Arts

Paris’s Best Non-Touristy Museums

by Ali Postma

If you’ve been to Paris before, chances are you’ve done all the big museums. Or perhaps you’ve never been to Paris, but the thought of waiting in never-ending lines to jostle amongst other tourists trying to get a selfie with the Mona Lisa doesn’t appeal to you. Luckily, there are many excellent alternatives, namely artist house/studio museums. These are places that artists once lived and worked, and are now museums. They are smaller, but still rich in content. They are less touristy, and all the more perfect for a leisurely culture fix.

Musée de Montmartre

Left and right, the garden of the Musée Montmartre in Paris, featuring the oldest house in the area.
Top: Musée Jacquemart-André © Culturespaces / Sophie Lloyd. Above: Musée de Montmartre © J.-P. Delagarde

The Musée de Montmartre claims it is le plus charmant de Paris (the most charming in Paris), and I certainly agree. This lovely little museum is located in a quiet back street of Montmartre, and considering the popularity of the area with tourists, is surprisingly quiet. The museum takes you on a journey through the history of Montmartre and the many artists who lived and worked there. Surrounded by the pretty Jardins de Renoir, which feature in several paintings by the artist, they include the oldest house in Montmartre.

Left, the garden of the Musée Montmartre in Paris, featuring the oldest house in the area. Right, the atelier of Suzanne Valadon at the museum.
Musée de Montmartre – Ali Postma

Inside, the museum remains the original studio of Suzanne Valadon, the mother of artist Maurice Utrillo, who I knew little about before visiting the museum. While she was the muse of many male painters, including Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Valadon was also a respected painter herself. She became the first woman painter to be part of the Société nationale des beaux-arts. Before you leave, wander through the garden and get a rare view of the Montmartre vineyard.

Left, the garden of the Musée Montmartre in Paris, featuring the oldest house in the area. Right, a painting of flowers in a vase inside the atelier of Suzanne Valadon at the museum.
Musée de Montmartre – Ali Postma

Musée Jacquemart-André

A private museum located in the home of French art collectors Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart, the museum houses their art collection.

Left and right, the beautiful interiors of the Musée Jacquemart-André, which is an ornate hotel particulier in the 8th district of Paris.
Musée Jacquemart-André © Culturespaces / Antoine Bonin

Visitors can discover both the interiors of this 19th-century hôtel particulier (private mansion), as well as temporary exhibitions. My favorite room would have to be the gorgeous Winter Garden with all its plants, mirrors, and marble, featuring numerous sculptures, frescoes, and a double helix staircase.

Left and right, the beautiful interiors of the Musée Jacquemart-André, which is an ornate hotel particulier in the 8th district of Paris.
Musée Jacquemart-André © Culturespaces A. Meysonnier / Sophie Lloyd

Musée Bourdelle

Musée Bourdelle is a museum dedicated to the work of French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. Located in the heart of Montparnasse, this museum features Bourdelle’s original apartment from 1885, as well as his beautiful sculpture studio.

Left and right, the sculptures inside the Musée Bourdelle, a museum dedicated to the work of French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle.
Musée Bourdelle – Ali Postma

Remaining in its original state, the studio contains a range of works in wood, marble, and bronze. There is also the Great Hall, which houses Bourdelle’s monumental plaster casts, and a peaceful sculpture garden displaying his bronze statues. 

Left, the sculptures inside the Musée Bourdelle, a museum dedicated to the work of French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. Right, the leafy gardens and sculptures of the Musée Bourdelle.
Musée Bourdelle – Ali Postma

Musée National Eugene Delacroix

Located on one of the prettiest squares in Paris, Place de Fürstenberg, this museum is dedicated to the French artist Eugene Delacroix. Delacroix is renowned for his iconic painting “Liberty Leading the People.” While this painting hangs in the Louvre, the museum boasts over a thousand artworks by Delacroix—paintings, drawings, prints, writings—and objects that belonged to him, as well as artworks created by artists who admired him. Like the Musée de Montmartre and Musée Bourdelle, this museum includes Delacroix’s original studio. Why did Delacroix choose to live here? The idyllic garden hidden from street view, without a doubt.

Left, a glimpse inside artist Eugene Delacroix's former residence, now a museum. Right, the gardens of the museum in Paris.
Musée National Eugene Delacroix © Musée du Louvre / Olivier Ouadah

Addresses

Musée de Montmartre – 12 Rue Cortot, 75018 Paris

Musée Jacquemart-André – 158 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris

Musée Bourdelle – 18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015 Paris

Musée National Eugene Delacroix – 6 Rue de Furstemberg, 75006 Paris

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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

One comment on “Paris’s Best Non-Touristy Museums

christie petitjean

yours is the best blog on Paris I’ve seen and I appreciate the way you link in other stories. Keep up the great work!!

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