There are some people in front, looking at the painting. Their heads are out of focus.
Tim Wildsmith / Eric Terrade

Paris Musées

Launched on January 8, 2020, Paris Musées offers 150,000 high-definition digital reproductions of artworks from 14 Paris museums. Only reproductions of 2D works that are not copyright restricted are currently available, but each reproduction is free to download. You will receive a high-definition image of the work as well as a document providing information and an explanation of the work. Museums include the Musée d’Art Moderne, Petit Palais, Musée Cognacq-Jay, and Musée Carnavalet.

Left: A woman with short blonde hair wearing glasses, a black jacket, and cross-body bag is standing in front of a painting by Yves Klein in Centre Pompidou. The painting is an abstract expressionist piece and is bright blue. The photo is taken from behind. Right: the same blonde woman is looking at a framed painting of flowers in front of a window in Centre Pompidou. To her right is another framed painting.
Pauline Loroy

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Written by Ali Postma for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a  fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.

Written By

Ali Postma

Ali is from Melbourne, Australia, where she studied Art History and Art Curatorship at university and worked in various art galleries. Passionate about all things arts and culture, she loves French film, Nordic noir, photography, street art and architecture. Addicted to pain au chocolat, Ali is fulfilling her dream of living in Paris. View Ali Postma's Website

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