paris musings – the museums

THE MUSEUMS

This could be a long list, but for the time being, here are some of our preferred museums… slightly off the beaten tourist path.

Musée des Arts et Métiers 60 Rue Réaumur, 75003 Paris

Founded in 1794 by Henri Grégoire, this museum is dedicated to technological innovation and inventions. There are seven collections: Scientific instruments, Materials, Energy, Mechanics, Construction, Communication and Transport. It was refurbished in 2000, and has over 2,400 inventions housed in quite an impressive interconnected buildings, including planes hanging within an church – well worth a visit for that space alone.

Grande Galerie de l’Évolution 36 Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, 75005 is another impressive vast metal and glass hall structure, with a collection of over 7000 preserved/ taxydermied animals on displayed.

It is close to the Jardin des plants, and the Grande Mosquée de Paris which in turn has the tea room… Cafe de la Mosquee de Paris, 39 Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Paris, Île-de-France 75005that is supposed to be great (I have yet to get to the tearoom)

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Hunting & Nature) 62, rue des Archives, 75003 is as the name suggests, full of the tools man has developed to hunt IMG_7522.JPGanimals; primarily guns – some with incredibly ornate inlays, there were also some crossbows and other items. The majority of the musem is dedicated to paintings, and the taxidermy animals, including a talking boar head. S. generally found is all a bit scary, so we shot around, with a brief visit to the top floor where there was the chimpanzee tea party along with the “Hunting Wild Game With Flashlight and Camera”  exhibition of the 1905 photographs by George Shiraz, the American lawyer/politician and former hunter turned photographer.

IMG_7595.JPGMusee Picasso  5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 is a fabulous collection of over 5,000 pieces work on several floors. Long lines to get in, but very enjoyable. As Picasso requires little explanation, a bit about the actual building … Hotel Salé (salted) was built between 1656 and 1659 for Pierre Aubert, a tax farmer who became rich collecting salt tax. The architect was Jean Boullier from Bourges and it is considered to be one of the finest historic houses in the Marais. It was selected as the Musée Picasso in the 70s and designed by the French architect Roland Simounet.

Palais de la Découverte– Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 75008. We have spent many a day in this museum. It has some fabulous temporary exhibitions, but its mainly the hands on interactive area along with the Planets room that we keep returning for. In addition to this, there are kid friendly lectures (in French) in the various departments of chemistry, biology, physics, and maths amongst others. The museum was created in 1937 by Jean Baptiste Perrin during an international exhibition on “Arts and techniques in modern life” and is next to the Grand Palais.

IMG_7920.JPGCité des Sciences et de l’Industrie
30 Avenue Corentin Cariou, 75019 Paris
This building is totally different to its sister museum, Palais de la Découverte.
With two interactive play areas for kids, one aged <5 the other 5-12, we have always gone to the small one in the past which has been a lot of fun. Very physical, things to touch, feel, and manipulate. The 5+ was a new experience, plenty to keep the kids entertained, slightly more informative for the readers amongst you, and a couple of live TV/Studio production set ups. I’ll need to go back again for full exploration 🙂
The huge, modern, five-level metal structure is impressive enough with its “bioclimatic facade” and IMAX theater, but then it is set in the fabulous grounds of Parc de la Villette – the largest park in Paris. You can easily spend the whole day getting lost amongst the play areas, fields, and pathways. The expanse of land for kids to run around, the Argonaute (S636) submarine, the playgrounds with the grand colorful dragon slide, it is all great for wearing young ones out!
The Grande Halle de la Villette seems to always be hosting some public get together, whilst the Cite de la Music along with the Philharmonie de Paris hosts exhibitions (the late David Bowie exhibition – loved it) and performanes (I saw Moriarty here – loved it!). Surrounded by the Canal de Saint Denis and the Bassin de la Villet, you can get strange little boat-carts that running down to the Canal Saint Martin.

Musée Marmottan Monet  2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris

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