The 10 Best Museums in Saint-Denis

Saint-Denis, a vibrant suburb just north of Paris, is a treasure trove of culture and history. It’s a place where the past and present merge, creating a unique tapestry that’s rich with artistic and historical significance. Among its many attractions, the museums stand out as gateways to understanding not only the local heritage but also broader themes that have shaped our world. Let’s embark on a journey through the 10 best museums this charming locale has to offer.

1. Basilica of Saint-Denis Museum

First on our list is the awe-inspiring Basilica of Saint-Denis Museum. This isn’t just any old museum; it’s a royal necropolis housing the tombs of French kings and Queens. As you wander through the Gothic architecture, you’ll feel the weight of history around you. The stained glass windows cast colorful patterns on the ancient stone, telling stories of the past. It’s a place where art and history intertwine, offering a profound glimpse into France’s regal lineage.

2. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Saint-Denis

Next up is the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Saint-Denis. Nestled in a former Carmelite convent, this museum is a haven for art lovers. Its collections span from the Middle Ages to the present day, showcasing a wide array of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts. The museum also delves into the local history, providing context to the evolution of Saint-Denis and its role in French culture.

3. The Fragonard Museum

For a change of pace, The Fragonard Museum offers a quirky yet fascinating experience. It’s dedicated to the works of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a native of the area and a master of Rococo art. But it’s not just about paintings; the museum also explores the science of perfumery, a nod to Fragonard’s family who were famous perfumers. It’s a sensory journey that’s as educational as it is enchanting.

4. Air and Space Museum

Calling all aviation enthusiasts! The Air and Space Museum is a must-visit. Located at the nearby Le Bourget Airport, it’s one of the oldest aviation museums in the world. You’ll get up close with aircraft from various eras, including early flying machines and modern jets. The museum also celebrates space exploration, with exhibits on satellites and spacecraft that have expanded our horizons.

5. Saint-Denis Maison d’éducation de la Légion d’honneur

The Maison d’éducation de la Légion d’honneur is more than just a museum; it’s a living institution. Founded by Napoleon, it serves as a school for girls whose relatives have received the Legion of Honor. The museum within offers a peek into the prestigious award’s history and its recipients. It’s a unique blend of education and heritage, set within an impressive architectural gem.

6. Musée de l’Orangerie

Although not in Saint-Denis proper, the Musée de l’Orangerie is a short trip away and well worth the detour. Famous for housing Monet’s “Water Lilies” series, the museum is a sanctuary of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. The oval rooms designed by Monet himself provide a panoramic viewing experience that’s simply unforgettable.

7. The Louvre

While exploring the museums around Saint-Denis, one cannot overlook the iconic Louvre. It’s the world’s largest art museum and a historic Monument in Paris. From the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa to the grandeur of the Venus de Milo, the Louvre’s collection is unparalleled. It’s a cultural pilgrimage for anyone visiting the area.

8. Centre Pompidou

For a taste of contemporary and modern art, the Centre Pompidou is your go-to spot. Its high-tech architecture is a work of art in itself, boldly standing out in the Parisian skyline. Inside, you’ll find a dynamic collection of modern masterpieces, interactive installations, and thought-provoking exhibitions. It’s a place where the art of today Sparks conversations about tomorrow.

9. Musée Picasso

The Musée Picasso holds the most extensive collection of Picasso’s works in the world. Located in the Marais district, the museum is housed in the stunning Hôtel Salé. As you explore the rooms, you’ll witness the evolution of Picasso’s style and his profound impact on the art world. It’s a deep dive into the mind of a genius.

10. Musée du Quai Branly

Last but not least, the Musée du Quai Branly celebrates the arts and civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Its lush garden setting and riverfront location make it a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. The museum’s collection is a testament to the diversity and richness of cultures from around the globe.


  • Are all these museums accessible by public transport?

    Yes, they are! Saint-Denis and its surrounding areas are well-connected by Paris’s extensive public transport network.

  • Do these museums offer guided tours?

    Many do offer guided tours, which can enhance your visit by providing expert insights into the collections.

  • Are there any combined tickets or passes for multiple museums?

    Paris offers several museum passes that can save you money and time, especially if you plan to visit multiple museums.


There you have it, a curated list of the 10 best museums in and around Saint-Denis. Each offers a unique window into different facets of art, history, and culture. Whether you’re marveling at the royal tombs in the Basilica of Saint-Denis Museum or immersing yourself in the avant-garde at the Centre Pompidou, these institutions are sure to leave a lasting impression. So, next time you’re in the area, take a moment to step inside these cultural havens. You’ll walk away with a deeper appreciation for the stories they tell and the legacies they preserve.

Kurby Team

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