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 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.
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.
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.
A private museum located in the home of French art collectors Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart, the museum houses their art collection.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Another of my favorites is Musée Gustave Moreau.
- Can’t get to Paris? You can still experience its art online.
- Check out 18 non-touristy things to do in Paris.
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.