Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

In Paris, culture takes on many forms. Step inside the doors of some unusual museums. Phonographs, fairground arts and fans deserve their own galleries, which are as surprising as fascinating.

Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Listening in at the Phono Museum

At the foot of Montmartre, a colourful frontage attracts your attention on Boulevard de Rochechouart. This is the Phono Museum, a museum devoted entirely to the history of recorded sound. Within its walls, you can relive 140 years of technological history through the 300 or so machines on display. One display case will have you mesmerised: it contains a 12-centimetre-diameter Mikiphone, the smallest gramophone in the world, invented in 1926. Further on, posters and information boards retrace the history of the first sound recordings. But for all that, contemporary music is not neglected: the museum holds regular concerts showcasing different artists.

Phono Museum
53 boulevard de Rochechouart
75009 Paris
France
+33 (0)6 80 61 59 37
phonomuseum.fr/

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Tracking down the fakes at the Counterfeit Museum

As you enter the Counterfeit Museum in the heart of the 16th arrondissement in Paris, you get the feeling of seeing double. Every object (jewellery, clothes, food packaging, works of art, etc.) is displayed alongside a good or not-so-good fake copy. As you wander through the five rooms of the museum, located in a private mansion, you will discover the impact that forgery has on the global economy and how it is anything but a modern phenomenon. In fact, in amongst phony football shirts and CDs, fake wine stoppers from amphorae dating from ancient Rome have pride of place.

Counterfeit Museum (Musée de la Contrefaçon)
16 rue de la Faisanderie
75116 Paris
France
+33 (0)1 56 26 14 03
musee-contrefacon.com/

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Keeping cool at the Fan Museum

Do you prefer mother-of-pearl or wooden fans? What a question to ask when faced with the profusion of exhibits in the collections at this museum devoted to fans. Over 2,500 of these pieces of art are on display in its rooms. Some dating from the 18th century depict mythological events, while others have elaborate embroidered designs. Feathers, lace, silk… there is a real festival of textures and colours to be explored.

Fan Museum (Musée de l'Éventail)
2 boulevard de Strasbourg
75010 Paris
France
+33 (0)1 42 08 90 20
www.annehoguet.fr/musee.htm

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Get on track at the Fairground Arts Museum

On the edge of Paris, even funfairs have their own museum. Within the Pavillons de Bercy, a magical world awaits you. Carousels, puppets and show sets plunge you into the dreamlike world of fairground arts from the 19th and 20th centuries. Highly amused, you climb aboard the velocipede carousel, a piece dating back to 1897 and powered by small bicycles. This unique model can reach speeds of 60 km/h! A record in its time.

Fairground Arts Museum (Musée des Arts Forains)
53 avenue des Terroirs de France
75012 Paris
France
+33 (0)1 43 40 16 22
arts-forains.com/en/

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Illuminating times at the Museum of Old Lighting

Do you know the difference between a flat-wick burner and a double-round wick? To find out, head to a shop called the Lumière de l'œil which houses the unassuming Museum of Old Lighting in the back- shop. Run by a true devotee, Monsieur Ara, the place transports you through a hundred years of gas, oil and electric lighting with some surprising pieces. With lamps from the Ottoman Empire, the United States and the furthest reaches of 19th-century Europe, the exhibition takes you on an illuminating journey.

Museum of Old Lighting (Musée des Éclairages Anciens)
4 rue Flatters
75005 Paris
France
+33 (0)1 47 07 63 47
www.lumieredeloeil.com/lumiara/en/index.html

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Unravelling the riddle of language at Mundolingua

How do we learn to talk? Where do our languages come from? How do we produce sounds? As you browse through the rich collections at Mundolingua, the museum dedicated to linguistics, all the mysteries of language will be revealed. In over 170-m2 of exhibition space, you will tackle all the great questions related to the world of words. Fun and educational, the museum lets you experience, touch and feel all the elements of lexicology, grammar and the history of languages. After a reproduction of the famous Rosetta Stone which enabled Champollion to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics, you end your discovery in a room entirely devoted to new language technologies. From pharaohs to Facebook, 5,000 years of history is right here.

Mundolingua
10 rue Servandoni
75006 Paris
France
+33 (0)1 56 81 65 79
www.mundolingua.org/en/

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Playing detective at the Museum of Crime

From the tortuous Affair of the Poisons in the reign of Louis XIV to the anarchists at the start of the 20th century, crimes from all ages come together in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. At the Museum of Crime at the Paris Police Prefecture, almost 2,000 exhibits recount the highs and lows of law enforcement in the City of Lights. News stories and great moments in French history are displayed in charming olde worlde cases in the museum founded over 100 years ago. Police reports, murder weapons and other criminology artefacts will give you goose bumps. Wannabe sleuths will be in their element, even the youngest of Sherlocks.

Museum of Crime (Musée du Crime)
4 rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève
75005 Paris
France
+33 (0)1 44 41 52 50
www.prefecturedepolice.interieur.gouv.fr/

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Discovering a flurry of illusions at the Museum of Magic

The setting is Rue Saint-Paul, right in the heart of the Marais district. Between two medieval-looking facades, you notice a mysterious staircase descending into the depths of Paris. Above the door, you read a sign that is just as strange: “Academy of Magic”. An adventurer at heart, you step inside this secret sanctum. This is the Museum of Magic, where the art of conjuring is unveiled with the use of extraordinary items. These include the intriguing sarcophagus of Yanco, one of France's greatest illusionists, its rich golden decoration attracting your inquisitive eye. This elaborate trick gives the illusion that the magician stabs his assistant several times with a sword. Pretty impressive. Kids can also discover a number of magic wands with explosive effects!

Museum of Magic (Musée de la Magie)
11 rue Saint-Paul
75004 Paris
France
+33 (0)1 42 72 13 26
www.museedelamagie.com/museecollection.html

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Re-living history in three dimensions at the Relief Map Museum

Next to the shimmering dome of Les Invalides monument, the astonishing Relief Map Museum is waiting for your visit. In the relaxed atmosphere of its rooms, dozens and dozens of old scale-models take you back to the heart of centuries past. There is a miniature reproduction of Mont Saint-Michel dating from the time of Louis XIV, giving you an idea of the fortress as it was back then. Further on, a map of Perpignan drawn up in 1686 sets out the fortifications designed by the brilliant architect Vauban. These small-scale exhibits have large-scale interest for young and old alike.

Relief Map Museum (Musée des Plans-reliefs)
129 rue de Grenelle
Hôtel National des Invalides
75007 Paris
France
+33 (0)1 45 51 92 45
www.museedesplansreliefs.culture.fr/

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Top 10 most unusual museums in Paris

Breaking the secret of stones at the Mineralogy Museum

Jade, crystals, gems and even meteorites… almost 2,900 mineral specimens line the display cabinets at the Mineralogy Museum, located in the prestigious MINES ParisTech college. A stone's throw from the Jardin du Luxembourg, you enter the realm of all things mineral in this museum with its unique collections. You will even see rare jewels that once graced the French Crown, preserved for your admiration today. Minerals of all shapes and sizes, colours and value are conserved there, attracting researchers from around the world. Will you join them?

Mineralogy Museum (Musée de Minéralogie)
60 boulevard Saint-Michel
75006 Paris
France
+33 (0)1 40 51 92 90
www.musee.mines-paristech.fr/Home/