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Strangest/Specialty Museums in Paris

By: Cityseeker
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Musée de la Magie

This dimly lit, subterranean museum of magic offers many things to bewitch a young mind. But while Musée de la Magie is filled with numerous interesting curios and props that track the history of magic from the 18th Century to the present (think magic wands and early Ouija boards), children will doubtless be primarily intrigued by the interactive games, optical illusions and other hands-on "magic" items that are scattered throughout the museum. In addition, a magic show, performed several times daily, is included in the price of the ticket. Don't miss it: the kids will love it, and so will you.

Paris, France
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Paris Catacombs

Hidden beneath "The City of Light" is a dark underworld, the final resting place of more than six million Parisians. The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries formed of a network of tunnels, caves, and quarries filled with mortal remains, where the former citizens of Paris now form a part of its foundation. As Paris went on its way to becoming an important hub, thousands flocked to the city. This spurred justified concerns about the limited cemetery space, leading to the creation of the catacombs in 1810 at the site of the old Montrouge stone quarries. Although in use as an ossuary as early as the 1780s, it was not until this time that the catacombs were organized. The bones were arranged as per the cemeteries they were taken from, creating a subterranean skeletal world, where the last of the lot were brought down in 1860. During World War II, this network of galleries was used as a hideaway for the Résistance movement; its vastness and the discretion of its entrances were great assets indeed. These ossuaries, illustrated by texts, create a chilling atmosphere and describe some of the defining events in the history of Paris, giving visitors substance for meditation. It is also occasionally used as a macabre venue for concerts, parties and other events.

Paris, France
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Museum of Fairground Arts

Musée des Arts Forains was established in 1996 by Jean-Paul Favand, celebrated actor and art director. Breathing new life into a rustic warehouse at Les Pavillons de Bercy, this museum is an expression of allure and an ode to fairground art. Explore the scene for fairytale unicorns, magic fountains, distorting mirrors, regal theater props, opulent chandeliers and Belle Époque artifacts. The wonderland woods are replete with cottages and a Baroque castle that are reminiscent of fairytale classics. This museum also features a collection of 19th-century fair objects like stalls, carousels and other carnival rides.

Paris, France
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Palais Galliera

See fashions from centuries past and the present day at the Palais Galliera. The facility opened its door sin 1894 and went through several incarnations before housing the 70,000 pieces of fashion history inside today. You'll see clothes, jewelry, art, and other items belonging to royalty and celebrities throughout history. Paris is the fashion capital of the world, so this exhibit is not to be missed!

Paris, France
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Le Musée des Vampires

The Vampire Museum is a small museum located about two minutes from Paris. It receives ten people maximum for a very unusual visit guided by the host, Jacques Sirgent. In this peculiar house, numerous objects are gathered; they tell stories and legends of vampires of today and yesterday (paintings, books, movies, animal scale models, pieces of furniture, weapons and more). You won't be frightened here, but you will learn the origins and legends which surround vampirism. After you have strolled into the rooms, you think it is over, but not at all--there still is a garden to wander in. The Musée des Vampires is open by appointment only. Tours at 12.30p, 3p and 7:30p.

Paris, France
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Musée de la Contrefaçon

Rare is the discerning consumer who has never been confronted to counterfeit. A convincing explanation for this fact is the abundance of fake goods available on the market. The Musée de la Contrefaçon gives visitors the opportunity to train their eye and practice their judgment by comparing originals and copies displayed here side by side. More than 350 items are exhibited: toys, pens, clothes, tools, toiletries, luxury goods,etc. The exhibits demonstrate the extent industries are affected by counterfeit. Founded in 1951, a manufacturers' association fighting this phenomenon, reminds us of a war which started with the creation of the first designer labels. In this museum, you will recognize products you use and might even realize that you have bought fakes in the past. However, after this visit, there will be no excuse!

Paris, France
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