While some would say that very little holds a candle to the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, these behemoths of Paris’ museumscape are far from the only spots you can take in the city’s art, history, and culture. Here are just five of the dozens of museums in Paris that we think are worth a second glance.
1. Musée Marmottan
If you’ve been to the Orsay and the nearby Orangerie to see Claude Monet’s famous waterlilies, then the Marmottan should be your next stop. This former private home in the 16th arrondissement is home to the world’s largest collection of Monet paintings (and over 300 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works in all). It also houses Marmottan family’s collection of Napoleonic era art and furniture, giving you a small glimpse at what it might have been like to live in Paris in the 19th century.
2. Musée Jacquemart-André
Another small private home, this time in Paris’ 8th arrondissement, the Jacquemart-André is as much a discovery of this gorgeous mansion as of the collections housed within. Visitors tour through the formal state apartments, the informal apartments, the private apartments of the André family, the winter garden, and the Italian museum, which houses collections of 15th and 16th century Italian sculpture and paintings, including works by Donatello, Botticelli, and Bellini.
3. Musée des Egouts
Yep, you read that right: this museum is devoted to the sewer system of Paris. The history of Paris is inextricably linked to the river Seine, which was once the sewer through the city. When Napoleon began building the sewer system, it modernized the city exponentially. This (slightly smelly) museum takes you through these developments, from ancient times to the present.
4. Memorial de la Shoah
Founded in 2005, the Shoah memorial houses several exhibits dedicated to the plight of the Jewish people of France, many of whom lived in the Marais, where the museum is located. The museum is home notably to the Wall of Names, listing the approximately 76,000 Jewish people deported from France during the war.
5. Espace Dalí
Located up in beautiful Montmartre, this museum features over 300 original pieces from Surrealist master Salvador Dalí. Each year, the museum houses a new temporary exhibit, and it also displays modern works from local artists in tandem with Dalí’s masterpieces.