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Located on the Right Bank in the Marais is a museum housing the history of Paris. The exterior with it’s dripping vines, roses and French formal gardens screams “photo op!” Digesting all there is to see in one visit (and it’s free) is almost an impossible feat, but worth a try.

As visitors wander through re-creations of rooms in styles ranging from the 17th to the 20th century, they can follow developments in Parisian interior design, immerse themselves in revolutionary history from the French Revolution to the Paris Commune, and also enter into the private lives of famous Parisians, imagining for example, the Marquise de Sévigné at her Chinese laquerwork desk penning her famous letters, or even Marcel Proust in his bedroom, dividing his time between his brass bed and his little table covered in pens, ink and notebook, peruse Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs.

Musee Carnavalet

Georges Fouquet’s jewelry boutique, the Alphonse Mucha collection, primo examples of Art Nouveau, 2,600 paintings, 20,000 drawings, 300,000 engravings and 150,000 photographs, 2,000 modern sculptures and 800 pieces of furniture, thousands of ceramics, and the lavish Art Deco ballroom from the hôtel de Wendel, which was painted in 1925 by José-Maria Sert….exhausting yes, but one of the reasons you’ve come to Paris. It’s essence is here in “old-time”. The Louvre’s second little cousin.

Before your visit, my advice is to bone up on the city’s fascinating history, then tackle the 100 creaky floored rooms in bite sized pieces.

Musee Carnavalet

16 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 Paris, France
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, closed Mondays
metro St-Paul, Chemin Vert or Rambuteau
Bus lines: 29, 69, 76, 96

On the No Worries Paris guidebook route.