France's capital city is rightfully lauded for its world-class art galleries, but there's far more to Paris than just the Louvre and Pompidou. If you want to see a little more than the tourist hotspots, it's worth straying off the beaten track and heading to a few of the city's smaller cultural offerings.
Throughout the centuries, Paris has been a boundless source of inspiration for painters, sculptors and writers alike. Today, the city remains a cultural hub and is the perfect place to learn more about France's artistic past, historical influences, and quirky counterculture. Whether you're looking for a personal glimpse into the lives of some of the world's greatest artists, or an underground voyage through the city's sewers, this guide will give you insight into some of Paris's best little museums. See another side of Paris and explore these lesser known but just as fascinating places below.
Art galleries and artists
Dalí and Rodin both have dedicated museums in the city. Based in the sculptor's former home, the historic hôtel Biron, the Rodin Museum is an immersive experience where you can stroll amongst a large collection of statues and sculptures. The Espace Dali is situated in bohemian Montmartre, and displays many of Dalí's surrealist masterpieces, including sculptures, engravings and furniture, such as the famous Mae West sofa lips. Paris is also home to the sensitively preserved Delacroix Museum, the extensive art collection of the Picasso Museum and the often-overlooked Moreau Museum.
Into travel photography? You'll want to see these stunning photos of Paris by urban photographer Sébastien Nagy.
Parisian history and culture
Anyone looking to stroll through the extensive history of this fascinating city should look no further than the Carnavalet Museum. From medieval artifacts like a prehistoric canoe, which dates back to 4600BC, to a recreation of Marcel Proust's bedroom, the museum is an educational tour de force.
The The Museum of Romantic Life is an homage to the Romanticism movement and is based in the house of Dutch painter Ary Scheffer, once a meeting place for influential figures such as Chopin and Delacroix. Alternatively, explore the past of one of Paris's most famous districts at the Montmartre Museum where you can also take a walk through Renoir's gardens.
Offbeat and (literally) underground
It's worth experiencing some of Paris's countercultural offerings too. A bazaar for the weird and wonderful world of the fairground, The Fairground Art Museum is one of the city's best-kept secrets. This collection of games, toys, fairground rides and theatrical props was started in the 1970s by Jean Paul Favand and houses objects which date back as far as the 1800s.
The Guimet Museum is a product of the 19th century fascination with the Far East, and houses a delightful range of porcelain, weapons, manuscripts and Asian religious art. Just a ten minute walk east of the Radisson Blu hotel, Champs Elysees, Paris, you can also visit the museum's Japanese garden and tea pavilion.
Plunge a little deeper into Paris with a visit to the Sewer Museum (yes, you read that right). The city's sewer system achieved notoriety in French culture and is even referenced in key pieces of literature such as Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. The tour, which lasts about an hour, gives visitors the chance to traverse a portion of the 2,400km subterranean network of tunnels and galleries first developed in the late 19th Century. You may need a strong stomach though; although the tourist route has been thoroughly sanitized for visitors, the sewers are still in use today.
Avoid the crowds and stay close to these fascinating museums with Radisson Blu!
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