The Top 5 Little-Known Museums in Paris

Dense with museums, galleries, exhibition spaces, and performance centers, the City of Lights is home to an astounding array of creative output, both old and knew. It attracts artists and art lovers from around the world, houses many of history’s most important masterpieces, and charms millions of visitors each year with its abundance of aesthetic delights.

Yet while landmarks like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay top the itineraries of nearly all short-term travelers in Paris, most never have the opportunity to discover the true richness of Parisian culture. Fortunately, however, the situation is quite different for students who live here. If you can squeeze it into your tight student budget, you can almost certainly find time to squeeze it into your schedule.

These are the five most affordable and least known museums in Paris:

1) Musée Dupuytren

musee dupuytren

Photo Credit: Urban Wonder, via Flickr

Located in the Centre des Cordeliers, the Musée Dupuytren houses the oldest and most extensive collection of anatomical objects in all of Europe. Its holdings date between 1820 and 1935, and include several pieces of major importance in western medical history.

The collection was originally started by Baron Dupuytren and later transferred to the Muséum d’Anatomie pathologique. Today, it is a fascinating (and sometimes macabre) testament to the evolution of modern medicine.

€3, student admission

15 rue de l’École de Médecine, Paris 5th
Metro: Odéon, line 4 and 10
For more information: parisinfo.com/

2) Musée Carnavalet

Musée Carnavalet

Photo Credit: Bertrand Duperrin, via Flickr

Based in the Hôtel Carnavalet, the Musée Carnavalet offers an in-depth view into the complete history of Paris. As the city’s oldest municipal museum, it houses everything from archeological artifacts to modern art. Their oldest piece is a prehistoric dugout canoe built in 4600 BC by some of the region’s earliest inhabitants.

Visitors can also enjoy an abundance of antique furniture, architectural works, statues, paintings, and photography while exploring its more than 100 rooms (many of which are recreated in 17th and 18th century style) and vast gardens.

€3,80, student admission

23 rue de Sévigné, Paris 4th.
Metro: Saint-Paul, line 1
For more information: www.carnavalet.paris.fr/

3) Jacquemart-André Museum

Musée Jacquemart-André

Photo Credit: Howard Stanbury, via Flickr

This expansive and elegant museum is set in a historic 19th century mansion, with galleries spanning former state apartments, informal apartments, a winter garden, an Italian museum, and private apartments. Despite being relatively unknown, its collections include many important painters, amongst which are the likes of Rubens, Poussin, Greco, Dalí, Brueghel, Fragonard, and Antoon Van Dyck.

€9,50 student admission

158 bd Haussman, Paris 8th
Metro: Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, line 9
For more information: musee-jacquemart-andre.com/

4) Musée du Vin Paris

Musée du Vin (13)

Photo Credit: Socorro van Aerts, via Flickr

This is one museum no student in Paris will want to miss. Admission includes a glass of wine, and visitors can enjoy blind wine tasting while gaining valuable insights into French viniculture.

Exhibiting more than 2000 historic objects used in French winemaking, these cellars opened as a museum in 1984, but date back to the 15th century.

€9,90, student admission

5 Square Charles Dickens, rue des Eaux, Paris 16th
Metro: Passy, line 6
For more information: www.museeduvinparis.com/

5) The Pagoda Paris

Sights of Paris IV

Photo Credit: Simply Boaz, via Flickr

As one of the most distinct buildings in Paris, the Pagoda Paris appears to have been uprooted directly from 19th century China. The building was originally constructed as a hotel in the 8th district beside the Parc Monceau, but was purchased in 1925 by Mr. Ching Tsai Loo (a renowned collector of Chinese art and antiques) who transformed the building’s exterior and converted it to an art gallery.

With impeccably designed interiors, extensive holdings of important Asian artifacts, and an unmistakable architectural style, the Pagoda Paris is a must-see.

€10 admission

48 rue de Courcelles, Paris 8th
Metro: Courcelles, line 2 or Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, line 9
For more information: www.pagodaparis.com/

With admission prices at top museums often out of reach for those on a tight budget, it is comforting to know you can still see great art and enjoy historic artifacts without breaking the bank. And don’t forget that these five museums represent just a tiny handful of Paris’ hidden cultural gems.

After you’ve enjoyed them, have fun scouring the city in search of even lesser known museums and galleries. In a city like Paris, where art is everywhere, they won’t be hard to find.

What hidden treasures have you found in Paris?

This article was contributed by Liam, an aspiring travel writer and journalist currently blogging on behalf of HouseTrip.com.


Comments for this post

  1. amelie88 December 8, 2013, 2:52 am

    Musee Carnavalet is actually free. :) You do have to pay for temporary exhibitions but the permanent collection is free. I’ve been there before and we didn’t pay anything (and the website says the same).

    Reply
  2. Allison Lounes December 9, 2013, 1:32 am

    You’re right – not sure how I missed that. Good catch!

    Reply

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    • Allison Lounes is a graduate of Columbia University (B.A., French and Romance Philology, 2009) and the Middlebury College French School (M.A., French, 2009). After studying abroad with Columbia University Programs in Paris during the 2007-2008 academic year, she returned to France in September 2009 to complete a Master 2 degree in Comparative Literature at the Université de Paris VII - Denis Diderot, where she studied Algerian libertine folktales.
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