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Decorative Arts Museum (Musée des Arts Décoratifs)

Right next door to the Louvre is a wonderful excuse to indulge in some exquisite ‘window shopping’ in a museum which showcases the works of some of the world’s most accomplished creators of fashion, advertising and decorative art.

Description: Decorative Arts Museum

Decorative Arts Museum

The Decorative Arts Museum houses a permanent collection of objects, furniture and fashion spread over approximately six centuries, but its real draws are the temporary exhibitions with a strong emphasis on fashion and advertising in the twentieth century.  Here you see fashion, history and art become intimately intertwined at the highest levels.

Description: Decorative Arts Museum

Inside Decorative Arts Museum

Current exhibitions running until the autumn of 2012 include the history of the advertising campaign of Pernod Ri-card’s popular French aniseed liqueurs, contemporary ceramic jewellery, trompe l’oeil wallpaper designs, the sumptuous jewels of Van Cleef & Arpels and the most popular Marc Jacobs-Louis Vuitton exhibition, which retraces the history of the two creators and their influence on fashion.

The museum was completely revamped in 2006, and modernity and antiques mingle in displays that show off the latest lighting and display techniques. A treat for the senses that is so entrancing that one can wonder whether with this display of fashion and design history so close to the heart of Paris’s most prestigious fashion and design boutiques, there is not some sort of a conspiracy at work here. Come here if you want to persuade your significant other that a shopping spree in Paris is a wise exercise in asset management: after all, whatever you might end up purchasing could be a potential investment worthy of a museum one day...

Les Arts Decoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli (main wing) Métro: Tuileries (line 1) or Palais Royal Musée du Louvre (lines 1 & 7)

Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm; Thursdays open till 9 pm, temporary exhibitions only

Entrance: $10.7-18 lesartsdecoratifs.fr/english-439/

The Fragonard Perfume Museum

Description: The Fragonard Perfume Museum

While shopping in the large department stores in the centre of Paris, you may need a quiet retreat from the throngs of tourists. If so, slip into a nineteenth-century townhouse just behind the Paris Opera and enter the quiet and fragrant world of the Fragonard Perfume Museum. This museum houses part of the private collection of Jean François Costa, grandson of Eugene Fuchs, founder of the French perfume house Fragonard. Costa was a passionate collector of perfume and cosmetic memorabilia, and his collection traces three thousand years of mankind’s history of pampering itself through a remarkable display of perfume-distilling machines, Graeco-Roman amphorae, eighteenth-century porcelain perfume holders, nineteenth-century lipstick holders and powder compacts, as well as all sorts of toiletry and beautifying accessories through the ages. They say that smell is the greatest repository of memories, and the Fragonard perfume shop at the exit of the museum offers the perfect opportunity to purchase a souvenir that is bound to etch this particular visit in your mind.

Fragonard Perfume Museum, 9 rue du Scribe Métro: Opéra Open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 6 pm; 9 am to 5 pm on Sundays

Entrance: Free fragonard.com

Musée du quai Branly

Description: Musée du quai Branly

Glass, air, light, wood, water, earth: a symphony of elements comes together in Paris’s newest museum to celebrate the arts and crafts of Asia, Oceania, the Americas and Africa. Built on the banks of the Seine, the quai Branly Museum is an ideal complement to a visit to the Eiffel Tower, just next door. The collections alone are impressive: hundreds of thousands of objects, statues, murals, musical instruments, textiles and photographs, celebrating the cultural and historical diversity of the planet. They are displayed in geographical order in the four buildings of the museum, erected in the middle of an 18,000 square metre garden oasis in the centre of Paris. The buildings themselves are works of modern art: walls of glass, a circular corridor on stilts, a wall covered in vegetation, a building made of multi coloured cubes, light and water displays that illuminate the façades of the museum at night. For those who do not want to stay indoors in silent contemplation, throughout the year the museum organises live performances, workshops, concerts and guided tours, based on a cultural theme related to the museum’s core mission: to bring to Paris the culture and ethnography of the world. The museum is also keen on promoting the idea of culture as part of a day or evening out amongst friends: there is a café, a bar and a rooftop restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower, the perfect place for that friendly rendezvous.

Description: Inside The Fragonard Perfume Museum

Inside The Fragonard Perfume Museum

Perhaps most important of all, this is an ideal museum to visit with children: it is light, airy, the many interactive features on each exhibit will delight the younger visitor, and art and crafts or discovery workshops are offered to children on a regular basis. The ramps and wide corridors make it ideal for navigating with a pram, and unlike many Paris museums a serious effort has been made to ensure excellent disability access.

Musée du quai Branly, 218 rue de l’Université or 27 quai Branly

Métro: Alma Marceau (line 9). Boat Bus: exit at the Eiffel Tower

Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday 9.15 am to 7 pm; Thursday to

Saturday 9.15 am to 9 pm

Entrance: $13.5-20.3 quaibranly.fr/en

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