France has no shortage of world-famous museums, but for a unique experience – especially with summer just around the corner – you may want to forgo the stuffy interiors of classic venues for the whimsical beauty of France’s outdoor collections.
Read on for our picks of France’s most beautiful outdoor museums!
The sculpture garden at Musée Rodin
Dedicated to the works of Auguste Rodin, the Musée Rodin sculpture garden is an ideal place to escape the heat of Paris during the summer. Spread over three hectares, the grounds hold many of Rodin’s works, as well as items from his personal collection. An illustration of the subtle harmony between nature and sculpture, the garden showcases Rodin’s works to their best advantage. In the warm summer months, a bench in the garden is a wonderful spot for enjoying a moment of calm and contemplation in the cool shade of the trees. One of Rodin’s most famous works, The Thinker, is on display here, and there is much more to be discovered in the seven acres that form one of France’s most beautiful outdoor museums.
77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
Château La Coste
A vineyard where grapes, wine, art and architecture exist in harmony in a beautiful natural setting. Years ago, artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle and Tracey Emin were invited to choose a spot and create a work that would become a part of the Château’s magnificent landscape. The works have stayed, and visitors to the domain can enjoy them during the regularly organized walking tours of the estate. Full of monumental architecture, delicate olive groves and enchanting valleys, this is certainly a wonderful place to visit!
2750 Route de la Cride, 13610 Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade
Le Domaine du Muy
Parisian gallerist Jean-Gabriel Mitterand and his son, Edward, had long dreamed of creating a beautiful outdoor venue fit for showcasing monumental sculptures. Le Domaine du Muy, in southern France, is certainly that and more. Nestled between the Maures and Esterel Massifs, the estate is covered by a Mediterranean forest of cork oaks and pines stretching over several hundred hectares. A mix of wild natural spaces, a secluded valley and a natural pool, the Domaine du Muy sets its stunning artworks in a space of exceptional natural beauty. Without a doubt one of France’s most beautiful outdoor museums!
Domaine du Muy, 83490 Le Muy
Versailles is most famous for its lavish interiors, but visiting its gardens is an equally stunning and culturally enriching experience. Boasting hundreds of thousands of trees and flowers, along with 50 fountains and 620 water jets, the grounds also host regular exhibitions and special events. Every Saturday night until the 30th of October Versailles organizes the Fountains Night Show, lighting up the beautiful water works with light effects under Versailles’ starry night.
Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles
To learn more about Versailles before your visit, check out our guide to the famous palace!
Albert Kahn Musée et Jardins
The Albert Kahn museum is a fascinating place, full of artworks and photography from around the world. But the spectacular, ten-acre gardens are themselves very deserving of a visit. Every section is modeled on a different garden from around the world – Japanese village and contemporary Japanese gardens, rocky Vosgienne forest, English and French gardens – making for a delightful, lazy afternoon strolling from one country to the next. On Tuesdays and Sundays between April and September (except July and August), in the pavillon du thé, you can even partake in a Japanese tea ceremony!
2 Rue du Port, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt