Musee Carnavalet: Is it worth a visit?

Mar 12th, 2001, 07:53 AM
  #1  
Jane
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Musee Carnavalet: Is it worth a visit?

My husband, son (age 12) and I will be staying in the Marais area at the end of March. Musee Carnavalet is quite close to our apt. I remember seeing a post here a while back that this museum was really not worth visiting - boring. So I hadn't thought about putting it on my list of things to see.

However, every now and then someone mentions it - it is also in all the guidebooks, of course. What is everyone's opinion? Thanks.
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 08:02 AM
  #2  
Rex
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It is often mentioned for kids (perhaps 10 and under) where attention spans are a problem with a "big" museum. In and out in less than an hour, easily.

Would your kid benefit from that? Not all 12 year olds would. Test him out on the biggest nearby art museum you have available to you. The Art Institute of Chicago is a good test for Musee d'Orsay, for example. In fact, the Art Institute of Chicago is darn near a good SUBSTITUTE for the Musee d'Orsay!

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 08:27 AM
  #3  
StCirq
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The Musée Carnavalet is a wonderful museum, presuming you have an authentic interest in the history of Paris. It's not, however, where I'd go on a first trip to Paris or if I hadn't already seen most of the other better known museums. My kids, 10 and 13, far prefer the Musée d'Orsay, or for some good Parisian history, the Conciergerie.
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 09:56 AM
  #4  
carol
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Not really a museum for 12-year old boys. However, lovers of French history and French antiques shouldn't miss it!
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 10:05 AM
  #5  
linda
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Jane, My boys were nine and twelve when we visited this museum. They were only politely interested. Because it is a small museum they were not pushed beyond their limit. If you have a strong background in the history of Paris the many items which are small or detailed will be of great interest. The building is lovely and the antique shop signs on display are wonderful.
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 10:11 AM
  #6  
s.fowler
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You tell 'em Rex. The Art Institute of Chicago has many Monets, including 5 or 6 from the "haystack" series, as well as a good selection of other impressionists.
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 10:26 AM
  #7  
clairobscur
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The Carnavalet is peculiar. It displays various items of uneven interest concerning the history of Paris. Those I remember the most are the painting displaying the evolution of the town or some major events scatered everywhere (but of what interest are they for someone who don't know well Paris and its history???) and several rooms with the interior decoration brought back from several mansions/castles.

Recently, the galleries about the roman/middle age periods (the most interesting IMO) were closed (did they reopen???).

On the overall, I wouldn't visit it on a first trip in Paris and it isn't the first place I would brought childrens, anyway. It isn't more interesting for them, IMO, than any other museum. However, it could be interesting to check the temporary exhibitions. Last year, there was one about Paris in 3D which would have been very funs for childs. Also, if you're 50 meters away, you could give it a try...

I would add I think the museum is poorly organized (it's related to the buildings in which it has been installed, though) and though little, difficult to navigate. I don't remember having seen translations in english inside, either.

One of my prefered thing in the museum is an upscale jeweller shop from the beginning of the century, rebuild in the museum, extraordinarily decorated (a little difficult to find).
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 10:35 AM
  #8  
clairobscur
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The Carnavalet is peculiar. It displays various items of uneven interest concerning the history of Paris. Those I remember the most are the painting displaying the evolution of the town or some major events scatered everywhere (but of what interest are they for someone who don't know well Paris and its history???) and several rooms with the interior decoration brought back from several mansions/castles.

Recently, the galleries about the roman/middle age periods (the most interesting IMO) were closed (did they reopen???).

On the overall, I wouldn't visit it on a first trip in Paris and it isn't the first place I would brought childrens, anyway. It isn't more interesting for them, IMO, than any other museum. However, it could be interesting to check the temporary exhibitions. Last year, there was one about Paris in 3D which would have been very funs for childs. Also, if you're 50 meters away, you could give it a try...

I would add I think the museum is poorly organized (it's related to the buildings in which it has been installed, though) and though little, difficult to navigate. I don't remember having seen translations in english inside, either.

One of my prefered thing in the museum is an upscale jeweller shop from the beginning of the century, rebuild in the museum, extraordinarily decorated (a little difficult to find).
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 10:41 AM
  #9  
Fred
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It's all personal opinion, of course, but I think it's a wonderful museum - one of my favorites.
 
Mar 18th, 2001, 09:08 AM
  #10  
Jane
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Thanks to everyone for their opinions. Actually, I decided after reading your comments to hold off on this museum until our next visit - but we just may end up going after all! Two nights ago, my sixth grade son came howm from school and said he has to write a report next quarter on the history of Paris during the middle ages (he's only in 6th grade - it blows our mind the kind of homework he has been coming home with).

This is quite coincidental since he says that he hasn't mentioned his trip to his teacher. ( He's 12 and somewhat unmoved by the prospect of seeing Paris, unlike my husband and I who speak of nothing else to those who will tolerate us). There were 5 European cities to be assigned and he was randomly given Paris. Wierd, huh. Anyway, I hope the teacher doesn't end up thinking we flew off to Paris just to complete the assignment!

As usual, thanks to all. This website is fantastic!
 
Mar 18th, 2001, 09:35 AM
  #11  
Donna
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I loved Musee Carnavalet, but I'm not sure a 12-year old boy would find it as fascinating. Have you considered Paristoric? This is a multi-media (film, slides, video) presentation (with awesome music) of the history of Paris, which also covers the museums, sights and attractions. Located at 11bis rue Scribe (off the back of Opera Garnier), shows are on the hour, daily.
 
Mar 18th, 2001, 12:20 PM
  #12  
Christina
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I didn't find Musee Carnavalet that interesting and wouldn't recommend it as a top priority. It is billed about the history of Paris but it isn't much in the sense you probably think of when reading that description--I have been to museums that present history, like the Museum of the City of London and the City of Prague and they are excellent in that regard, including good models of the city at various times in history. The Carnavalet is just a collection of various objects and paintings that aren't even arranged or notated very well, and doesn't teach history at all, as I recall. I wish they did have a good museum of history of the city, but they don't. If you have the time, sure, but don't expect too much or that it will help him with that report. I agree with Donna that the film Paristoric would be more interesting and teach you more about history.
 
Mar 18th, 2001, 01:07 PM
  #13  
Caitlin
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If you're interested in medieval Paris, you should get to the Cluny Museum, which is devoted to the middle ages in France, and if you go to the Louvre, the medieval Louvre exhibit, in which you tour the excavated dungeon and other parts of the fortress unearthed in the 1980s, and see a display showing how the Louvre was built up and changed from the middle ages to the present. I agree that you won't get a lot out of the Carnavelet for this kind of thing.
 
Mar 20th, 2001, 10:25 AM
  #14  
carol
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One of the great places in Paris to visit for a sense of history is the Conciergerie on the Ile de la Cite. As a matter of fact, the entire island is a wonderful historical resource.
 
Mar 20th, 2001, 12:34 PM
  #15  
Jane
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Thanks again. We will try to see the Paristoric. The Cluny/Conciergerie were on our list already. Pass on the Carnavalet for this trip.
 
Mar 20th, 2001, 01:24 PM
  #16  
just
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Maybe my memory is fading, but I don't remember much about the Cluny that would appeal to a 12 year old, either, except maybe the baths. The concierge may have some superficial appeal, due to its ties to Marie Antoinnete (sp?), but was not one of the top attractions, either (in my opinion). Having said all that: This is precisely why we have always purchased a museum card. We can stop into those places, look around, and if it is not our bag, we can leave (and not feel like we just wasted $$ or Francs). The Cluny, in particular, has some interesting things (the unicorn tapestry and stained glass from Ste. Chappelle), I just don't remember it as one of our top stops. Get the card, go to everything you have an inkling of seeing, spend 5 minutes or 5 hours, depending on how it goes. Most importantly: Unless your schedule is tight, do not scratch something out that you have an inkling to see, lest you regret it forever (or until your next trip).
 

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