Sharing a wing of the Musée du Louvre, but with a separate entrance and admission charge, Les Arts Décoratifs is actually three museums in one. Spread across nine floors, it showcases a stellar array of decorative arts, design and fashion, and graphics. The collection includes altarpieces from the Middle Ages and furnishings from the Italian Renaissance to the present day. There are period rooms reflecting the ages, such as the early 1820s salon of the Duchesse de Berry (who actually lived in the building), plus several rooms reproduced from designer Jeanne Lanvin's 1920s apartment. Don't miss the gilt-and-green-velvet bed of the Parisian courtesan who inspired the boudoir in Émile Zola's novel Nana. You can hear Zola's description of it on the free English audioguide, which is highly recommended. The second-floor jewelry gallery is a must-see, and special events are often staged in the first-floor Nef (nave).
The center is also home to an exceptional collection of
textiles, advertising posters, films, and related objects that are shown in rotating temporary exhibitions. Before leaving, take a break at Le Saut du Loup restaurant: its outdoor terrace is an ideal spot for lunch or afternoon tea. Shoppers should also browse through the tempting on-site store (107 Rivoli), which carries an interesting collection of books, paper products, toys, tableware, and jewelry. If you're combining a visit here with the Musée du Louvre, note that the two close on different days, so don't come on Monday or Tuesday. If you’re pairing it with the exquisite Nissim de Camondo, joint tickets are available at a reduced cost.