Learn how to make Paris more affordable! For one week, I visited 11 exhibitions in the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou and five more museums without payment. The post is about how to wisely organize visits to the most expensive Paris attractions to save money for French desserts))
Paris has a dozen of always free museums and most others offer free admissions just to some categories of visitors. The first Sunday of every month is the best solution for everyone. But you need to consider some details and plan properly to escape lines.
I began from the Louvre, with the most expensive entrance fee, 17 €. Last year they replaced free monthly Sundays with free Friday evenings (from 6 to 8 pm). This reduced visiting times but allowed freeing up Sunday for other Paris attractions.
To avoid the legendary Louvre line, I came two hours earlier, waited inside reading in a cosy warm hall and entered the exhibitions with the first visitors. Two full hours for enjoying masterpieces!
The multimedia display in the basement Pavillon de l’Horloge From fortress to the royal residence was the most unusual exhibition. It showed the building transformation for the last seven centuries.
In the Musée d’Orsay (16 € per ticket), I began with the top of the building, a former train station. It’s a great observation spot to enjoy city landscapes.
Having explored impressionist paintings, I slowed down in a photo hall with small pale pictures of the poor, young and old, with impressive dramatic settings.
In Centre Pompidou (12 € fees admission), my attention captured the most thought-provoking exhibition Assemblage, Environments & Happenings. The artefacts were made of newspapers, garbage, rags, cardboard boxes, and food. The book by Allan Kaprow, 1966 (about the early experiments with happenings and performance) inspired and gave the name to the display.
Among always free Paris museums, Musée Curie fascinated me most. With a balanced mix of educational materials, photos of the Curie archive and the lab setting immersed visitors in scientific studies.
The compact but representative collection illustrated the century of studies devoted to fighting cancers. Marie Curie spent the last 20 years of her life leading projects in the Radium Institute that researched radiation and its applications to cancer treatment.
Victor Hugo admirers will enjoy spending time in his former residence, Place des Vosges apartment rented from 1832 to 1848. Another Paris free museum. It was curious to learn about Hugo’s talent as a decorator and see designed by him panels and furniture presented in the Chinese Lounge.
Huré Bakery, with a rich choice of French desserts, is the best place to turn aside from the course. The prices are somewhat higher than the average, but since so much money was saved on museums tickets, why hesitate. I took Le Mont Blanc and Dome Citron, the quality was magnificent.
You can find more information on Cultural Insights about other creative cities that, like Paris, hold the status of the European Capital of Culture and created great activities and places to see: Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Athens (Greece), Liverpool (England), Galway (Ireland), and many more in the section Places.
All images: Tatyana Garkavaya