Opened in 2006, The Musée du Quai Branly (Quai Branly Museum, in English) is one of Paris' most important new museums, dedicated to arts and artifacts from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. It's also one of 3 excellent museums in Paris dedicated to Asian art. Known as the pet project of former French President Jacques Chirac (much as the Centre Pompidou was the eponymous president's), the museum regularly hosts thematic exhibits offering an in-depth look at the civilizations and artistic heritage of indigenous cultures in these regions.
Housed in a vast and strikingly contemporary building designed by Jean Nouvel. In addition to its immense exhibition spaces, the museum, located in close reach of the Eiffel Tower and perched near the Seine River, boasts an enormous garden with nearly 170 trees and indoor green walls cultivated with 150 species of plants. There's also a cafe and a full-service restaurant with terrace seating, offering good views of the Seine and famed tower.
Location and Contact Information:
To access the museum:
Address: 37, Quai Branly
Metro/RER: M Alma-Marceau, Iena, Ecole Militaire or Bir Hakeim; RER C-- Pont de l'Alma or Tour Eiffel stations
Tel : +33(0)1 56 61 70 00
Visit the official website
Opening Hours and Tickets:
The museum is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday from 11am to 7pm (ticket office closes at 6pm); Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 9pm (ticket office closes at 8pm). The museum is closed on Mondays.
Also Closed: May 1st and December 25th.
Tickets: See current ticket prices here. The admission fee is waived for European visitors under 25 with a valid photo ID (does not include temporary exhibitions). Entrance is free to all visitors on the first Sunday of the month.
Sights and Attractions Nearby Quai Branly:
- Eiffel Tower
- Musee d'Orsay
- Musee Rodin
- Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum)
- Passy Neighborhood: Village-Like Charms Right in the City
Layout of the Permanent Collections: Highlights
The Quai Branly Museum is laid out into several thematic collections (see a complete map and guide to the collections at the official website here).
The permanent collection at the Musee du Quai Branly features in-depth departments dedicated to artistic and cultural artifacts from indigenous cultures around the world, so during a first visit you might want to try to focus on just two, three or four of these to appreciate the collections to the fullest and come away with a more in-depth understanding. Artifacts are rotated regularly to offer better circulation and to help protect fragile objects (textiles, paper, or artifacts made from other natural materials), which are vulnerable to light exposure.
The layout of the permanent collection is innovative for the way it presents the main geographical regions-- Oceania, Asia, Africa, and the Americas-- in fluid, slightly overlapping ways. Visitors are encouraged to observe the major crossroads between different cultures: Asia-Oceania, Insulindia, and Mashreck-Maghreb. At the same time, each section offers a remarkable concentration of objects which bring to life the cultures and traditions in question.
A section dedicated to indigenous cultures of the Americas has recently been renovated, and explore the arts and cultural practices of Native American civilizations from South and North America. Masks from Alaska and Greenland and ivory objects from Inuit tribes are highlights, as are leatherwork, belts, and headdresses from Californian Native Americans. In the central and South American wings, traditional Mexican objets d'art are on display, along with costumes and masks from cultures indigenous to Bolivia and artifacts from many more cultures.
Artifacts in this section are organized by geographical origin but also highlight common themes among cultures of the Pacific regions. Remarkable objects of art and daily life from Polynesia, Australia, Melanesia, and Insulinidia await in this wing of the museum.
The museum's rich African collections are broadly divided into sections dedicated to North African, Subsaharan, central and coastal African cultures. Highlights include remarkable furniture, jewelry, textiles and ceramics from the Berber cultures of North Africa; superb rural frescoes from the Gondar region of Ethiopia, and exceptional masks and sculpture from Cameroon.
The enormous collection of Asian art and artifacts reflects the tremendous diversity of the Asian continent, and the curators have emphasized the rich inter-cultural influences that have developed over the millennia. Highlights include Japanese stencil decoration, Indian and Central Asian art, and cultural practices, and specialized sections dedicated to Siberian shamanic traditions, Buddhist practices throughout the continent, weaponry and armor from the Middle East, and artifacts stemming from ethnic minorities in China, including the Miao and Dong.