Paris is a city known world wide for its famous museums and exceptional collections of artworks and objects. Most people visit the Louvre and the Musée D’Orsay, but there are many more smaller and sometimes strange museums in Paris. Why not venture a bit off the beaten path and explore these lesser known unusual museums?
Musée des Vampires et Monstres de l’Imaginaire
Perhaps the most creepy museum in Paris, Musée des Vampires, is dedicated to Vampires and Monsters. This museum, the only museum dedicated to vampires in the entire world, is located just outside of Paris at the Porte des Lilas. It is open all year but reservations are required: email@example.com. The objects and artifacts illustrate the story of the popular belief of vampires over the centuries and across cultures. The owner, Jacques Sirgent, is a “vampirologist” and has amassed this collection of creepy objects including a real 19th century Vampire protection kit.
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
Located in the heart of the Marais in the former Hôtel de Guénégaud (a 17th century private mansion built by Jules Hardouin Mansart), the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature tells the story of human’s relationship with the animal kingdom through the practice of hunting. But far beyond hunting, this museum’s unique collection and expositions are delightful and quirky. The museum is a true cabinet des curiosités in the truest sense of the term. Both ancient and contemporary objects and artworks are displayed together in an interesting and thought provoking layout. Fantasy elements are added including a room dedicated to unicorns. The hôtel particulier is decorated with sculptures resembling antlers and vines by the Brazillian artist Saint Clair Cemin and one of the ceilings in the museum is covered with owl feathers by Belgian artist Jan Febre. This is truly a museum not to miss and it is never crowded!
Musée de l’Éventail
For lovers of fashion history, the Musée de l’Éventail is the first museum in France dedicated to fans. With a collection of 2500 objects spanning from the 16th century to the 20th century, this small museum is also comprised of an atelier which continues to make fans for the Paris opera and for period films, including Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola. The museum is located in a small apartment on 2 Boulevard de Strasbourg.
Musée des Arts Forains
This dream-like museum is found in Bercy, away from the crowds in central Paris. Proposing a collection of items and interactive exhibition spaces related to entertainment and the circus, the museum offers a delightful glimpse into the world of amusement fairs and performers. The Fun Fairs of the Belle-Epoque are highlighted. This whimsical museum is located at 53 Avenue des Terroirs de France, and prior reservations are required: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Within the elegant surroundings of the Haussmannian buildings in the 8th arrondissement, just next to the very chic Parc Monceau, is a wonderful surprise: a bright red and gilded Chinese Pagoda. In 1925 by Ching Tsai Loo, a collector of Chinese and Asian Art, commissioned the architect Ferdinand Bloch to transform a 19th century hotel particulier into a pagoda. It now functions as an exhibition space for CT Loo et Cie, a gallery specialized in Asian Arts and in particular Chinese Art. The works displayed are both antique and contemporary. Pagoda Paris is located at 48 Rue de Courcelles.
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