Anyone wishing to understand Paris' multi-tiered, complex history would do well to pay a visit to the Carnavalet Museum. Housed within the walls of two Renaissance-era mansions, the Hotel de Carnavalet and the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau (built in the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively), the Carnavalet Museum's permanent collection traces the history of Paris across over 100 rooms. This exhibit is free of charge to all visitors, and arguably tops the list of Paris' free museums. The museum also hosts a series of temporary exhibits highlighting various periods or aspects of the Parisian heritage.
Location and Contact Information:
The Carnavalet Museum is located in Paris' 3th arrondissement (district), in the heart of the stately Marais neighborhood.
To access the Carnavalet Museum:
23, rue de Sévigné
Metro: Saint-Paul (Line 1)or Chemin Vert (line 8)
Tel : +33 (0)1 44 59 58 58
Visitors with limited mobility: Access to the Carnavalet Museum via the main entrance at 29, rue de Sévigné.
For more information, call: +33 (0)1 44 59 58 58
Opening Hours and Tickets:
Open: Every day except Monday and French bank holidays, 10 am to 6 pm. Ticket counter closes at 5:30 pm.
Some rooms at the museum are open on an alternating basis. The schedule is posted at the welcome desk.
Tickets: Access to the permanent collection at the Musee Carnavalet is free for all visitors. For temporary exhibits, discounts are available for children, students, and seniors. In addition, groups comprising at least 10 people may receive a discount for tickets to temporary exhibits, but reservations are required.
Sights and Attractions Nearby:
Highlights of the Permanant Exhibit:
Visitors to the Musee Carnavalet will learn about Paris' origins and development by perusing archeological artifacts, works of art, small-scale models, portraits of noteworthy Parisians, furniture, and other objects.
The permanent collection is particularly strong on the history of the French Revolution, in all its bloody complexity. Once the center of an absolute monarchy, Paris would become the locus of a revolution that took several centuries to truly reach completion, as counter-revolutions and new monarchies interrupted the process of building a durable Republic. This chaotic and fertile period is vividly reconstructed at the Carnavalet Museum. As you drift from room to room, you're likely to get a real sense of the social, political, and philosophical transformations at work during the Revolutionary period and beyond.