Cultural Heritage

Get to grips with French and world culture…



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Poupée kachina

Poupée kachina © Musée du Quai Branly - Claude Germain

While several of the city’s museums concentrate on one aspect of French culture (like the Musée du Vin, which covers French wine history, for instance), others focus on different cultures from around the world. Open your horizons with this list, and learn about everything from Ancient Egyptian funeral rites to money minting and French fashion…

Institut du Monde Arabe

A clever blend of high-tech and Arab influences, this Seine-side grand projet was constructed between 1980 and 1987 to a design by Jean Nouvel. Shuttered windows, inspired by the screens of Moorish

  1. 1 rue des Fossés-St-Bernard, 5th
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Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme

It's fitting that a museum of Judaism should be lodged in one of the grandest mansions of the Marais, for centuries the epicentre of local Jewish life. It sprung from the collection of a private

  1. Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, 71 rue du Temple, 3e
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Musée Carnavalet

Here, 140 chronological rooms depict the history of Paris, from pre-Roman Gaul to the 20th century. Built in 1548 and transformed by Mansart in 1660, this fine house became a museum in 1866, when

  1. 23 rue de Sévigné, 3e
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Musée du Quai Branly

Surrounded by trees on the banks of the Seine, this museum, housed in an extraordinary building by Jean Nouvel, is a vast showcase for non-European cultures. Dedicated to the ethnic art of Africa,

  1. 37 quai Branly, 7e
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Musée Cernuschi

Since the banker Henri Cernuschi built a hôtel particulier by the Parc Monceau for the treasures he found in the Far East in 1871, this collection of Chinese art has grown steadily. The fabulous

  1. 7 avenue Vélasquez, 8e
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Musée de la Monnaie de Paris

Housed in the handsome neo-classical mint built in the 1770s, this high-tech museum tells the tale of global and local coinage from its pre-Roman origins, using sophisticated displays and

  1. 11 quai de Conti, 6e
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Musée de la Poste

From among the uniforms, pistols, carriages, official decrees and fumigation tongs emerge snippets of history: during the 1871 Siege of Paris, hot-air balloons and carrier pigeons were used to get

  1. 34 boulevard de Vaugirard, 15e
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Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins

The royal tapestry factory was founded by Colbert when he set up the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne in 1662; it's named after Jean Gobelin, a dyer who owned the site. It reached the

  1. 1 Rue Berbier du Mets, 13e
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Maison de la Culture du Japon

Constructed in 1996 by the Anglo-Japanese architectural partnership of Kenneth Armstrong and Masayuki Yamanaka, this opalescent glass-fronted Japanese cultural centre screens films and puts on

  1. 101 bis quai Branly, 15e
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Musée National de la Marine

Sail back in time through 400 years of French naval history. Highlights include the Océan, a 19th-century sailing vessel equipped with an impressive 120 cannons; a gilded barge built for Napoleon;

  1. Palais de Chaillot, 17 place du Trocadéro, 16e
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Musée du Vin

Up there among Paris’s top cultural meal settings is Le Musee du Vin, a unique museum of extensive stone vaulted cellars and passages that connect to ancient quarry tunnels from which came the

  1. Rue des Eaux, 75016
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Musée Nissim de Camondo

Put together by Count Moïse de Camondo, this collection is named after his son Nissim, who was killed in World War I. Moïse replaced the family's two houses near Parc Monceau with this palatial

  1. 63 rue de Monceau, 8e
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Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine

Opened in 2007, this architecture and heritage museum impresses principally by its scale. The expansive ground floor is filled with life-size mock-ups of cathedral façades and heritage buildings,

  1. Palais de Chaillot, 1 place du Trocadéro, 16e
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Musée National des Arts Asiatiques - Guimet

Founded by industrialist Emile Guimet in 1889 to house his collection of Chinese and Japanese religious art, and later incorporating oriental collections from the Louvre, the museum has 45,000

  1. 6 place d'Iéna, 16e
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The Louvre

The world's largest museum is also its most visited, with an incredible 8.5 million visitors in 2009. It is a city within the city, a vast, multi-level maze of galleries, passageways, staircases and

  1. Rue de Rivoli
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Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Taken as a whole (along with the Musée de la Mode et du Textile and Musée de la Publicité), this is one of the world's major collections of design and the decorative arts. Located in the west wing

  1. 107 rue de Rivoli, 1er
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