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Which museums CAN and CAN'T you take photos at in Paris?

I'll be bringing my pocket sized digital to Paris and LOVE to take pictures so what places in Paris are you allowed to take photos? Do some places strictly enforce the no camera rules?

Posted by
21717 posts

No one has that list. My experience is that most art museums are pretty strict because the flash can cause damage. For other museums it is mixed. Some restrict flash but allow pictures and I have seen camera taken away and other times ignored. Be respectful. If they post a sign that says, No Photo, then buy postcards even if others are violating the rule.

Posted by
12040 posts

I don't know the specific rules, but plenty of people were taking pictures the day I was in the Orsay. Likewise, my wife snapped dozens of photographs in the Rodin and nobody told her otherwise.

But a request: Please don't be that tourist who stands directly in front of the paintings and blocks everyone's view to take a picture!

Posted by
108 posts

quite a number of museums do allow people to take pictures, but those who do, usually do it on condition you don't use your flash, which can be tricky in some museums. For sure I know that the Musée des arts premiers and le louvre allow cameras, but not the use of the flash and only for private purposes.

Posted by
10344 posts

You asked about the Orsay. Some of the first few rooms on the upper level, after the up escalator (Degas, Manet, Renoir, Monet rooms) have skylights that provide sufficient light for some decent pics without flash, esp. if you can find a way to brace the camera on something (not too many columns).

The general rule you'll often encounter in Paris art museums is: still photos okay, but no flash and no tripod. No flash and no tripod, with a point and shoot camara, usually results in your pics of great art being less than great, and definitely not as good as the €1 postcards you can buy in the museum store.

But you'll get something, usually not too sharp and with tourist heads in it (you know, tourists, the other people, ugh, in the museum trying to see around you as you snap the pic).

With many cameras, you dutifully turn off the flash, take a pic with no flash, guards are happy; then you turn off the camera, walk down the hall, and want to take a pic in another room so you turn the camera back on, snap the pic, it surprises you by flashing (turning camera off defeats flash off selection from previous pic) = sometimes guards not too happy with you.

Posted by
1 posts

Without flash, D'Orsay, Louvre, and Rodin Museum, allow photos, for sure. The majority of my pictures turned out very well, although the lighting in the Louvre makes it challenging to get great shots. Can send you some if you want!!

Posted by
2 posts

I was able to take photos at the Dali Museum in Montmartre as well. Flash off and no tripod was the general rule. They don't photos in the Gallery store where you can purchase originals but moany of these are available in the gift shop.

I missed the exit interview (stairs leading to gift shop) but wished I had taken a photo. If anyone has photos or at least a written account of the exit interview I would love to see it.

Posted by
160 posts

"Don't be that tourist that stands in front of a painting..."

What a load of bull! Certainly be courteous and respectful of others, but for gosh sakes, if you're allowed, take that flashless picture from whatever angle you want to. How often are you there, anyways? And yes, you are a tourist...and that's OK, too. Sadly, I do know that there are no photos allowed in the Orsay anymore (daughter just got back and it's strictly enforced now) but flashless in the Louvre is still OK. Just budget a few extra euros for postcards and have a great time.

Posted by
14899 posts

In addition to the above, I took lots of photos at the Orangerie, the Carnavalet, and several other less "popular" indoor sites. At the Cluny flash was permitted (the lighting is generally pretty poor), except for the Lady with Unicorn tapestries (photos ok though). Some of the private museums have a no-photo policy. On my last visit, a year ago, photos weren't permitted at the Marmottan (a must for Monet lovers) or at the Jewish Museum. But then some of the private museums do permit photos - Sevres porcelain museum, Nissim de Camondo museum.

If you LOVE to take pictures, bring lots of extra memory - Paris is nothing if not picturesque.

Posted by
26 posts

I just got back last week and I was SHOCKED that despite the fact that the Louvre has no photo pictures posted EVERYWHERE, everyone was taking photos and that includes with flash. I absolutely couldn't believe it. The Orsay - no one was taking any photos and were respecting the no camera rule. At Rodin - plenty of photo ops outside. I recommend picking up a few postcards of your favorites and just enjoying the paintings. I've talked to others that have told me the Louvre no camera policy was strictly enforced while they were there, so I have no idea why it was OK on the day I was there. I was trying to appreciate the Mona Lisa and a dad had to take a photo of his kids (braces and all) with big smiles in front of her. Or there was the guy standing/posing in front of Winged Victory so it looked like he had wings. I've got to tell you, I was not happy at the Louvre.....