Paris is a city with a rich history, the city of haute couture and luxury fashion, the city of freedom-fighters and of course “The Museum City”, as Parisians refer to it with pride. In 2019 Paris was crowned the museum capital of the world, accounting for 297 museums. Three of the world’s most fabulous museums, the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, and the Musée d’Orsay, are located in the French Capital, among many other world-class museums. However, there is much more to the museum scene of Paris, that is less popular than the classic museums. We have listed the top 5 unusual and cool museums in Paris, for those looking to explore some off-the-radar attractions in the City of Light.
5 Cool Museums in Paris to put on your list
1. Choco-Story Paris – Le musée du chocolate
Ganache, bean-to-bar, pralinés, orangettes, mendiants, palets d’or, dark, white or milk, craft chocolate in Paris comes in a panoply of forms, flavors, origins, and styles. Some of the world’s best chocolatiers reside in France and it is no surprise that Paris has a museum dedicated to chocolate. Le musée du chocolate houses an exhibition that displays all sorts of artifacts, from illustrations and Objets d’art to literature and multimedia all portraying somehow chocolate. Visitors are taken on a tasty journey to discover the history of chocolate, how it is made, to meet their chocolatiers, make their own chocolate and of course, try as many chocolates as they want! This cool museum in the heart of Paris is a great venue to visit with family and friends to have fun while also learning new things.
Admission is €12 for adults and with extra €3 hot chocolate is served. Children, students, and seniors pay discounted rates.
2. Catacombes de Paris
The Catacombs of Paris is a veritable labyrinth of 3,000km in the heart of underground Paris, where the remains of over six million Parisians from the era of the Revolutionary Terror are buried. Although it is considered one of the cool museums in Paris, this quirky and also creepy museum might not be appealing to everyone. The bones and skulls of millions of people are carefully organized, according to a quarry backfill arrangement, filling the tunnel network walls. The museum of course consists only of a small part of the tunnel network. A damp, congested tunnel takes visitors through a series of galleries before reaching the ossuary, the entrance to which is announced by a sign engraved in the stone: “ Stop! This is the empire of death”. It is interesting to understand the history behind the Catacombs, which commenced in the late 18th century, and also although not a beautiful sight, it is a very impressive site to visit.
Admission is €29 with audio guide for adults and €5 for children with no audio.
We recommend the following tour:
3. Musée des égouts de Paris
A VERY unusual museum in Paris, is the Musée des égouts de Paris, translated to the Paris Sewer Museum. Not surprisingly, the museum is located in the sewers at the esplanade Habib-Bourguiba and let us note that it is a smelly museum. Smell apart, this museum is very interesting. Visitors are transported through the sewers on boats and wagons and are taken into a journey back to the 14th century through to modern times. The museum details the history of the sewers which began at the time of Napoleon by Hugues Aubriot up to their modern structure, designed in the 19th century by the engineer Eugène Belgrand.
Admission to this museum is Free.
4. Pavillons de Bercy – Musée des Arts Forains
The Musée des Arts Forains is a private museum of funfair and fairground objects located in the Pavillons de Bercy, created by Jean Paul Favand, an actor, a curiosities exhibitor, and a rare objects collector. For sure one of the cool museums in Paris, the Musée des Arts Forains is a venue perfect for both adults, wishing to revive their childhood and kids who just want to have fun with the world’s most incredible old style funfair.
Although most of the objects are only for display, especially as some date back to the 19th century and others are last pieces preserved, visitors can enjoy a ride in a Carrousel or a German Swing and it is this interaction between the amusement artifacts and the visitors that makes Musée des Arts Forains such a lively and entertaining museum. The large collection of vintage funfairs are distributed into three thematic rooms: “The Venetian Lounges”, “The Theatre of Marvels” and “The Fairground Art Museum”. Expect to see hundred-year-old bicycles, merry-go-rounds, Japanese billiards, grand vizier Ali Pasha, puppet shows and so much more.
Admission is €16 for adults and €8 for kids under 12.
5. Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Situated on the west wing of the famous Palais du Louvre, known as the Pavillon de Marsan, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs or MAD for short, is one of the world’s largest collections of design and decorative arts. The museum house a collection of over one million of objects including French furniture and tableware, interior design, extravagant carpets, delicate crystal and porcelain, religious paintings, ceramics and glassware, objets d’arts, altarpieces, toys from the Medieval Ages to the late 20th century. There is also a rich collection of fashion and textiles from famous French hautes, which are however displayed only during temporary exhibitions. All of the objects exhibited were designed by exceptional designers and manufacturers and were once owned by French nobles, like the porcelain by the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, objects from Jeanne Lanvin’s house and a distinctive ceiling once owned by Jeanne Baptiste d’Albert de Luynes, among many other notable objects.
Admission is €14 and concessions €10.