Arts

Off-the-Beaten-Path Paris Museums: Art Outside the Louvre and Musée D’Orsay

(Left) A golden medieval chandelier decorated with crystals and gems hangs inside a showcase / (Right) An old man stands in the middle of an old church that is now in ruins.
Above: Piece from the collection in Musée Cluny @sandrinemerle / Inside Musée Cluny @didineta
Top: Palais Galliera @palaisgallieramuseedelamode / Inside the atelier through the windowpane @museezadkine

HiP Paris has brought you fabulous content since 2008! We peeked through the archives to revisit some of our most loved articles. We’re excited to republish this piece by Jaimie Evoy for Context Travel, a network of people who invite visitors to step off the tourist track and get to know the hidden gems of some of the world’s greatest cities. Below, Jaimie gives us his top five lesser-known museums that you will surely want to visit. Enjoy!

(Left) A white building surrounded by cement walls with advertisement posters lies behind tall green trees. / (Right) A hallway with marble walls and brown columns with potted green plants.
Musée Jacquemart-André @abuckeyeinparis

It’s true that even “seasoned” visitors to Paris (or residents!) could visit the Louvre and the Orsay Museum again and again, discovering something new each time.. and, it’s tempting. It’s a bit like going to your favorite restaurant instead of trying that new little bistro that just opened up around the corner, because you know the quality will be fabulous. But why not delve a little deeper and explore some of Paris’ lesser-known museums whose collections can be equally as interesting and enlightening?

(Left) A building with green bushes attached to the walls and people riding bicycles below. / (Right) A small patch of green shrub underneath a red ceiling.
Musée du quai Branly @agebrian

Here are our top five lesser-known Paris museums that are worth at least one visit.

Looking to start at the beginning? For Medieval history and art – and to debunk any misconceptions of what life and culture were really like in the Middle Ages – visit the Musée de Cluny (aka Musée national du Moyen Âge). You can find the Cluny nestled in Saint-Germain, the medieval heart of Paris.

(Left) A blonde woman with a blue sweater and red pants stands in front of white stone medieval busts. / (Right) A medieval tapestry with red, yellow and green details.
Ancient sculptures in Musée Cluny @jolismurs_ / Medieval tapestry @didineta

Want a more worldly perspective? The Musée du Quai Branly houses an impressive collection of indigenous art from various parts of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Completed in 2006 under former president Jacques Chirac, this modern building starkly contrasts with the architecture of the Louvre or Orsay.

(Left) Indigenous sculptures stand on top of a circle made of rocks in front of a green wall. / (Right) A close-up of a building with green plants on its walls next to a windowpane.
“Sur la route des chefferies du Cameroun. Du visible à l’invisible” exhibit in Quai Branly @claudinecolin / Close-up of the exterior of the Musée du quai Branly @katisidro

Seeking a well-hidden gem? The delightful and quaint Musée Zadkine – the former home of Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine, who was influential in the School of Paris and interred at the Montparnasse Cemetery – is also tucked away in Saint-Germain. Be sure to visit the garden as well, which is full of interesting sculptures and forms.

(Left) An empty park with a big green tree creates shade for the green chairs below. / (Right) A copper sculpture of a woman stands on a platform.
Under the shade @julijanovovic / Art piece from the collection @museezadkine

Pursuing posh? The Musée Jacquemart-André was once the home of banker Edouard André and his wife, painter Nélie Jacquemart. With their fine taste (and yes, huge fortune) they amassed a beautiful collection of mostly Italian art, which they left to the state. Prepare yourself for extreme grandeur and elegance here.

(Left) A spiral staircase with brown corinthian columns. / (Right) A bust of a man next to a golden vase in front of a tapestry.
Staircase in Musée Jacquemart-André @cbuiron / The bust of Charles-Frederic de la Tour du Pin @jacquemartandre

Craving couture? Look no further than the Palais Galliera (Musée de la Mode), located in a stunning building near Trocadero in the 16th arrondissement. It’s worth noting that this museum doesn’t have a permanent collection, so be sure to check out the current exhibitions ahead of time.

(Left) A green shirt with white details covers a mannequin. / (Right) A long cream colored corset decorates a white mannequin.
Details @wearelinen / “A History of Fashion. Collecting & exhibiting at the Palais Galliera” piece @stanispasme

Paris has over 150 museums, so by no means in this a definitive list. Go out and explore museums big and small! At worst you lose a couple of hours and a few euros.. but at best you could gain new perspectives and unearth hidden passions. Happy discovering!

Addresses

Musée de Cluny – Place Paul Painlevé, 75005. Tel: +33 (0)1 53 73 78 00

Musée du Quai Branly – 37 Quai Branly, 75007. Tel: +33 (0)1 56 61 70 00

Musée Zadkine – 100 bis Rue d’Assas, 75006. Tel: +33 (0)1 55 42 77 20

Musée Jacquemart-André – 158 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 62 11 59

Palais Galliera – 10 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, Rue de Galliera, 75016. Tel: +33 (0)1 56 52 86 00

(Left) A line of people wait to go into a museum near the Eiffel Tower / (Right) A woman in a green and white dress looks at three white busts.
Outside Palais Galliera @tristan_popescu / Busts in Musée Cluny @museecluny

Related Links

Written by Jaimie Evoy of Context Traveler for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out marketplace shop and experiences.

Written By

Jaimie Evoy for Context Travel

Born and raised on the west coast of Canada, Jaimie decided to make Paris her home in the fall of 2013. She is currently serving as Context Travel's Activity Coordinator for France and Spain. She is passionate about foreign language and loves going to concerts and taking pictures in her free time. View Jaimie Evoy for Context Travel's Website

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