I realize that the title of this article may seem a bit overly enthusiastic, but I can’t help it. The museums of Paris, along with cinemas, theatres, and restaurants, have been closed since October. October! And yes, I know, some people may not share my level of enthusiasm about museums, which is fine. But I truly love them. I love the history they tell and the culture they share. I love getting a glimpse into art movements, countries, and time periods that I know nothing about. The sheer abundance of museums in Paris is one of the things I cherish about living in this city, but I never knew how much I’d miss them until they closed their doors for nearly seven months. But starting tomorrow, their doors will be open once more, and I am beyond excited. Below are the museums that are at the top of my list to visit for Paris’ grand re-opening.
The Louvre – Body and Soul: Italian Renaissance Sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo
I know what you’re probably thinking. Of all the incredible museums to choose from in Paris, she’s starting with the Louvre? It may seem like an obvious pick, but the Louvre is one of the most famous museums in the world for a reason. There are over 380,000 objects on display, meaning that in all my many visits, I still have yet to scratch the surface of what there is to discover. But more importantly, because the Louvre is one of the biggest museums in the world, it can host exhibitions that few others can. Body and Soul: Italian Renaissance Sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo was supposed to open last summer, but due to the pandemic, it was delayed to this year. Meaning I have been waiting to see this exhibition for nearly two years at this point. And yes, I already have my ticket.
Musée Cernuschi – Journey Along the Kisokaidō: From Hiroshige to Kuniyoshi
This was the exhibition that I tried to see last fall before everything shut down, but unfortunately for me, it was completely sold out. I still had a wonderful time exploring the rest of the Musée Cernuschi, but I was hoping that the exhibition would continue whenever it was that museums finally re-opened. Luckily for me, it was recently announced that Journey Along the Kisokaidō will run through August 8th, but I’m not taking any chances this time. Once again, I already have my ticket.
Musée Méliès – A Brand New Discovery
The Cinémathèque Française certainly has been busy during lockdown, because when everything re-opens, they are unveiling an entirely new museum. The Musée Méliès is dedicated to Georges Méliès, the French film director who innovated many of the special effects we know and love in movies today. He was a pioneer of the genre of science fiction, as well as the medium of cinema as a whole, and his legacy is still felt in the film industry today. The Musée Méliès will showcase many exclusive archives of Méliès, and I for one can’t wait to discover this latest edition to the museums of Paris.
Musée de Montmartre – Le Paris de Dufy
The Musée Montmartre is one of those museums that has been on my “to see” list for years, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to visit. But after seven months of no museums, I’m never taking culture for granted again, and therefore I’m making the trip as soon as I can. This museum will be re-opening with an exhibition of the work of Raoul Dufy, an artist who once lived in the building that the museum now occupies. Sounds perfect for my first visit!
The Musée Carnavalet is finally re-opening!
The Musée Carnavalet is the museum of the history of Paris itself, and therefore it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve wanted to visit this museum for years. Unfortunately, it has been under renovation since 2016, meaning I’ve only been able to glance longingly through the bars of its gate every time I’ve passed by. But not anymore! After being closed for years, the Musée Carnavalet is finally re-opening, and I couldn’t be more excited. I will have to wait a little bit longer, as its re-opening is not scheduled until May 29th, but after waiting nearly five years, I think I can handle ten days.
Bonus – Napoléon: L’Exposition
The Grand Hall at the Parc de la Villette is not technically a museum. But it is a massive exhibit hall that has hosted incredible exhibitions over the years. This summer, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Napoléon’s death, they are going all out with what is being called one of the cultural highlights of the summer. This exhibition is being presented in partnership with the Grand Palais, and has borrowed objects from nearly every major museum in the country. I can’t wait to see how they depict the life of one of France’s most revered but controversial figures. And yes. Once again, I already have my ticket.
Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.