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Museums and art galleries in Opéra and Grands Boulevards

Take a trip through the captivating worlds of ballet, toy dolls and Edith Piaf in the heart of the city

© Oliver Knight / Time Out Paris

These historical central quartiers have a lot of stories to tell, so it’s no wonder there’s so vast an array of museums and art galleries to choose from. Whizz through the captivating worlds of ballet, toy dolls and Edith Piaf or alternatively get a hit of modern sculpture, art nouveau or decorative art with our selection of the very best such establishments in the Opéra and Grands Boulevards areas below.

The best museums and art galleries in Opéra and Grands Boulevards

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Critics' choice

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 of the Louvre since its opening a century ago, the venue reopened in 2006 after a decade-long, €35-million restoration of the building and of 6,000 of the 150,000 items donated mainly by private collectors. The major focus here is French furniture and tableware...

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Musée Edith Piaf

Set in an apartment where Piaf lived at the age of 18, when she sang on the streets of Ménilmontant, this tiny museum consists of two red-painted rooms crammed with letters, pictures, framed discs and objects belonging to the singer.Curator Bernard Marchois doesn't speak English. It helps, therefore, to have seen the Marion Cotillard film before you go, to allow you to piece together the scrapbook of Piaf's highly mythologised life...

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Eastern Paris

Musée de la Poupée

This small, private museum and doll hospital enchants little girls with its collection of some 500 dolls (mostly of French origin) and their accompanying accessories and pets, which are arranged in thematic tableaux.A few teddies and quacking ducks are thrown in for young boys, and storytelling sessions and workshops (along the lines of making doll's clothes or miniature food for dolls' houses) are held at 2pm on Wednesdays...

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Les Halles

Fondation d'Enterprise Paul Ricard

The Pastis firm promotes modern art with the Prix Paul Ricard, where young French artists are shortlisted by an independent curator for an annual prize. The Prix Paul Ricard coincides with FIAC each autumn...

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Bibliothèque Nationale de France - Richelieu & Musée du Cabinet des Médailles

The history of the French National Library began in the 1660s, when Louis XIV moved manuscripts that couldn't be housed in the Louvre to this lavish Louis XIII townhouse, formerly the private residence of Cardinal Mazarin. The library was first opened to the public in 1692, and by 1724 it had received so many new acquisitions that the adjoining Hôtel de Nevers had to be added. Some of the original painted decoration by Romanelli and Grimaldi can still be seen...

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