One of Paris's Oldest Museums Is Reopening After a 5-year Closure and Major Renovations

The Musée Carnavalet in Paris is dedicated to documenting the city's history with an eclectic mixture of artifacts.

Exterior of the Carnavalet Museum -History of Paris, in Paris, France.
Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

A trip to Paris is incomplete without a stop at the Louvre, but this iconic museum isn't the only one worth visiting in the City of Lights. After a five-year closure and €58 million renovation, the Musée Carnavalet is finally set to welcome visitors again starting May 29 — just in time for France's reopening to international tourists on June 9.

Exterior of the Carnavalet Museum -History of Paris, in Paris, France.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Opened in 1880, Musée Carnavalet is one of the oldest in Paris and an often-overlooked gem dedicated to recording the city's history. Set inside two neighboring mansions, the museum takes visitors through time with an eclectic mix of artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, and some of Marie Antoinette's belongings. From the Mesolithic period (9600-6000 BCE) to the 21st century, everything in Musée Carnavalet is presented in chronological order — a welcome change that came with the renovations, Lonely Planet reports.

Musée Carnavalet closed in 2016 after the collection had grown so large that curators could not find a way to present all of the information in a layout that would make sense for visitors. But with the renovations, which were completed in part with the help of François Châtillon, chief architect for France's historical monuments, the museum is reopening with a reimagined, more modern experience.

Interior of. the Musee Carnavalet Reopens After Its Renovation In Paris
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Other updates include the addition of ramps and lifts that make the space more accessible, as well as the lowering of over 10% of the museum's exhibits — including paintings, sculptures, posters, photos, and artifacts — so children can easily enjoy them, too. Digital displays have also been introduced for a touch of modernity, while the basement — the oldest part of the museum — has been fully renovated and now houses the Mesolithic and Renaissance exhibits.

View of a model of the Bastille during the Inauguration of the "Carnavalet Museum - History of Paris" after 4 years of renovation on May 26, 2021 in Paris, France.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Visitors can also expect to start their experience in the two new introductory rooms, and when they find themselves in need of refreshments, they can head to the new restaurant overlooking the gardens.

Entrance to the permanent collection of the Musée Carnavalet is free. Admission will be charged for temporary exhibitions. The museum opens on May 29, and booking a time-stamped ticket is mandatory.

For more information, visit the Musée Carnavalet website.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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