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