Best Free Museums in Paris?

Old May 14th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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Best Free Museums in Paris?

Hello. My wife and I will be in Paris from July 1-8. Of the municipal museums (as I understand they are free), which ones are the best? We plan to take some day trips so we want to best prioritize the time (and money) we do spend in Paris. Merci!
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:12 AM
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Carnavalet would fit the bill. very interesting architecture, exhibits on history of Paris (from Roman times to Modern) I found to be worthy of spending time on, and the nighbourhood is great..Place des Vosges just down street.

When I was there they had an exhibit on Marie Antoineete (paid adimission) that had several of her letters, will,etc. They also filmed some scenes from the recent movie about her there.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:12 AM
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The Carnavalet , the museum of the history of Paris, is always a must in my book. For art, the Petit Palais. The buildings themselves are worth seeing. I love the courtyard at the Carnavalet
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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Interesting what a little research brings out

http://www.paris.fr/portail/Culture/...t?page_id=4693

This list the city of Paris museums. I look at the list and I think they all look interesting!

I've only been to Carnavalet and the Notre Dame crypt. Cognac-Jay, Catacombs and Romantic Life get I have seen mentioned here.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:54 AM
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I think the Petit Palais is the best. I myself am not a big fan of the Carnavalet, but some others seem to like it. I think you had best rest what the museum is about and what kind of collections it has and decide for yourself based on your own interests.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 09:09 AM
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I thought the Antoine Bourdelle museum was great but you'd have to be a sculpture fan to go there. It's mostly open air so this museum would not be a rainy day event.

The Deportation Memorial is free and it's very interesting.

The Carnavalet does a good tour in English the first Saturday of the month. There is a charge for the tour so it doesn't fit the "free" criteria.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Louvre i believe is open free the first Sunday of every month so that may be the best free museum in Paris IMO
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Old May 14th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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I think the only museum that is always free (although I don't know about the Petit Palais)is the Carnavalet--and it is one of my favorites. It is the history of Paris as depicted in art--so a painting of a bridge in Paris from 1600 is the way it looked then. I particularly love the floor devoted to the Revolution, particularly the "cartoons".
I would question the wisdom day trips when you are only there for a week in the first place, however.
I certainly wouldn't restrict myself to the museums that are free when there is the Orsay and the Louvre and the Orangerie to be seen. They aren't THAT expensive. Take the money you'd spend on getting somewhere outside paris and see the world's finest museums.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Victor Hugo's House on place des Vosges is free. We enjoyed walking through it and around place des Vosges. It compares to some historical houses I have been through in the US. Not that exciting but interesting.

Carnavalet is all in French so unless you understand French, you can't learn a thing. There are some rooms decorated in beautiful old furniture, etc. that I enjoyed.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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List of Municipal Museums (not all free):

http://www.paris.fr/portail/english/...t?page_id=8229

I remember reading someone liked Musée Cognacq-Jay.

Check out a guide book from the library.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 01:00 PM
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Most Parisians prefer the Carnavalet. However, for just a short unexpected visit on a rainy or grey day, many have been charmed by the Musée de la Vie Romantique.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 06:58 PM
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http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/f...ty_136812.html

Imagine that; Fodors has a nice list of sights in Paris:

http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/f...ass:30978.html

Course, you have to look at each one to find out whether or not it is free.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 07:42 PM
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I will also be in Paris for a week, and was thinking about just paying the admission for the Louvre and d'Orsay, and then also hit the free museums, instead of getting the museum pass.

Is that a good idea? People seem to like the pass for skipping the lines, but then it also sounds like the lines are shorter at certain entrances...
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Old May 14th, 2008, 07:53 PM
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but some of those shorter line entrances i believe are reserved for folks who already have tickets or passes - Louvre anyway - like the one by the Cours Richelieu.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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FYI for others (sorry gamidtown).

The National Museum of the Middle Ages - The Baths and Hôtel de Cluny is free through June 30, 2008. You missed it by one day!


http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/ang/hom...20714_u1l2.htm

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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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The Musee Bourdelle on a side street at the foot of the Tour Montparnasse was a real surprise to me. I expected this to be a 20 minute in-and-out, but my friend and I spent well over an hour in the gallery, garden, and his apartment. Very powerful sculpture. Be warned though that when there is another artist being exhibited as when we were there, there is a charge; small but definitely not free.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 02:11 PM
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Another vote for the Carnavalet - DW and I enjoyed it very much. I was surprised, actually, at how much I enjoyed it. With a minimal knowledge of French I was able to figure out the descriptions of most of the historical paintings.

Although not a municipal museum, the Cluny museum is currently free through the end of June. I know you (OP) will just miss this, arriving July 1, but perhaps it will be extended.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:37 PM
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Thanks for the tip on the Cluny; we will be able to take advantage of it.

Rick Steves does have a commentary on the Carnavalet in his book. He does have free podcasts you can download but I don't see the Carnavalet. I just wish the museum had a brochure in English or one of those audio guides in English so those of us who would really like to know about French history could enjoy the exhibits.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 06:59 AM
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We went to the Cluny this morning and then attended the (6 euro) concert of medieval music. It was our second time to the Cluny, and this time it seemed better than nine years ago. Several rooms have very useful English-language printed guides, and I believe you can rent (for 1 euro?) an English-language audio tour. I recommend this museum.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 02:04 PM
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Ronda, the museum is divided by time. If you can handle that in French you can enjoy it. If not, it is still totally beautiful. I can read a lot of French, but believe me, I don't go over each notation. This is a wonderful museum, and again, the French Revolution portion is so good.
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