Paris is almost as saturated with museums as it is with wine and cheese. 173 – that’s right. This fact, coupled with the unlikely, yet surprisingly true thought that one might ‘forget’ they live in Paris, something must be done – intentionality. We know. Sometimes there are just too many people. So, we’ve come up with a few more discreet, yet no less grande in cultural riches and diversity. Find a more intimate experience in this tiny slice of the vast museum universe.
Musee Carnavalet (23, rue de Sévigné, 75003) is the oldest of the municipal museums in Paris. Among the two townhouses’ magnificent architecture, over 100 rooms and exquisite gardens, visitors will find an immense variety of prehistoric to present day works of art. This gem tucked away in the Marais is not to be missed.
Musee d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme (71, rue du Temple, 75003) is dedicated to presenting and preserving all forms of artistic expression related to Jewish culture. Dating back to 1650, the building’s architectural grandeur and trompe-l’oeil wall design amaze visitors to this day. Permanent and temporary collections give this space a wealth of culture and history.
Deyrolle (46, rue de Bac, 75007) is a natural science lover’s haven. Providing educational resources since 1831 by means of taxidermy, wall boards, etc., the Deyrolle’s mission remains “to bring human nature to observation and description”. The collection includes a wide array of mounted animals, beautifully displayed mounted insects, shells and rare rock displays. Most items are also for sale and the store is full of beautiful items that would make unique gifts. What a fascinating place!
Musee Nissim de Camondo (63, rue de Monceau, 75008) Originally a private mansion built in 1912, this beautifully restored and maintained museum was home to a wealthy private banker. Given to the city of Paris in 1933, it boasts of a rare collection of 19th century furniture and an intimate display of the existence of life during the years 1912-1933.
Musee de la Vie Romantique (16, rue Chaptal, 75009), built in 1830, was once the home and Paris base of Dutch painter Ary Scheffer. Scheffer is known for having had a close relationships with King Louis Philippe as well as artists like Eugene Delacroix, Frederick Chopin and George Sand. This Parisian institution allows visitors to imagine what life was like during Scheffers romantic evening parties in “La Nouvelle Athene” artist quartier. A collection of romantic, classic painting, sculptures and mementos are on display for visitors.
Pinacotheque (28, place de la Madeleine, 75008; 8, rue Vignon, 75009) is an art gallery, now with two locations, offering large-scale, temporary exhibitions. It has hosted collections from Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein and Munch, just to name a few. The guided tours are an excellent option for a deeper, more educational experience.
Don’t forget about free museum day every first Sunday of each month! Although there are usually long lines, they tend to move fairly quickly. It’s completely worth it, in our book. Be sure to check summer hours ahead of time as well.
As always, please share your favorite hidden, lesser-known museums with us!