Carnavalet museum

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Located in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, the Carnavalet Museum is dedicated to the history of the capital from its origins to the present day. Highlighting Paris's identity, this site welcomes many art and history enthusiasts from all over France. Paris City Vision invites you to discover on this page this incredible museum.

The collections of the Carnavalet museum

In the middle of the Marais quarter, next to Middle Age mansions, is the Carnavalet Museum -which harbors a comprehensive history of Paris. Exhibiting nearly 600,000 works, it houses the largest collection of works relating to the city of Paris in more than 100 rooms: archaeological remains, models, decorative objects, graphic arts collection (drawings, photographs, posters, etc.).

The Carnavalet site is divided into three parts: the archaeological crypt of the Notre-Dame square, the Catacombs of Paris at a depth of 20 meters, and finally, the museum of sites relating the history of the city.

It is a journey through time, from the origins of Paris to the present day. The Parisian genius is honored with over a hundred models, three thousand sculptures, almost as many paintings (including works by Jean Béraud), and two hundred and thirty thousand prints! You will discover exceptional permanent collections: the French Revolution's souvenirs, such as the keys of the Bastille, a coffin-shaped ring containing the hair of King Louis XVI, or memories of famous men such as the furniture in Marcel Proust's room. You can even see archaeological remains, the Neolithic canoes of the first inhabitants. In the Orangery, recently restored, you can admire the prehistoric and Gallo-Roman collections. Simultaneously, the three gardens, created at the request of Napoleon III, are home to more than two thousand five hundred varieties of plants. 

Each year, the theme is updated to renew the exhibitions according to a historical period, an artist or an event. Occasionally, the show will deepen and strengthen the presentation of the permanent collections in the museum's connecting gallery.

History of the Carnavalet Museum

Dedicated mainly to the history of Paris, the museum buildings were built in 1548. The vast majority of the works are in the private mansion "Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau". By discovering the Carnavalet museum, you will cross nearly five centuries of Parisian architecture. The complete sets have been preserved despite the destruction or transformation of various spaces. One notes, in particular, the intervention of the illustrious architect François Mansart in these renovations.


Discover the salons known as "La rivière", which date back to the 17th century; you will be able to observe the magnificent woodwork and painted ceilings. These come from the hotel on Place Royale, now Place des Vosges. In 1652, the abbot La Rivière gave his name to his salons by rearranging the premises with the painter Charles Le Brun and the architect François le Vau. The last large decor installed dates back to 1989. Originally from the Hôtel Wendel, this décor was painted by José-Maria Sert in 1925. Since then, it has stood in the spectacular Art Deco ballroom, perpetuating the tradition and originality of Carnavalet throughout France. By visiting this museum, you will discover the works of Parisian painters of the belle époque. 


The Carnavalet Museum is easily accessible by metro on line 1, get off at the Saint-Paul stop. Currently undergoing renovations, the museum will reopen its doors on January 2, 2020. Nevertheless, while waiting for the reopening, the museum offers a cultural program outside the premises. Therefore, you can enjoy original activities with themed walks to discover the capital in a new light: the Paris of Honoré de Balzac, the transformations of Paris, the French Revolution in Paris around the Tuileries...

The three years of work include the setting up a new museography that covers the chronology from the Prehistory to the present day, illustrating all aspects of the Parisian city.

Just a stone's throw away, take a stroll around the Place des Vosges, the capital's first royal square, whose timeless and unusual character is conducive to shopping, or stroll through the garden with its welcoming lawns... 

Paris City Vision offers excursions with experienced guides to accompany you on your visit to the museum. Our team is available to help you organize your trip to Paris in the Paris Region (notices, schedules of exhibitions open to the public, reservations, etc.).

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