High culture is a quintessential part of Paris’ personality, and nowhere is that better expressed than in the city’s wealth of world-class museums. From art-world heavyweights to modernist stylings, here are six of the City of Light’s top museums.
French National Museum of Natural History (Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle)
57 Rue Cuvier, Paris, 75005
The origins of the French National Museum of Natural History date to the 17th century, when Jardin Royal des Plantes Médicinales—now known as Jardin des Plantes—was established by King Louis XIII. While the MNHNnow comprises numerous individual institutions spread across France, the bulk are still headquartered at Jardin des Plantes. Highlights include galleries devoted to evolution, minerals and geology, paleontology, botany, and a children’s museum and zoo.
The MNHN facilities at the Jardin des Plantes can be explored independently or admired on a walking tour. The Jardin des Plantes, given its position along the Seine, can be glimpsed from a river cruise.
Things to Know Before You Go
The MNHNinstitutions at the Jardin des Plantes are ticketed separately, although it’s possible to bundle admission with a discounted rate at one additional site.
Most exhibitions and galleries are aimed at visitors of all ages, while the Children’s Gallery (La Galerie des Enfants) was designed for kids.
Select sites—including the Garden of Plants (Jardin des Plantes) and Gallery of Evolution (Grande Galerie de l’Évolution)—are accessible to visitors with limited mobility.
How to Get There
There are numerous options for visiting the MNHNsites at the Jardin des Plantes. Take Métro line 5 to the Gare d’Austerlitz, line 7 to Censier Daubenton, line 10 to Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz, and the RER C to Gare d’Austerlitz. Bus routes 24, 57, 61, 63, 67, 89, and 91 serve the area, as do SNCF trains at the Gare d’Austerlitz.
When to Get There
The Jardin des Plantes is open daily with extended hours in summer. The MNHN’s institutions, both those on-site and those located elsewhere in Paris, have varied opening hours. An array of events and temporary exhibitions are held throughout the year.
AdditionalMNHNSites in Paris
Beyond the Jardin des Plantes, other MNHN institutions are located across Paris. It’s worth planning additional visits to the Museum of Man (Le Musée de l’Homme) located in the 16th arrondissement and the Paris Zoological Park (Le Parc Zoologique de Paris) in Parc de Vincennes.
- Things to do in Île-de-France
- Things to do in Marne-la-Vallée
- Things to do in Blois
- Things to do in Deauville City
- Things to do in Lille
- Things to do in Dijon
- Things to do in Brussels
- Things to do in Bruges
- Things to do in Zaventem
- Things to do in Luxembourg City
- Things to do in Horley
- Things to do in Nantes
- Things to do in London
- Things to do in Normandy
- Things to do in Nord-Pas de Calais
- Jardin des Plantes
- 5th Arrondissement
- Rue Mouffetard Market
- Paradis Latin
- Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins
- Arab World Institute (Institut du Monde Arabe)
- Saint Étienne du Mont
- Left Bank (Rive Gauche)
- Ile Saint-Louis
- 13th Arrondissement
- 4th Arrondissement
- Museum of Magic (Musée de la Magie)