One of my first articles for Spotted by Locals was about this great museum, dedicated to the history of Paris, but I had to remove this article in 2016, since it closed for a long campaign of renovation and extension works. It finally reopened at the end of May 2021, and is still as fascinating for whoever likes Paris and wants to discover its evolution throughout the centuries.
The entrance is located in a prestigious courtyard adorned with mythological and allegorical reliefs (symbolizing the seasons), and after the security check, you can visit the very original signs’ rooms, where you can see the style of shops’ signs as they were very common in times where most people couldn’t read.
The rest of the collections can be divided into archaeological artifacts testifying the prehistorical and antique times (in the new underground gallery – a bit too dark and narrow according to me); paintings (illustrating views of Paris or daily life over the centuries); ‘period rooms’, where décors of ancient prestigious Parisian houses were reinstalled and finally the section about the 20th-21st centuries has been extended with many photographs documenting this period.
Most text explanations are trilingual (French, English, Spanish). The museum is free of charge, though you may have in high touristic seasons to book a free time-stamped entrance – check the website, and is hosted in two aristocratic mansions of the Marais, including courtyards and gardens, where you can enjoy a nice break on sunny days.