Let's Connect!


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Museums in Paris that Aren't the Louvre

If you're looking at planning a trip to Paris and finding it pretty expensive, I encourage you to try to see the city in a different way. Yes, you probably want to visit the Eiffel Tower (I always do), but there are so many ways to save in the city that most people don't realize. I have a confession: I've been to Paris 3 times and have never visited the Louvre. I've taken photos outside it, but the lines are always crazy.

I've been to Paris 3 times and have never visited the Louvre, but I've been to a ton of other awesome museums there instead.

On previous trips to Paris, we attempted to visit the more mainstream museums and always found that waiting in a line for an hour or two was not a good use of our time. If you have one of them on your must-do list, by all means, prioritize that, but I think you can get a great museum experience by going to the lesser-known ones. Let me tell you about my new favorites:

This is the ceiling of a little closet room. Just all owls. Staring at you.

The Museum of Hunting and Nature (Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature)

I'm not a big fan of hunting, though for some reason, I'm fascinated by taxidermy. I had read an article on Messy Nessy Chic called A Guide to Wes Anderson's Paris years ago and immediately put it on my list of things to do in Paris for my next visit. It took 5 years to get there, but I made it and I was not disappointed in this museum. 

I don't know if this artist ever saw a dog IRL, but this painting delights me

This museum is somehow both rustic and vibrant, colorful and crammed with treasures. There is a whole cabinet full of weird soup tureens, like ones that are just boars' heads, and another with horse armor. You'll find a ton of paintings of nature on the walls. It for sure celebrates animals in all forms.

This room was my favorite with these gorgeous chairs and paintings of hunting dogs and dead pheasants on tables with other dinner essentials. It has a gorgeous wallpaper and equally gorgeous drapes (which I failed to capture in any photos, because of the way the sun came into the room) and a sweet little resident.

This is just one of the many pieces of taxidermy in this museum. In fact, there's an entire room of "trophies", including the weirdest animatronic boar you've ever seen, and several rooms of vintage hunting rifles. Somehow, you feel like you're in a very luxe manor, but it's also cozy and inviting. It's very romantic in an odd way. 

Now, if stuffed animals (some of which are extinct) bothers you in any way, this is not for you at all, but I am always in awe of the artists that can make a deceased animal look absolutely real. Admission is very affordable, at about $13 per person. I recommend buying tickets online ahead of time to ensure you are able to visit if you go during a busy time. We did, but there were still hardly any people there around 3pm.

Paris hanging signs and building decorations

Carnavalet Museum

Unlike much of the other museums in Paris, this one is free to enter. It is dedicated to the history of Paris and there are many different sections, so there's a bit of something for everyone. 

Medieval architecture with gargoyles and grotesques

Learn how the city grew, all about the changing architecture, and iconic buildings. Like many other important attractions, Carnavalet educates you through signs, textiles, and models. Upstairs is a full art museum. 

I'll forever love these gorgeous walls and fireplaces in older buildings. I'm also very into furniture through the ages.

Juliette Gréco, singer and actress, by Robert Humblot

I hope to return to see more of this museum, as we kind of got there about an hour from closing. They have an entire floor of Parisian artists, including this one above that really caught my eye. I adored the whole vibe and would immediately decorate my whole house around this piece if I owned it.

The Centre Pompidou

We returned to my favorite museum anywhere. The 6-story museum has all the things: sculptures, paintings, performance, textiles, and more. Everything from impressionist to watercolors, metal to wood, itty bitty pieces to those that take up an entire room. There was one room that was walls that were just fallen leaves contained in metal cages, which wouldn't have been that interesting, but every leaf was the same color and I thought that was pretty impressive.

You'll find famous artists and some of your new favorites. With so many things to take in, you could easily spend an entire day here.

Spend some time outside in the sculpture "garden". This is where people go and admire the Paris skyline, sketch people and art, and get some fresh air. It might be far away, but there's the Eiffel Tower back there. I watched as a bunch of pigeons flew in and drank from the water feature and then took off after they were rested and hydrated. That was great entertainment for me.

Le Monstre de Soisy, by Niki de Saint Phalle

Here's one of my favorite pieces that I saw on this visit. A monster made up of trash, like that spray paint can in the inset. There's, literally, so much here, including a special exhibit on the top floor next to their restaurant, so you can easily take a break and refuel. There's also a café on the ground floor. If you want to learn more about the Pompidou, I wrote about it after my last visit

Admission rates at the time of this post are $15 for the main museum and $18 if you want to include the special exhibit. The euro is almost 1 to 1 to the dollar right now, so I am quoting in dollars, as it makes it easy to not do conversions.

Paris Sewer Museum (

Musée des Égouts de Paris)

Not every museum in the city is dedicated to traditional works of art. Some show you history through an unconventional means. Paris had the first modern sewer system and they are proud of that, as they should be. I wrote a whole post on this museum that resides under the city streets. This is a good museum for engineering, city planning, and mechanical nerds, or for those that are just super curious and like learning new things.

Museum of Magic (Musée de la Magie or Musée de la Curiosité et de la Magie)

Are you a lover of all things magic? If so, this small museum in the basement of the Magic Academy might be for you. It houses a private collection of objects of illusion, magic mirrors, secret boxes, and other magic-related items. You can also see magic shows here and a large collection of automats (mechanical devices that appear to work entirely under their own power). 

The museum is small and photos aren't allowed, but if you adore magic, the $10 admission fee isn't too steep for the visit. It's also housed underneath the home of the Marquis de Sade, so if you are into history, at least go check out the building.

The entire city

If museums aren't your thing, or you're trying to save money, but you still want to see some great art, just walking around the city can satisfy your needs. As in many other cities, Paris is covered in some amazing murals and graffiti. Look down alleys, look up, look down, and keep an eye out for Space Invaders and little sketches on the sides of buildings as well.

I'm not sure if this was on the other side of an actual fencing academy, but this wall just had badass fencing ladies along the length.

Even the Metro stations are beautiful. This one is down the stairwell of the deepest station in Paris, properly called the Abysses, which translates to bottomless chasms. 

One morning we came out of brunch to this vibrant piece. At the time, I wished the tables and chairs weren't there, but now I think they add to the cool look. Imagine dining next to this.

And I leave you with this hilarious piece I found in an alley around the corner from our Paris flat: A Witch Doctor. LOL!

I hope this little visit to some of the less-crowded places in Paris to view art was fun and gives you a new way of coming up with your trip plan. Paris can be budget-friendly, if you know how to do it, but always know when to splurge to get the most out of your visit.

What are some of your favorite art cities?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pin It button on image hover