The Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and even the Paris Catacombs have become the default must-do list for visitors to Paris. But if you’ve come to the City of Light in search of a more authentic, or just plain weird, museum-going experience, then take a look at our picks for the top five little-known museums in Paris.
Le Musée du Fumeur (The Smoking Museum)
Smokers will definitely want to exit through the gift shop of this museum, where there’s all manner of accessories and other fun things. But don’t discount this place as an ironic choice; it takes you through the history of smoking throughout the world, and even has what I guess today is a “rogues’ gallery” of portraits of famous smokers throughout history.
Le Musée du Vin (The Wine Museum)
Just as smoking and drinking seem to go hand-in-hand, so too does the Museum of Wine belong on this list. If you’re planning on visiting any vineyards while in France, this will give you a solid background into the history of viticulture, without the boring parts. And, as you were hoping, the price of admission includes a glass of wine, and the museum also hosts educational wine tastings as well as houses a restaurant on its premises.
Le Musée des Égouts de Paris (The Paris Sewers Museum)
The sewer systems under Paris are roughly 900 years old, and you can tour them. OK, not all of them, and none that are actively working. But this underground (both literally and figuratively) tour is a truly unique look at what is otherwise the most visited city on the planet.
La Pagode (The Pagoda)
La Pagode, also known as Maison Loo (no tittering, Brits), is one of the many museums in Paris located in the former home of someone, but this one will really stand out—in fact, you can recognize its Belle Epoque Chinese exterior from a fair distance. Recently renovated, the Maison Loo can be visited, and lends interesting insight into a (well-off) immigrant’s life in Paris.
Le Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques (The Pet Cemetery)
Ok, this isn’t a museum, per se, but given the popularity of many of Paris’s museum-like cemeteries, this one deserves a shout-out. Its literal translation is “The Cemetery of Dogs and Other Domestic Animals,” and it’s where Parisians have been burying their furry (or scaly, or feathered) friends for well over a hundred years. Its most “famous” resident is Rin Tin Tin, but the gravestones are worth a look.
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