Posted in Art le 16 February 2016
Our guide to small and lesser known museums in Paris
If you are already familiar with the main museums such as Musée d’Orsay, Musée du Louvre, Musée Rodin and so on, there are also a lot of smaller and great museums to see in Paris. We have made a selection of those by area of Paris.
MUSEE COGNAC JAY
The Musée Cognacq-Jay, a beautiful hotel particulier (private mansion) hidden in the Marais, is home to the private collection of Ernest Cognacq and his wife Marie-Louise Jay, the founders of La Samaritaine (once the largest and most glamorous of Paris's department stores).
Set among twenty Louis XV and XVI rooms, their collection includes 18th-century French furniture, tapestries, and important paintings by the likes of Watteau, Chardin, Rembrandt, Canaleto, Reynolds, and Fragonard. The museum was renovated in 2015 with the help of famed fashion designer Chrsitian Lacroix.
Musée Cognacq-Jay 8 rue Elzevir, 75003 Paris Every day except Mondays 10am to 6pm (ticket desks close at 5.15pm) http://www.museecognacqjay.paris.fr/en
Also located in the Marais area (a great area for shopping), the collection of the Musée Carnavalet documents the history of Paris in an eclectic and eccentric way. There, you can learn about the city’s Roman roots, see objects from medieval shop signs to historical curiosities (Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s inkwell, Robespierre’s shaving dish. a vast assortment of Napoleon’s belongings...), Marcel Proust’s bedroom, several period room, but also photography exhibit.
This beautiful hôtel particulier (private mansion) dates back from 1548. The hotel remained a private residence up until the end of the Ancien Régime. In 1866, the City of Paris bought back the hotel in order to transform it into a museum celebrating the capital’s history. There are also plenty of mansions to admire along the street and on rue des Francs-Bourgeois.
Musée Carnavalet 23 rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris Everyday except Mondays from 10am to 6pm. Last e Entrance à 5:30 pm. Ticket office closes at 5pm http://www.carnavalet.paris.fr/
MUSEE DE LA CHASSE ET DE LA NATURE Museum of hunting and Nature
The theme of this museum might not be enticing at first (unless you are into taxidermia and hunting), but it is nonetheless a stunning museum. For those of you that are not keen on hunting, know that the museum advocates for respectful hunting practices, wildlife preservation, and ecological consciousness.
It is situated in the two mansions, the Hôtel particulier de Guénégaud (17th century) and the Hôtel particulier de Mongelas, (18th century). Visitors can see paintings on the themes of hunting and nature (Desportes, Chardin, Oudry, Vernet), hunting weapons and stuffed animals from Africa, America and Asia as well as a number of art objects. Each room features a wooden cabinet dedicated to a different hunted animal.
Musée de la chasse et la nature Hôtel Guénégaud 62 rue des Archives 75003 Paris Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 6pm http://www.chassenature.org/
LUXEMBOURG, LATIN QUARTER, SAINT GERMAIN DISTRICT
MUSEE DE CLUNY
The Musée de Cluny (or the National Museum of the Middle Ages) is located in the 15th-century building Hôtel Cluny, the former home of the abbots of Cluny. It holds one of the biggest collections of medieval art in the world including othic sculptures, goldsmiths and ivories, paintings, illuminations and stained glasses, tapestries and fabrics, daily medieval life objects… Within the museum are also the remains of a 1st-century Roman bath, from when Paris was still known as Lutèce.The main attraction is the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. Behind the museum, on Boulevard St Germain) you will find a garden and a playground inspired by plants found in medieval treatises.
Musée Cluny Musée National du Moyen Age 6 place Paul Painlevé 75005 Paris Every day except Tuesdays from 9 :15am to 5 :45pm http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/
Close to the Luxembourg gardens, the Musée Zadkine is the former home of the Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967). This studio-museum has remained faithful to its original double identity as a place for living and creating. The artist lived and worked in this atelier from 1928 to the late 60s. Upon entering this small museum you will pass a lush garden with large Cubist and modernist sculptures. The museum offers a tour of his work, representative of the richness and artistic evolution of the sculptor.
Musée Zadkine 100 bis rue d'Assas, 75006 Paris Every day except Mondays 10am to 6 pm http://www.zadkine.paris.fr/en
MUSEE EUGENE DELACROIX
Located on one of our favorite little squares in Paris, the Musée Eugene Delcaroix is dedicated to the works of Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix. This was Delacroix's (1798-1863) last home and studio. The masterpieces of the painter can be seen in Paris’ greatest museums, but this museum opens the doors of the artist intimacy, showing his daily life and artistic development. You will find a selection of paintings, watercolors, pastels, sketches and preparatory studies by Delacroix himself, as well as a number of letters, and photographs of his close friends (Charles Baudelaire, Théophile Gautier, George Sand…). Another reason not to miss this museum is the beautiful garden hidden behind the apartment where Delacroix built his workshop. Renovated in 2012, it was reproduced according to the writings of the artist.
Musée national Eugène Delacroix 6 rue de Furstenberg, 75006 Paris Every day except Tuesday, 9:30am to 5:30 pm (tickets sold until 5 pm) http://www.musee-delacroix.fr/en/
PARC MONCEAU DISTRICT
MUSEE NISSIM DE CAMONDO
Situated in the 8th district and adjacent to the Parc Monceau, the Musée Nissim de Camondo, is a time capsule of life in Belle Époque Paris. Moïse de Camondo, scion of an Ottoman banking dynasty, collection of 18th-century European art and décor collection became so large and important that he had the current mansion designed as its showcase. After his son Nissim, a French aviator, died in battle during World War I, Moïse dedicated the remainder of his life to establishing the museum in his son's memory. De Camondo built a private collection of rare magnificence, seen just as it was when the family lived here.
The museum is fully preserved in its original condition and gives a unique insight into a modern aristocratic home including kitchen, bathrooms, and offices.
Musée Nissim de Camondo 63 rue de Monceau, 75008 Paris Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/
A short walk from the Musée Nissim de Camondo is the Pagoda, a six stories building surrounded by two classic Haussmann apartment building. Originally constructed as a hôtel particulier in the French Louis Philippe style, the building was bought in 1925 by Mr. Ching Tsai Loo (1880-1957), a collector and dealer of Chinese and Asian art and antiques. With the help of prominent architect Fernand Bloch, the building was transformed into the Pagoda with its typical Chinese red color and architectural features. The building served as the home of Galerie C.T. Loo & Cie., showcasing Chinese and Asian art and antiques.
The sumptuous interior has elaborate Shanxi lacquer panels, glass art deco ceilings and thematic rooms including the Salle Indienne, the Salle Cavaliers and the Petit Salon Porcelaine. The galleries still contain much of Loo’s original collection of terra-cotta figurines, jade carvings, and porcelain. Unfortunately, the Pagoda is closed to the public and only open during Asia week, which takes place in June. You can nonetheless pass by to look at the architecture of the building, which is unique in Paris.
Pagoda 48 rue de Courcelles, 75008 Paris http://www.pagodaparis.com/
CERNUSCHI MUSEUM Museum of the Asian Arts of Paris
Founded in 1898, the Cernuschi museum is one of Paris’ oldest museum and home to France's second most important assemblage of Chinese and Asian art. This mansion once belonged to world traveler and connoisseur Enrico Cernuschi, who built the collection with passionate devotion. The Chinese collection has been enriched over the years through private donations, and now includes sections dedicated to the art of Japan, Korea and Vietnam. You will find an inventory of ten thousands pieces ranging from ancient bronzes (14th B.C. - 3rd A.D.) and burial figures (3rd B.C. - 12th A.D.) to rare Buddhist sculptures (5th - 11th A.D.).
Cernuschi Museum 7 avenue Vélasquez , 75008 Paris Every day except Mondays 10am to 6pm http://www.cernuschi.paris.fr/en/home
MUSEE JAQUEMART ANDRE
The museum is located in the house of banking heir Edouard André and his artist wife, Nélie Jacquemart who assembled a great collection of art in the late 19th century. Their collection includes French painters Fragonard, Jacques-Louis David, and François Boucher, Dutch masters Van Dyke and Rembrandt, as well as Italian Renaissance paintings (their preferred period), and Greek and Roman antiquities.
Their beautiful private apartments are also on view : the grand ballroom capable of holding 1000 guests, the smoke room, the library, their winter garden, beautiful marble staircases...
Musée Jaquemart André 158, boulevard Haussmann 75008 Paris Every day from 10am to 6pm. Late night opening on Mondays until 8 :30pm during exhibitions http://musee-jacquemart-andre.com/
MUSEE GUSTAVE MOREAU
Gustave Moreau (1826-1898) was a professor at Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts, where he taught Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault. He is considered to be one of the precursors of surrealist painting. Before his death in 1982 he decided that a museum of his own work should be created. He converted his parent’s house creating giant workshops and display rooms. He produced over 8,000 paintings, watercolors and drawings — many of which are on display in this small, but stunning museum.
Musée Gustave Moreau 14 rue de La Rochefoucauld, 75009 Paris Everyday except Tuesday Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10am to 12:45pm and 2pm to 5:15pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am to 5:15pm http://en.musee-moreau.fr/
MUSEE DE LA VIE ROMANTIQUE
The “Museum of the Romantic Life” is off the beaten path but recommended if you are a fan of the Romantic era. Nestled on a small cobbled street, this house once belonged to Dutch painter Ary Scheffer, whose salon attracted the leading artistic and intellectual lights of the 1830s and 40s such as Delacroix, George Sand, Chopin, Liszt, Ingres, Rossini, Théodore Rousseau, and Charles Dickens among others. The museum is now devoted to Sand and Scheffer's memorabilia.
Musée de la vie romantique Hôtel Scheffer-Renan - 16 rue Chaptal, 75009 Paris Everyday except Mondays from 10am to 6pm http://parismusees.paris.fr/en/museumromantics
MUSEE DE MONTMARTRE
Next to the Sacre Coeur, take a turn off the beaten path to find the dreamy Musée de Montmartre and its beautiful garden, once painted by Renoir. Although the museum was founded in the 60s, the house was built in the seventeenth century and is the oldest building in Montmartre. The house served as a residence for many artists including Renoir, Dufy… The permanent collection is composed of paintings, posters and drawings signed by Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, Kupka, Steinlen, Valadon, and Utrillo. The quaint museum tells you all about the history of Montmartre, the artists who lived there and the area’s development as a centre for art and nightlife. Three gardens dedicated to Auguste Renoir also surround the museum.
The museum is situated on a street with quirky old houses and across the Montmartre vineyard (Paris’ last working vineyard, producing around 500 liters each year).
Musée de montmartre 12/14 rue Cortot, 75018 Paris Open everyday from 10-6pm http://www.museedemontmartre.fr/
The Musée Bourdelle, built around the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle's studio and apartment, is another example of artist studios that filled the Montparnasse area in its artistic heyday in the late 1800’s. Bourdelle was an assistant to Auguste Rodin (whose museum is also a must see) and a mentor to famed artist Alberto Giacometti.
The artist’s studio is still arranged as it was during his lifetime with its high glass roof, opened to the northern light, the mezzanine that allows one to look at the works from different angles, and even the walls, with their original color. The garden contains Bourdelle's most famous bronze statues and the inner gardens are covered with ivy.
Musée Bourdelle 18 rue Antoine-Bourdelle, 75015 Paris Every day except Mondays from 10am to 6pm http://www.bourdelle.paris.fr/
FONDATION LE CORBUSIER
This is a mecca for architecture fans worldwide especially those of French-Swiss design legend Le Corbusier. The house was designed in 1923, along with the adjoining Maison Jeannaret. Today it houses the Fondation Le Corbusier, which owns 8,000 original drawings, plans, and paintings by the architect, as well as the building's original furniture. The foundation also runs Corbusier's apartment-studio open on Saturdays only.
Maison La Roche 10 square du Docteur Blanche, 75016 Paris Monday 1:30pm to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm
Studio/Apartment Le Corbusier 24 rue Nungesser et Coli, 75016 Paris Saturday 10am to 1pm and 1:30pm to 5pm http://www.fondationlecorbusier.fr
MUSEE MARMOTTAN CLAUDE MONET
This mansion dating from the Second Empire holds the world’s largest collection of works by Claude Monet, most of them donated by the artist’s family. The collection gives the public the unique opportunity to admire all the significant stages of the Monet ‘s career and follow the evolution of his technique: from his youth caricatures of Le Havre’s personalities or Parisian critics, to the paintings inspired by his Giverny garden.
Among the paintings are Monet’s Impression, Soleil Levant, which gave its name to impressionism. You can also admire other impressionist painters on display include Pissarro, Renoir, Manet, Degas and Caillebotte.
Musée Marmottant Claude Monet 2 rue Louis-Boilly, 75016 Paris Every day except Mondays from 10am to 6pm late opening on Thursday until 9pm http://www.marmottan.fr/uk/