Small Museums

 

Another great thing about Paris?

 

You are never very far from magnificent soul-enriching art.

 

Or a haunted house.

 

 

First floor of Gustave Moreau museum

 

Right around the corner from the apartment I rented, no more than 30 metres away at 14 rue de la Rochefoucaut is an elegant three-story gray stone house.

 

Backyard at the museum in the 9th district of Paris

 

You might not even notice it unless you were looking for the sign, because it is one of Paris’ beloved but lesser known museums displaying the works of Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau (1826-1898).

 

Portrait of the artist Gustav Moreau

Women sitting in front of Jupiter and Semele (1895)

Winter Visits to Museums

With fewer tourists and line-ups in January and February, this is the best time to visit museums in Paris, and to especially explore the smaller ones that offer a rare advantage.  Where you can feel overwhelmed in the Louvre, with so much to see and so many artists, the more compact galleries offer an intimate experience.

 

 

Inside Gustav Moreau museum

Gustave Moreau Museum

Musée Gustave Moreau is special in this way because it features just one artist, and it was once both the painter’s home and workshop.

The first floor has been preserved with the original decor of Moreau’s living quarters with a dining room, sitting room and bedroom.

 

Dining room sideboard

 

Le salon

 

The 2nd and third floors were his studios. They are expansive and connected by a spectacular circular staircase.

 

 

 

 

You can imagine Moreau working here, and almost feel his presence* as you amble slowly from floor to floor taking in the majesty of his work that showcases primarily biblical and mythological figures.

 

Moreau painted some 8000 paintings, water colours and drawings over his lifetime. They are on display all over the world from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

 

Portrait of A Woman by Gustave Moreau

 

But visiting this little corner honouring the man and his work is enthralling.

*Some people believe the museum to be haunted — not by the artist, but by French writer and poet André Breton, who actually did visit or “haunt” the museum regularly.

André Breton was a huge fan and regarded Moreau as a precursor of Surrealism.

Other Small Museums in Paris

Here is a list of some other Small Museums that are worth a look and are on my list.

Click on the links for more information–

The Orangerie

Petit Palais

Musée Cluny: National Medieval Museum

Musée Mormottan-Monet

Palais Galliera: Fashion Museum of the City Of Paris

Musée Macquemart-Andre

Maison Europséenne de La Photographie (European House of Photography)

Paris Museum Passes

Remember the best deal on tickets is to buy a 2-day or 4-day ticket which will give you access to almost every museum in Paris.

This is worthwhile if you want to visit more than 2 or 4 museums respectively in that time.  And you can do it online.

Note: Many museums are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays so take that into consideration when you buy multiple day tickets.

 

Two Day MUSEUM PASS you can purchase HERE.

Four Day Museum Pass you can purchase HERE.

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14 Comments

  1. Luci on January 26, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Such great info. Im accumulating it all for our trip this year!

    • Diana Bishop on January 26, 2020 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Luci,
      I will be putting together Diana’s Top Things To Do in Paris in my membership program to give readers a way to see them at a glance rather than having to find the blogs again! Thanks for commenting. Diana

  2. Lagatta de Montréal on January 26, 2020 at 11:09 am

    I’ve been to the Gustave Moreau museum more than once, and most of the others listed.

    Not a very small museum, but one of my favourites, http://www.carnavalet.paris.fr/ Musée Carnavalet, museum of the history of Paris. It is located in two historic “hôtels particuliers” – This does not mean a hotel or inn renting to paying guests, but the urban equivalent of a manor: an elaborate, usually artistocratic, urban dwelling. And it is located in the equally historic Marais district. It was supposed to be open by early 2020, but isn’t yet.

    • Diana Bishop on January 26, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      Thank you Lagatta — sounds like you should be writing a blog about Paris too! I will put that museum on my list of things I want to see!
      Never heard of it. Fabulous. Diana

      • Lagatta de Montréal on February 9, 2020 at 5:26 pm

        I suppose that a “hôtel particulier” is somewhat similar to a mansion in English-speaking countries, but there is less emphasis on grand grounds outside it; the architecture and materials are very elegant but it is often flush with the street. If there are gardens (formal or à l’anglaise) they are located in inner gardens and courtyards. A visit to some notable ones in the Marais (this museum and the Jewish Museum in the Marais will provide a clearer explanation. Earlier on, there were aristocratic squares such as Place des Voges, also a haunt of Victor Hugo.

        I do have useless history and literature/languages degrees…

  3. Trudy Van Buskirk on January 26, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    When I look at the photos, It feels as if I’m there. Who does your photographs you? If so you’re very good. I’m so glad you gave links to many small galleries so I can “visit” them online!

    • Diana Bishop on January 26, 2020 at 8:02 pm

      Trudy! I am so glad you feel that way. As a journalist I always tried to write my stories to make people feel like they were there with me.
      And yes, unless I specify otherwise, I take all my own photos. Thank you for the comment and the support as always. Diana

  4. Gabrielle on January 27, 2020 at 2:44 am

    You’re so right that it’s the bet time to get lost in small museums, especially those with cafés attached for a little warmth before heading back out into the cold.

    I’ve always been envious of that staircase–it’s the most whimsical of them all!

    • Lagatta de Montréal on January 27, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Several newspapers, magazines and blogs have articles on museum cafés. I won’t bother copying material that isn’t Diana’s or mine, but for example look up Paris museum cafés or cafés musées Paris.

      Psst, museums, like public libraries, are splendid places if you need the loo. Their facilities are almost always clean.

    • Diana Bishop on January 29, 2020 at 5:37 pm

      Yes, I should have mentioned that it is always a good idea to go for a cafe creme before or after a visit to a museum.. and many of the larger ones have their own cafes!! Great to hear from you Gabrielle!

  5. Shardie Stevenson on January 27, 2020 at 8:22 am

    I’d love to see this and other of the small museums! The Louvre is spectacular but daunting! Merci Beaucoup for sharing 😘

    • Diana Bishop on January 29, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      We can see them together BFF!

    • Lagatta de Montréal on February 9, 2020 at 5:33 pm

      I’ve been to the Louvre several times, but there is such a thing as museum fatigue, especially with respect to the larger and more famous ones. There is so much so understand simply by le flânage, as Baudelaire ou Walter Benjamin would have said, strolling the streets and soaking up the history, older and more recent.

      I mention those fellows from the 19th and 20th centuries, but it would be just as interesting to focus on the feminine gaze. And Paris viewed by its inhabitants of many origins and social backgrounds. No, that isn’t all oppression – many people from other cultures also found some aspects of liberation there.

      • Diana Bishop on February 11, 2020 at 2:29 pm

        I get overwhelmed easily and so love the smaller museums!

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