Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris

Whirl through design history at Paris' Decorative Arts Museum

Le musée des arts décoratifs
Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Housed in a building adjoining the Louvre Museum, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Decorative Arts Museum) boasts some 150,000 works of decorative art, including ceramics, glass, jewelry, and toys. The collection traces decorative arts across history, beginning with the medieval period, and civilizations, from Europe to the Middle East and far Orient.

Visitors interested in expanding their knowledge of artistic practices to the decorative arts will find a wealth of information in this underrated museum's large collections. You might think about paying a visit after a whirl at the Louvre. Two other museums, the Fashion and Textiles and Publicity Museums, share the same building, and when you purchase a ticket to one, you gain access to all three of these.

Location and Contact Information

The museum is located in the posh 1st arrondissement (district) of Paris, in the heart of the Louvre-Rivoli Neighborhood and nearby the Palais Royal and the Louvre. Sights and attractions nearby the museum include the Champs-Elysees NeighborhoodOpera Garnier, Grand Palais and The St-Jacques Tower (early Renaissance marvel in central Paris).

The address is 07 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France. To get there via the Metro, take the Louvre-Rivoli or Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre (Line 1).

Visit the official website.

Opening Hours and Tickets

Visit the official website for hours and admission info.

Admission to the permanent collections and displays: you can check current prices here. Entry is free for European Union citizens under the age of 26.

A ticket to this museum also allows you entry to the adjoining Fashion and Textile Museum and Publicity Museum.

Highlights of the Permanent Collection

The permanent collection at the Decorative Arts museum includes around 150,000 objects hailing from various periods and civilizations. Around 6,000 of these are displayed at a given time, and curators have focused on highlighting the craftsmanship and "savoir-faire" of the artists, craftsmen and industrial makers who designed the objects. Countless materials and techniques are highlighted, from shark's skin to wood, ceramics, enamel, and plastic. Objects range from vases to furniture, jewelry, clocks, cutlery and even dollhouses.

The collections are essentially divided into two different "pathways." In the first, you'll be given a chronological overview of decorative art techniques and styles from the medieval period to the present day. A particular emphasis in this part of the collection is on science, technology and how developments in these areas have changed ways of approaching the decorative arts in more recent years. Exhibition space for the 19th-century collections (1850–1880) as well as for the 20th-century collections has doubled in recent years, which reflects the dynamism of the field.

The collection is further divided into 10 rooms divided according to chronological period, as well as rooms focusing on specific themes. These include:

  • Objects from the Medieval/Renaissance period: including objects classified as "international gothic" and from the Italian Renaissance
  • 15th–18th-century objects: Including a focus on the secrets of porcelain-making
  • The 19th century: Highlights here include a room dedicated to the "bourgeois bed chamber" and to "bad taste"
  • Art deco/art nouveau design: Rooms dedicated to art deco and art nouveau styles in furniture, architecture, or fashion are at the center of these collections
  • Modern/contemporary objects and design: From the 1940's to the present day, these rooms highlight exciting developments in modern design.
  • Toy gallery: The kids should enjoy these rooms, which highlights toymaking from the mid-19th century to the present day.
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