The History of Paris –
At The Museums

After 2000 years there's a lot of history and it takes a lot of museums to cover it. What better place to brush up on the history of Paris than at specialized museums geared to telling the complicated story of Paris?

There are many museums covering various aspects to the history of the city. Some are large, others are small.

Some specialize in the Big Picture, like Musée Carnavalet, where the sweeping story of Paris is told through art, architecture and artifacts, others cover a specific period or event.

Others focus on a specialized topic in the history of Paris or France, such as the National Naval Museum. Then there are the quirky museums, like the Postal Museum where you'll learn about the role communication has played in the history of France.

Whatever your interest, there is history of Paris museums that will educate and enlighten you about the brilliant history of the French capital.

Musée National du Moyen Age

Musee National du Moyen Age

Reach back to the Middle Ages at the Hôtel de Cluny, a mansion from Medieval Paris. Discover the collection of ancient tapestries, including La Dame a la Licorne (The Lady And The Unicorn), considered the greatest work of art from the Middle Ages.

Cluny: History of the Middle Ages Museum
6, place Paul Painlevé, 75005
Metro: Cluny-La Sorbonne, Saint-Michel
Open: 9:15 am to 5:45 pm
Closed: Tuesdays and public holidays
Website »
Free Entrance with the Paris Museum Pass »

Musée National de la Marine

National Naval Museum

Voyage through the history of French navy frigates, steamers and battleships at the National Naval Museum.

The artifacts and exhibits date back to Louis XV and capture the spirit of naval adventure.

National Naval Museum
Palais de Chaillot, Place du Trocadero, 75016
Metro: Trocadéro
Open: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, Fri. until 9:30, Sat & Sun. until 7:00pm
Closed: Tuesday and public holidays
Website »
Free Entrance with the Paris Museum Pass »

Musée Carnavalet

A Paris Insiders Guide Favourite

Musée Carnavalet

600,000 exhibits. 100 rooms. 5 centuries of history. This is the place to discover the history of Paris.

It's rarely crowded and when you've had your fill of history, there's a pretty garden to relax in. As a City of Paris museum, entrance is free!

Carnavalet: The Museum of the History Of Paris
23 rue de Sévigné, 75003
Metro: St-Paul, Chemin Vert
Open: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Closed: Monday and public holidays
Free Admission
Website »

Musée Cognacq-Jay

Musée Cognacq-Jay

Ernest Cognacq and Théodore-Ernest Jay, the power couple from the Belle Epoque era, founded La Samarataine, one of the grands magasins (big department stores).

When they died in the 1920s they left their possessions, including a beautiful collection of fine 18th century art and decorative items, to the City of Paris. The museum is housed in a mansion built in the Marais in 1575.

Cognacq-Jay Museum
8 Rue Elzevir, 75003
Metro: St-Paul, Chemin Vert
Open: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Closed: Monday and public holidays
Website (French) »

Musée Nissim de Camondo

A Paris Insiders Guide Favourite

Musée Nissim De Camondo

This beautiful and haunting museum was once the private home of a wealthy Jewish Parisian family whose legacy ended when the last surviving members were murdered by the Nazis.

What's left is an impressive collection of their furniture and objects from 18th century France. It's just part of the complex history of Paris.

Nissim de Camondo Museum
63 Rue de Monceau, 75008
Metro: Monceau, Villiers
Open: 11:00 to 6:00 pm
Closed: Monday and public holidays
Website »
Free Entrance with the Paris Museum Pass »

L'Adresse – Musée de la Poste

Musée de la Poste

Postal Museum — boring? Not at all. Semaphore, telegraph, and telephones, this fascinating museum covers all aspects of the story of communications over more than three centuries.

Of course it contains a lot of interesting exhibits about postal communications, but it includes works by Alexander Graham Bell.

Postal Museum
21 Avenue du Maine, 75015
Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue (exit #2: Place Bienvenue)
Open: 10:00 - 6:00 pm. Thursday until 8:00 pm
Closed: Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Website »
Free Entrance with the Paris Museum Pass »

Musée Jean Moulin

& Mémorial du Maréchal Leclerc

Musee Jean Moulin

Learn about World War II as it happened in France and Paris.

This museum covers many aspects of the history of that conflict. It tells the poignant stories of two iconic French WWII leaders: Marshal Leclerc and resistance leader Jean Moulin. Also, it acts as a sort of unofficial repository of the Liberation of Paris in August 1944.

Jean Moulin and Marshall Leclerc Museum
23, Allee de la 2e DB, Jardin Atlantique
(above the Montparnasse train station), 75015
Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue
Open: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Closed: Mondays and holidays
Website »
Free admission

The Paris Story

Plunge into the history of the city we love at this unique museum that takes you on an 3-D interactive journey through prehistoric settlements, Middle Ages, revolutions and wars. This is a good choice for families.

The Paris Story
11 Rue Scribe, 75009
Metro: Opera
Open: Daily 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Closed: Never Website »
Free Entrance with the Paris Museum Pass »

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