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The Best Art Museums in Paris – First For Prints Investigates

Three important attractions. The Louvre and Orsay Museums, and the Pompidou Center, have some of the best art collections in the world.

The Louvre Museum – The best art museum in the world is right here in Paris. Popular even before The DaVinci Code, Musee du Louvre has much, much more to offer visitors besides the Mona Lisa. The lower ground floor is famous for its top examples of Egyptian, Greek and Roman Antiquities. The ground floor, with one of the best collections of 16th – 19th century Italian sculptures in the world, also features sculptures from 5th – 18th century France. A museum visitor will find Winged Victory on the stairs to the first floor, and it is this floor which has the Mona Lisa (follow the large, slow-moving crowd) and many other top examples of Italian paintings from the 13th to the 17th century. Art from the Middle Ages and the Restoration also abound. The second floor of the Louvre Museum features German, Flemish and Dutch paintings and drawings, as well as prints, paintings and drawings from 14th-17th century France. Any one of the floors of the Louvre Museum would be a world-class museum on its own. When seen together, it’s almost difficult to get one’s mind around the sheer quantity of these amazing ancient, Medieval and Classical art collections.

The Orsay Museum – Chronologically starting roughly when the art of the Louvre ends, Musee du Orsay provides the link between the Louvre and the Pompidou. The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Periods (mid-19th century to early 20th century) are featured in full splendor at the Orsay Museum; set up to be accessible, yet commanding respect from museum visitors, the Orsay is many Paris travelers’ favorite big museum. The ground floor features the earliest art in the Orsay. Sculptures flank the center aisle here, with Pre-Impressionism works by Degas, Delacroix, Manet, Monet and more among the paintings, drawings and decorative arts on this floor. The middle level has the famous Seine, Rodin, and Lille Terraces, along with paintings and sculptures by Denis, Galle, Klimt, Munch, and other famous artists. The upper level of the Orsay Museum is where the Impressionism and Post-Impressionism art really shines. More Degas, along with Cezanne, Gauguin, Manet, Matisse, Monet, Pissaro, Renoir, Seurat, Van Gogh and Whistler are here, each work of art astonishing in its accessibility. It’s exciting to be amid all these top examples of famous art, and it’s completely acceptable to photograph many of these works, providing the museum guest turns of the camera flash.

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The Pompidou Center – Centre Pompidou is clearly a home for modern art; it’s hard to miss the brightly colored tubes and pipes making up the exterior architecture while walking in its relatively staid Paris neighborhood. The Musee National d’Art Moderne, or Museum of Modern Art, is at the Pompidou, along with a public library and performance spaces. No vacation in Paris is complete, for a modern art buff anyway, without a visit to the Pompidou. The Dada and Surrealism movements are well represented at the Pompidou. Warhol, Jackson Pollack, Rothko, Kandinsky, Miro and Picasso are all featured prominently here, along with Marcel Duchamps and his “ready-made” works of art.

The National Centre for Art and Culture Georges Pompidou was the brainchild of President Georges Pompidou in the heart of Paris to create an original cultural institution entirely dedicated to creating modern and contemporary art where voisineraient with theater, music, movies, books, and the spoken word … Located in the heart of Paris, in an iconic piece of architecture of the twentieth century, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, Pompidou Centre opened in 1977. Renovated from 1997 to December 1999, it opened to the public on 1 January 2000, by offering expanded museum spaces, surfaces and enhanced reception. It is again therefore one of the most visited attractions in France. Some 6 million visitors per year, the Centre Pompidou’s hosted in 30 years, nearly 190 million visitors.

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