To kick off the winter season, talented illustrator Emma Jacobs is giving three lucky HiP Paris Blog readers copies of her beautiful book on Paris’s off-the-beaten-track museums – and we can’t get enough of it. To win your very own copy, head over to our Instagram account. Winners will be announced on Wednesday 30th before midnight (Paris time). Good luck, lovely readers!

The Offbeat Museums of Paris

Paris brims with museums and world-renowned galleries, but the most atmospheric cultural spots are actually the smaller, harder-to-find venues. As illustrator Emma Jacobs shows us in her latest book, The Little(r) Museums of Paris, the city’s numerous hôtel particuliers and artist ateliers offer up the real charm. See some of my top picks from Emma’s beautiful book below.

A sketch of a Paris museum from illustrator Emma Jacobs' book Little(r) Museums of Paris.
Top and above: The Little(r) Museums of Paris by Emma Jacobs

Musée Gustave Moreau

One of our favorites is Musée Gustave Moreau, named after the great 19th-century French Symbolist painter. Known for his biblical and mythological works, he was admired by his contemporaries for the mystical aspects of his pieces. His wild imagination influenced the Surrealist painters, who were inspired by his inclusion of the incomprehensible and the unconscious. 

In 1895, he entrusted the conversion of his family home into a museum to architect Albert Lafon and left the property, as well as all its contents, to the State upon his death in 1897. After a year and a half of renovations to restore them to their original state, the six rooms on the ground floor were re-opened in January 2015. Paintings of note include Narcisse, famous for its seductive representation of the relationship between human and nature, and his preparatory works for Léda (a legend that often served as inspiration for the female nude) and Fée aux Griffons (representing the inaccessibility of the female body). 

A sketch of a Paris museum from illustrator Emma Jacobs' book Little(r) Museums of Paris.
Top and above: The Little(r) Museums of Paris by Emma Jacobs

Visitors can discover the artist’s apartment on the first floor, left exactly as it was when he died, while on the second and third floors his grand and light-filled former studios showcase more of his works. Look out for his two masterpieces, Jupiter et Sémélé and L’Apparition. The former features the allegories of death and pain, which represented the tragic essence of life for Moreau, while the latter, which features Salome, was probably a result of his frequent opium hallucinations. 

Musée Rodin

The works of another of France’s great artists, Auguste Rodin, are displayed in the magnificent backdrop of Hôtel Biron. The manor boasts grandiose columns, arches, and sweeping staircases as well as subtler intricate moldings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Bought by the State in 1911 while Rodin was residing here, he refused to leave and bequeathed his entire collection to the country on condition that it remained his home for life. 

A sketch of the Monte Cristo chateau, Alexandre Dumas' home, now a museum, from illustrator Emma Jacobs' book Little(r) Museums of Paris (left). The Rodin Museum gardens with The Thinker sculpture among the trees (right).
Top and above: The Little(r) Museums of Paris by Emma Jacobs / Musée Rodin

After a three-year renovation, visitors can now admire even more of
the artist’s works, and also enjoy new exhibitions about his time at Hôtel Biron, his antique collection, and 50 paintings from his private Van Gogh and Munch collection. Perhaps the museum’s most attractive feature, especially when the weather plays ball, is the beautifully kept three-hectare garden. Visitors are free to roam the grounds, admiring not only famous works such as Le Penseur (The Thinker), but also the rose garden and peaceful arbor. 

The Rodin Museum gardens with a sculpture of a woman her arms up among the foliage (right).
Musée Rodin

Mona Bismarck American Center

If you prefer your art more modern, then head to the Mona Bismarck American Center on the banks of the Seine. Mona Bismarck (who was married five times, including to the grandson of the former German chancellor) was most famous for her marriage to Harrison Williams, one of America’s richest men in the 1920s. A fashion icon and muse, she was sung about by Cole Porter, painted by Dalí, and photographed by Cecil Beaton. Following Harrison’s death in 1953, Mona Bismarck gifted the house to the State, intending it to become a showcase for 20th– and 21st-century American art and culture in Europe. 

Mona Bismarck American Center

The rooms of the 19th-century mansion are remarkable for their Chinese art, ornate gilding, and crystal chandeliers, an indication of the luxury in which Bismarck lived. A handful of works are exhibited in each room and visitors are free to walk around and get close to the pieces. The center stages several exhibitions each year and holds other events including film screenings, concerts, and discussions centered on American culture. 

One of the salons at the Mona Bismarck American Center museum in Paris.
Mona Bismarck American Center


Musée Gustave Moreau, 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld 75009 Paris

Musée Rodin, 77 rue de Varenne 75007 Paris

Mona Bismarck American Center, 34 Avenue de New York 75016 Paris

Other villa museums in Paris worth checking out: 

Musée Marmottan Monet, 2 rue Louis-Boilly 75016 Paris

Musée Nissim de Camondo, 63 rue de Monceau 75008 Paris

Musée Jacquemart-André, 158 boulevard Haussmann 75008 Paris

Villa Vassilieff, Chemin de Montparnasse, 21 Avenue du Maine 75015 Paris 

Musée Cernuschi, 7 avenue Vélasquez 75008 Paris

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Written by Neil Kreeger for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental 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.


Neil Kreeger

Originally from London but living and working in Paris for more than 10 years, Neil started out as a travel journalist mainly reviewing hotels all over the world for an online magazine based in Paris. While he still writes for various publications including Luxos Magazine and Pullman Hotels’ Junction Magazine, he has more recently turned his attention to the food and beverage industry and has worked at several well-known restaurants in Paris.


  1. What an adorable book! I’m not sure it qualifies as a small museum – maybe – but my favorite museum in Paris is Musée de la Chasse. I LOVE it!!!

  2. I went to Instagram and want to enter the contest please.
    I love love love your blog and forward to my pals who are now following you! My dream is to come to Paris and be a Tumbleweed at Shakespeare and Co and then use your blog for living in Paris ideas. A dream.
    So my fave museum in Paris is Pompidou! Sigh
    Oh, to be at any of the museums today

    MercI for entering me in your contest

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