The Musée Carnavalet

Hôtel de la Place du Louvre invites you to explore the history of Paris from its origins to the present day in a remarkable architectural setting with period interiors.

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le musée carnavalet

Musée Carnavalet is the place to soak up the capital's history, delve into the personal lives of famous Parisian characters and admire the exhibition rooms' different displays.

About the museum

The idea to create a museum devoted to the history of Paris and its inhabitants first came in the Second Empire. Hotel Carnavalet was chosen to house it. It opened in 1880 making it the oldest municipal museum in Paris. It's one of the most famous mansions from the Renaissance with sculptures incorporated into the walls by the famous 16th century architect Jean Goujon, the man behind the design on the Fontaine des Innocents. The building was expanded in the 17th century during work by the architect François Mansart with the neighbouring Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau mansion annex. Hôtel Carnavalet is also famous for being where the Marquise de Sévigné lived.
The museum is home to two other sites: the Archaeological Crypt beneath Notre Dame's forecourt which shows how the city has evolved since Antiquity and the Catacombs of Paris, the Parisian ossuary with over 10,000m² of underground tunnels.

The collections

With almost 600,000 pieces in over 100 rooms, Musée Carnavalet, near Hôtel de la Place du Louvre, is home to the biggest ensemble of collections from the City of Paris: archaeological relics, old shots of Paris, models of ancient monuments, emblems, historical or anecdotal scenes, portraits of famous Parisians, souvenirs of famous people or accounts of everday life, historical sequence about the French Revolution.

A series of remarkable settings provide a glimpse of 17th-20th century Parisian homes including the stunning "art deco" ballroom at Hôtel de Wendel painted by José Maria Sert. These displays act as a frame in which to display the collections.

One or two annual temporary exhibitions are held at Musée Carnavalet in keeping the museum's permanent collection to delve deeper into a specific topic, historical dates or famous authors.

"Free exhibition packs" are provided to enable visitors to explore the Carnavlet's graphic collections (drawings, stamps, photographs and posters) that aren't usually on display.

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