Hidden Gem Museums in Paris
A visit to Paris wouldn’t seem complete without seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre or Van Gogh’s self-portrait at the Musée d’Orsay. Paris has so many hidden gems, though, that it’s also worth choosing a lesser-known museum or two to add to your itinerary. Here are some smaller museums to consider on your next Paris vacation.
The Curie family was awarded a total of five Nobel Prizes, so it’s no surprise that Paris has a museum dedicated to their work. This museum is housed in the laboratory that Marie Curie used to do her research on radioactivity. Plan a visit here to learn more about this Frenchwoman who broke many barriers for women in science around the world.
Musée Édith Piaf
Édith Piaf is a French singer whose voice and style are recognized worldwide. Music fans and francophiles will enjoy a visit to her small apartment-turned-museum. Much of the signage at this museum is in French, so be sure to learn some of this beautiful language before you go. Classes from a French School San Francisco are a great way to get ready before you travel.
This museum doesn’t require much time to explore, so use your trip to the museum as an excuse to explore the rest of the 11th arrondissement. The Opéra Bastille is an imposing, modern building in this neighborhood. Cafés and bakeries line the streets throughout the arrondissement, so be sure to leave time for a snack or a meal.
The Vampire Museum
Certainly, this museum is not for everyone, but if you enjoy the more macabre aspects of popular culture, this might be a great stop. If you happen to be in Paris for Halloween, consider a nighttime tour that includes a visit here. This small museum contains various artifacts from vampire books and films. In addition, you can see a 19th-century vampire-fighting kit and learn more about the history of vampire lore.
Although it also seems on the darker side of Parisian culture, a visit to the Catacombs is a fascinating look at Parisian history. The catacombs began when the cemeteries in Paris became too full to accept more bodies. This does not begin to explain, though, how and why the remains placed here were painstakingly arranged by hand into decorative walls that form the tunnels of this underground necropolis.
Don’t leave Paris without seeing the major sites that the city of lights is known for, especially if you’re enjoying your first visit. Do make a point, though, of visiting one or more of the city’s lesser-known museums that cover a topic you find interesting.