8 Unique Museums of Paris
A first-time Paris visitor or a habitué, at some point you’ll just crave for a respite from all those classic attractions like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. So here we are, with our list of unusual and unique museums of Paris. Should you be a family person, the one who loves creepy things or just looking for something remarkable, there are numerous curiosities waiting for you outside the beaten tourist track. Here’s the shortlist of unusual museums we love most.
Unusual Paris museums
Les Catacombes De Paris. 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris
Les Catacombes De Paris is one of the most popular, curious and spookiest attractions outside the standard tourist route. This is an ossuary with rows of human bones thoroughly stacked in former quarries. Just think it: almost six million remains lying beneath the ground just in the centre of the French capital! The ossuary was established in late 18th century when a number of overflowing graveyards were closed. A massive percentage of bones you see there comes from the Cimetière des Innocents. Definitely not a place to visit with small kids. But if you love unusual and chilling experiences, that is the spot for you to go to in the first place. Some rules to follow: don’t touch the bones and don’t even think of taking something with you (yeah, some try to!).
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Musée de la Poupée. Quartier Beaubourg, Impasse Berthaud, 75003 Paris
The museum’s name, “Doll Museum”, might lead some into delusion that it is aimed at families only. But in fact, this place is also a discovery for those who take the art of doll-making seriously. The museum’s permanent collection boasts more than 800 dolls housed within four rooms. These exhibits cover the period from 1800s till 1959, thus serving as a live evidence of how the art of doll-making evolved. Porcelain, wax and celluloid dolls of the past are of course the museum’s centerpiece. But there are also temporary exhibitions organized quite often, and these ones are focused on a much greater variety of things. For example, the list of most recent exhibitions includes “Barbie Retro Chic” (dedicated to retro Barbies), “Ethinicities” (ethnic dolls), and an exhibition of snow globes. See the museum site to learn whether there is something to show to your kids at the moment.
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Deyrolle Taxidermy. 46 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
A unique 19th-century museum that gathers the wonders of our planet in one place, that’s what Deyrolle Taxidermy is. Starting from its foundation in 1831, it has been attracting crowds with its collection of taxidermy exhibits and some natural history and entomology artifacts. From the smallest creatures, like insects, to the largest ones, such as polar bears, the museum demonstrates the diversity of our planet’s life. The atmosphere of the place is quite captivating as well, as it reflects the historic spirit of the 19th century. Unfortunately, the museum faced a destructive fire in 2007. But the efforts of international collectors and artists brought the place back to life. An atmospheric and curious place to discover.
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Musée des Arts et Métiers. 60 Rue Réaumur, 75003 Paris
An inventor in your soul,or simply a fan of everything unusual, cutting-edge andprogressive, you simply must learn how the technological wonders of nowadays appeared. And the right place to do this is this Museum of Arts and Crafts that started in late 18th century as the “store of new and useful inventions”. The museum demonstrates more than 2400 exhibits that were the brainchildren of the smartest (or craziest maybe?) inventors of their times. The marvels are divided between seven sections: Scientific Instruments, Energy, Materials, Transport, Communication, Mechanics and Construction. But the gem of the museum collection is the impressive exhibition of aircrafts and automobiles, plus the original Foucault’s pendulum, housed in the Saint-Martin-des-Champs. Take a guided tour around the museum’s best objects or buy an audio guide available in 8 languages.
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Musée Dupuytren. 15, rue de l'Ecole de Médecine, 75006 Paris
The creepiest museum you could probably find in Paris, Musée Dupuytren is named after the famous French surgeon Guillaume Dupuytren. It is focused on anatomical exhibits that show various diseases and pathologies, many of which can (luckily) rarely be seen nowadays. Skeletons, human organs preserved in alcohol and wax anatomical models aren’t something to show to your kids or other members of your family. But if you’re not scared, welcome to explore the human body from the inside. The museum had been in decline for years after Jacques Delarue made general refurbishment to it. Its collection is one of the largest of the kind. It’s also important from the historic point, for some items date back to the 17th century.
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Musée Des Arts Forains. 53 Avenue des Terroirs de France, 75012 Paris
In case you get the feeling there is nothing but scary stuff found outside the touristy Paris – welcome to the Musée Des Arts Forains, the museum that’s both entertaining and educational. Opened in 1996 by an actor Jean Paul Favand, the museum houses the funfair objects from the period of 1850 – 1950, including historic carousels, fair stalls and restored attractions such as the Hooghuys Organ and the German swings. But the best thing is that you can try out some of the amusement rides to get the feel of the 19th century fun. Note that reservation is required for everyone who wants to visit the museum.
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La Musée des Vampires. 14 rue Jules David, 93000 Les Lilas
Located outside the centre of Paris, in the eastern commume of Les Lilas, this museum reveals a rich collection of vampire-themed items compiled by its owner Jacques Sirgent. Come inside the museum through its atmospheric entrance to see posters, books, paintings and other themed objects gathered by the museum owner, and perhaps have a small talk with Mr. Sirgent himself. Jacques Sirgent is a known expert in vampire history and background, who definitely has some curious information to share with you. You’ll also have an interesting introductory course into the history of superstitions and European culture. Besides, there is so much more to see at the museum than just statuettes and souvenirs. For example, there are antique books that come far from the past and even a collection of autographs of every Hollywood actor that has ever played Dracula. Note that you can visit the museum by appointment only. The best way to get to Les Lilas is by Paris Metro Line 11 (Mairie des Lilas station).
Musée de l’érotisme. 72 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris
The Parisian museum of eroticism occupies quite an atmospheric (and suitable) space of a former cabaret.Its seven floors are dedicated to all the sides of this most essential but also most tabooed part of our life, from its history to expressions in art. Items from every historic period, from the ancient times to modernity, are demonstrated to prove how important the subject was for our ancestors as well. As for the modern times, the museum showcases some important documents, drawings and photos dedicated to the history of prostitution in Paris. And perhaps one of the museum’s most outstanding exhibits are the early 20th century black-and-white silent porn movies.
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