Move over Louvre – 4 lesser known Parisian museums

Been to Paris before? Emerged from the Louvre with a migraine and ten photographs of someone else taking a photo of the Mona Lisa? There’s a reason she’s smirking! Does this all sounds familiar? On your next Paris trip, take some time out to discover these four lesser-known Paris museums:

Musee de L’Orangerie

Show me the Monet! Perhaps you have had the opportunity to admire Claude Monet’s works of art at other galleries around the world, but nothing quite compares to an afternoon spent marvelling at the artist’s eight Water Lilies (les Nymphéas) in the bright, open space of the oval rooms of L’Orangerie.  The building (originally conceived as a hothouse to protect potted orange trees in winter) is set in a leafy corner of the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries, and along with the Jeu de Paume, is all that remains of the royal imperial Palais des Tuileries. The downstairs gallery is home to a select, albeit highly impressive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings including work by Cezanne, Matisse, Modigilian, Picasso, Rousseau, Renoir and Soutine, amongst others.

Water lilies

Jardin Tuileries, 75001
Open daily, except Tuesdays, from 9am – 6pm
Admission: 10€ for adults, 7.50€ for concession
Métro: Concorde

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

Possibly one of the quirkiest museums in Paris, the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature), is a wonderfully eclectic collection of taxidermied animals, antique hunting instruments and ancient and contemporary art housed in a resplendent 17th Century private mansion in the heart of the Marais. From taxidermied polar bears to a talking boar’s head, this fantastical cabinet of curiosities is not one to be missed.

62 rue des Archives 75003
Open Tues-Sun 11am-6pm
Admission: 6€
Métro: Rambuteau

Musée Rodin

The Musée Rodin was opened to the public in 1919 to showcase the works of celebrated French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), often touted as the father of contemporary sculpture. Covering two sites, the Hôtel Biron in Paris, which Rodin used as his workshop, and the Villa des Brillants in Meudon, where Rodin resided, the Museum is home to over 6,000 of the sculptor’s works including his most famous pieces The Thinker, The Gates of Hell and The Kiss.  Take a few hours to stroll the idyllic 3-hectare sculpture gardens surrounding the Hôtel Biron, marvel at the sculptor’s glass-housed marbles, or peruse the artist’s permanent collection inside the stunning 18th Century Hôtel.

79, rue de Varenne 75007
Open daily, except Mondays, from 10am – 5.45pm
Late night opening on Wednesday until 8.45pm
Admission: 9€ for permanent exhibition, 1€ for gardens only
Métro: Varenne

Musée National du Moyen Age

Housed in one of only two remaining medieval Parisian homes, the Musée National du Moyen Age or the Musée de Cluny, is a stunning collection of medieval art in the center of Paris. The Gothic style Hôtel de Cluny, built on the site of ancient roman thermal baths, was once home to the powerful 15th Century abbot of Cluny Abbey, Jacques d’Amboise.  These days the Museum showcases an extensive selection of relics from the Middle Ages as well as a rich collection of tapestries including the famous Flanders tapestry La Dame à la Licorne (the Lady and the Unicorn) series which date back to the 1th Century.

6, place Paul-Painlevé 75005
Open Wed-Mon 9.15am-5.45pm
Admission: €8.50 adults, €6.50 ages 18-25, free for children 17 and under
Métro: Cluny-La-Sorbonne

Emerald Bond is Owner of A Good Forking.

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Comments (4)

  1. I’ve been to Paris many times but never to the Louvre. There are loads of great museums like this to visit. Mr Starke took me to the Musee National du Moyen Age on one of our first trips

  2. Sara McBride says:

    I love your museum choices. I’ve never heard of the hunting and nature museum, but I can’t wait to check it out on my next visit. It sounds fabulous!

    Another one for the list, the Gustave Moreau museum housed in the artist’s home which includes a stunning private gallery. It is supposed to reopen in January, 2014.

    Gustave Moreau Museum
    14, rue de La Rochefoucauld, Paris

  3. Jean Brookes says:

    Must get to see the Rodin Museum. Jules Desbois, a French sculptor who was born in our village, Parcay Les Pins, was a contemporary and friend. It is thought some of Rodin’s pieces might have been his work. We have a beautiful museum dedicated to Jules Desbois in oiur small village. Some works of Camille Claudel there too.

  4. Gemma says:

    Thank you for posting these; it’s a shame so few people get to discover such gems as the Hunting and Nature museum! Paris is so much more than its world-famous monuments…

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