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Oui Paris! Must-See Museums


The Louvre Museum in Paris, FranceThe Louvre Museum in Paris – Photo credit: Netfalls Remy Musser / Shutterstock

Toastmasters will be heading to Paris, France, August 5-8, for the 2020 International Convention. If you’re planning to attend, mark off some time to visit any of the city’s more than 130 museums, some among the most well-known in the world, others more offbeat and specialized.

Art museums are at the top of most “must-see museums” lists. The Louvre is the world’s largest and most visited museum. The former royal palace is now home to some of the world’s most iconic works of art (including the “Mona Lisa”). The Centre Georges Pompidou boasts the largest collection of modern art in Europe and has a unique “inside-out” design. You can soak in the luminescent works of France’s Impressionist painters at the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie.

If science is more your speed, check out Musée des Arts et Métiers. Located in a former Benedictine priory, it’s Europe’s oldest science museum. The Muséum Nationale d’Histoire Naturelle is made up of 14 sites in France, including the spectacularly housed Grande Galerie de l’Évolution, located at the Jardin des Plantes, a large botanical research garden.

If you’re fascinated by the lifestyles of the Parisian upper class, two museums focus on French luxe living and interior design. Musée Jacquemart-André and Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris feature elaborate period furnishings and home design from the past 500 years. To feast your eyes on Parisian clothing design and haute couture, head to the Paris Fashion Museum, Palais Galliera, which showcases French fashion trends from the 18th century to present day.

Are you a history enthusiast? The military museum Musée de l’Armée includes armor, uniforms, and artifacts from medieval times through World War II. Located in the stunning Hôtel National des Invalides, it also includes Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb. And the Musée De Cluny tops many visitors’ lists. Devoted to the Middle Ages, the museum is appropriately housed in a medieval building and boasts an impressive collection of medieval artifacts, including the famous unicorn tapestries.

As one of the oldest cities in the world, Paris appropriately offers plenty to see below ground. The Crypte Archéologique de l’Île de la Cité is located in the oldest part of Paris and includes the remains of buildings and homes dating back to ancient and medieval times. There is also a fascinating museum (including tours) of the Catacombs of Paris—the underground tunnel of tombs.

Paris has a wide range of specialty museums for every possible interest, including the history of music, fairgrounds, dentistry, fans, eyewear, and wine. And if you have a favorite famous resident of Paris, you’ll probably find a museum devoted solely to them as well!

This is the fourth in a series of articles about Paris in advance of the International Convention. To see previous articles, visit the online edition. Go to the Toastmasters website to register for the 2020 Convention.



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