Musee du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly

As a dazzling showcase for art from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, the slick Jean Nouvel–designed Musée du Quai Branly, almost at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, is implicitly intended to rectify the cultural arrogance at the heart of France’s colonial expansion during the 19th century. During this imperial adventure, the country accumulated a rich hoard of what was once known as “primitive art.” Though Nouvel’s design has had mixed reviews architecturally, there’s no denying that the museum houses one of the richest, most interesting, and best-displayed collections of African, Asian, North and South American, and Pacific-island art in the world.

37 quai Branly; 7th; 01-56-61-70-00
Marmottan Monet

Musée Marmottan Monet

The Musée Marmottan Monet is not only one of Paris’s greatest small museums but an international star for its spectacular collection of some 165 paintings by Claude Monet. Formerly the hunting lodge of the Duc de Valmy, it was purchased by Jules Marmottan, a wealthy 19th-century industrialist. Two subsequent donations—a stunning collection of paintings from Victorine Monop de Monchy, daughter of Docteur de Bellio, whose patients included Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, and Renoir, and the private collection of Michel Monet, Monet’s second son—transformed the museum into the little gem that it is today.

2 rue Louis-Boilly; 16th; 33-1-44-96-50-33
Arts et Metiers

Musée des Arts et Metiers

Founded in 1794 and today occupying the former priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, the offbeat Musée des Arts et Metiers is devoted to scientific discovery and mechanical and industrial inventions, which are organized according to seven themes: scientific instruments, materials, construction, communication, mechanics, energy, and transport. Perhaps the most famous instrument in its collection of some 80,000 objects is Foucault’s pendulum, which was popularized by a novel by Italian writer Umberto Eco.

60 rue Réaumur; 3rd; 01-53-01-82-00
Musee de la Musique

Musée de la Musique

At the Musée de la Musique, in the Parc de la Villette, instruments from the unequaled collection of the Paris Conservatoire—from early horns and Stradivarius violins to modern synthesizers and Gibson electric guitars—come alive through headphones with commentary (in English) on instrumental developments over the past five centuries. The audio program also includes Conservatoire faculty members answering questions and demonstrating, say, the right way to play Javanese temple bells. Finish your visit with lunch at the Café de la Musique, an outpost of the Costes empire.

221 avenue Jean-Jaurès; 19th; 01-44-84-44-84;
Subscribe to Gourmet