Well, France is by far one of the most museum-friendly countries and this is not only so because it is a country with a scintillating history, but also because it strives to put itself on the world map by expanding constantly in terms of cultural establishments. These, of course, not only include museums but those are what we are going to look at today. Let us see some of those grandiose ones that scream to the skies: “Come, visit me!”
1. Musée d’Orsay:
Yes, as you may have already guessed, we are going to kick the list off with the majestic capital of France. Paris’ Musée d’Orsay was established in 1986 at Rue de Lille 75343. The building that was supposed to house it had originally been a railway station (Gare d’Orsay) but the transition into what it is today was smooth, seamless and, as we may all see, worth it. The museum contains mostly French art pieces (paintings, sculptures, furniture and even photography) pertaining to the interval of time between 1848 and 1914. That interval has inevitably ended up including a vast collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works. Many of the creations that now rest within the bounds of the current establishment have originally been harboured by the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume. The Musée d’Orsay represents grandmasters like Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri-Edmond Cross, Paul Cézanne, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Georges Seurat, Alfred Sisley, Paul Gauguin, and Dutch-born Vincent van Gogh. We encourage you to be one of the 3 million people who visit it yearly. Oh, and even though we have already mentioned Vincent van Gogh, make sure you keep an eye out for his world-famous “Starry Night over the Rhone” painting for it is simply spectacular.
2. Palace of Versailles:
Also known as Château de Versailles, this majestic landmark cannot be called only a museum for it is a giant edifice with varying sections. Built by King Louis XIII in 1623, the palace occupies a massive land area of 67,000 square metres. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, it is not only famous for its architectural marvels but also for its status of being one of the most adamant symbols of absolute monarchy. The palace has multiple sections that we recommend that you thoroughly explore: the Grands appartements (State Apartments), the Appartement du roi (King’s Apartment), the Petit appartement du roi (King’s Private Apartment), the Petit appartement de la reine (Queen’s Private Apartment), the Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors – a fascinating sight that can only be experienced in a handful of places around the globe, so do not miss it by any chance), the Chapels of Versailles, the Royal Opera and, of course, its cultural jewel, the Museum of the History of France. The latter gallery is 120 metre long and 13 metres long and it occupies the first floor of the palace. Being an epigone of the Grande Galerie of the Louvre, it was primarily established to glorify the French military history. It houses some of the most renowned busts pertaining to the past of France such as that of Prince Józef Antoni Poniatowski, Adolphe Édouard Casimir Joseph Mortier, Simon de Montfort (the 5th Earl of Leicester), Nicolas Béhuchet, and even Hugues Quieret. Famous battle-paintings include: the Battle of Hohenlinden, the Second Battle of Zürich, the Battle of Rivoli, the Battle of Poitiers, and many others. This is an absolute must-visit if you wish to delve deeper into the significance of the past of France.
3. Musée de l’air et de l’espace:
We know how much tourists like to visit aerospace museums and for this particular reason, we decided to showcase Paris’ Musée de l’air et de l’espace (Air and Space Museum). Situated proudly at the south-eastern rim of Le Bourget Airport, the establishment was inaugurated in 1919. Created at the behest of the greatest French engineer ever to live, Albert Irénée Caquot, the establishment has multiple exhibitions: the Grand Gallery (showcasing Antoinette VII, Blériot XI, Voisin-Farman No 1, and Santos-Dumont Demoiselle aircrafts), the Between the Wars and Light Aviation Hall (exhibiting a Farman Goliath and a Oiseau Blanc), the World War II Hall (displaying a Bücker Bü 181, a Dewoitine D.520, a Douglas DC-3 cockpit, a Focke-Wulf Fw 190, a North American P-51 Mustang, a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, a V-1 flying bomb, and others), the Rosette Hall (boasting with three Dassault aircrafts and a Sud Aviation Vautour), the Prototype Hall (showcasing a Dassault Balzac V, a Leduc 0.10, a Nord 1500 Griffon, a SNCASO Trident, and a Sud-Ouest SO.6000 Triton), the Concorde Hall (displaying a Dassault Mirage IV, a Dassault Mirage 4000, and a Eurocopter X3) and, of course, the Tarmac/Exterior Exhibit (with its Boeing 747 and two models: the Ariane 1 and the Ariane 5). If you long for a museum that will surely amaze you with its variety and educational value, choose this one without a heartbeat’s worth of hesitation.
Did you enjoy our list? How many of the aforementioned establishments have you visited and how many of them are you planning on hopping over to? Hit the comment section below and share your experiences for we are eager to hear about them. Oh, and do make sure to check back from time to time to see if you find some more content to your liking. Safe travels!