Looking for great art museums but unwilling to deal with large crowds ? Already checked off the Louvre & Orsay from your list ? Here’s a short list of 5 lesser-known museums that are worth a visit.
Moïse de Camondo, a reputed Parisian banker during the Belle Époque, was a passionate collector of French furniture and art objects from the eighteenth century, and he amassed a collection of unusual quality. In 1911, he hired architect René Sergent to build a private mansion next to Parc Monceau that would be worthy of this collection and suitable for his family. The design was modeled after that of the Petit Trianon in Versailles, but behind the handsome décor of wood-paneled apartments were hidden the accoutrements of modern life, including kitchens, offices and bathrooms. The home, which is fully preserved in its original condition, offers an opportunity to discover the taste of a great collector and to get a glimpse of the everyday life of an aristocratic home.
Built at the end of the nineteenth century in Haussmann’s new Paris by Edouard André and his wife Nélie Jacquemart, a couple of major collectors, this private mansion (hôtel particulier) enables visitors to discover genuine nineteenth-century rooms and temporary exhibitions that are international in scope.
The Carnavalet-History of Paris Museum is the oldest City of Paris museum. It opened to the public on February 25, 1880, in the Carnavalet mansion (Hôtel Carnavalet) located in the Marais, a Paris district where the architectural heritage was particularly well-preserved.
Today, the Carnavalet-History of Paris Museum contains over 618,000 items dating from prehistory to the present. Paintings, sculptures, scale models, shop signs, drawings, engravings, posters, medals and coins, historical objects and souvenirs, photographs, wood paneling, interior decorations and furniture combine to present the history and tell the unique story of the capital. The singular spirit of the site ensures a rich, emotion-filled experience.
Located between the Seine and the Champs-Élysées, the Petit Palais is part of an exceptional monumental environment. Architectural jewel built by Charles Girault for the 1900 Paris Exposition with the Grand Palais and the Pont Alexandre III, the Petit Palais became in 1902 the museum of fine arts to house the rich collections of the City of Paris. The collections offer a wide artistic panorama, from Antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century. A true haven of peace, its interior garden welcomes visitors and allows them to take a pleasant break.
The Musée Marmottan Monet, located in the 16th arrondissement, houses one of the city’s largest Impressionism collections: 100 of Claude Monet’s masterpieces (from Impression, Sunrise to the water lilies) as well as numerous works from the artist’s personal collection (Gauguin, Guillaumin, Renoir, Sisley, Degas, etc.) ‘Grand dame’ of Impressionism Berthe Morisot is represented by a number of oil paintings, pastels and watercolours.