Monday, October 14, 2013

5 of the Quirkiest Museums in Paris

There’s no denying that Paris is home to an impressive array of museums – but forget the Musée d'Orsay, the Palace of Versailles or even the Louvre because there’s a ton of unusual, eccentric and downright weird museums in Paris that deserve your attention. Here are a few of our favourites.

Musée Dupuytren / Skeleton museum

One for the fans of the macabre, Paris’ Musée Dupuytren requires a strong stomach and a steady disposition. This museum holds over 6000 medical artefacts, full-scale skeletons and preserved organs, all on show in gruesome jars and display cases. The collection concentrates on body parts and deformities that were considered monstrous at the time the museum opened in 1835. It’s certainly a grisly sight but one that’s well worth a visit if you’re after an unusual experience in Paris – just don’t head there too soon after eating your lunch!

15 Rue de l'École de Médecine, 75006 Paris Mon-Fri: 2pm-5pm

Nearest metro: Odéon or Cluny – La Sorbonne

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Musée de la Curiosité et de la Magie / Museum of Magic

If you dare to venture down into the 16th century cellars below the house of Marquis de Sade, you’ll find yourself entering a world of magic. The Musée de la Curiosité et de la Magie is home to an enchanted array of optical illusions, magic mirrors, two-way glass, wind-up toys and the tour even finishes with your very own magic show. You’ll have so much fun at this dreamlike museum that the afternoon will disappear right before your eyes!

11 Rue Saint-Paul, 75004 Paris Sun: 2pm-7pm

Nearest metro: St Paul or Sully Morland

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Le Musée des Égouts de Paris / Sewer museum

It might not sound like the most appealing museum in the City of Love, but Paris’ sewer system is one of the oldest and most complex in the entire world. Dating all the way back to 1370, the gothic arches, winding alleyways and mysterious tunnels of Le Musée des Égouts de Paris run for 2100km and are even described as ‘the Paris beneath Paris’. Here’s your chance to see a part of Paris that the usual tourist doesn’t even know is there – and it’s certainly a memorable experience!

Face au 93 Quai d'Orsay, 75007 Paris Mon-Wed & Sat-Sun: 11am-4pm

Nearest metro: Pont de l'Alma or Alma – Marceau

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Musée de l’Erotisme / Museum of Eroticism

Situated right next to the world famous Moulin Rouge and its surrounding underworld, cast your shyness aside and take a trip to the Musée de l’Erotisme. Made up from the impressive art collections of antique dealer Alain Plumey and French teacher Jo Khalifa, objects include ancient and religious art from the likes of Africa, India and Japan to the contemporary erotic art of the modern day. With five floors of artefacts, including a floor devoted to the legal brothels of the 19th and early 20th century – known as maisons closes – it’s sure to be a full-on attack on the senses.

72 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris Everyday: 10am-2am

Nearest metro: Blanche

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Musée du Fumeur / Smoking museum

The act of smoking dates back through the centuries to the tobacco culture of Native Americans and the opium pipes of ancient China, following a fascinating path to its present day perception. Paris’ Musée du Fumeur collates every kind of smoking paraphernalia you could imagine, including Egyptian shisha, hookah pipes, snuffboxes, old cigars and tobacco samples, as well as captivating old portraits, photographs and drawings through the centuries. Whether you’re a smoker or not, this museum is worth a visit on the grounds that it’s a historic look at culture, not an advert for modern-day smoking.

7 Rue Pache, 75011 Paris Mon-Sat: 12.30pm-7pm

Nearest metro: Voltaire

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Where to stay
After a long day of sightseeing around Paris’ most unusual museums, a comfortable place to rest your weary head will no doubt be at the top of your list. Whether you fancy some of the luxurious Right Bank or the artsy and bohemian neighbourhoods of La Rive Gauche, there are often great deals to be had, especially with hotels in Paris from Expedia. Think of all that spending money you’ll have for the gift shop!

How to get there

Less than 20 miles northeast of the city, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport is a quick an easy way to get to the city. From there, the RER "B" train line runs straight into Paris Gare du Nord in just 30 minutes. 11 miles south of the city is Paris’ Orly International airport, from which you can reach the centre by the free Orlyval shuttle train. If you plan to travel from London by Eurostar, the route simply goes from Kings Cross St. Pancras direct to Paris Gare du Nord. Easy!

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