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Born in Spain, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) settled in France after fleeing from Franco's régime. Even though he rarely returned to his native country, most of his paintings reflect his Andalusian origins. On the painter's death, his descendants left many of his works to the French state to pay for death duties. It is partly thanks to these works that the museum was founded in the Hôtel Salé, originally designed by the architect Jean Boullier in 1656 for Aubert Fontenay, a collector specializing in the salt tax. Inside the museum, visitors follow the style changes of the great master and admire the creations from his blue, pink and cubist periods.
Be it scientific, cultural or educational, National Museum of Natural History has something for everyone! Located in the heart of the Jardin des Plantes botanical gardens, it has dinosaur and whale skeletons, a stuffed rhinoceros dated from Louis XVI's reign, minerals and giant crystals, numerous insects, and everything you could ever want to know about the history of the botanical world. The centerpiece, the Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, is a source of vital information about the evolution of different species, the relationship between man and nature and problems related to over-population and pollution. The Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy and Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology are also very informative.
Located in the Palais du Luxembourg's east wing, this is one of Paris' finest museums. The Musée du Luxembourg originally had a permanent collection of 19th-century sculptures and paintings. Today however, the gallery holds only temporary exhibitions. Call ahead for details about the different programs, which are decided by the Ministry of Culture and the Senate. The museum also offers discounts to large groups.
Artist Nélie Jacquemart gave up her brushes after her marriage to Edouard André. Her passion for art however, continued to blossom, fired by her equally enthusiastic husband who commissioned the building of this elegant house in 1869. During their travels across Europe, they collected artifacts, paintings and contemporary treasures. Upon her death, Jacquemart entrusted the entire collection to the Institut de France, who opened a museum at the former residence. Most of the works exhibited date back to the Italian Renaissance but there are also examples of the Flemish and French schools from the 17th and 18th Centuries. Frescoes, delicate pieces of furniture and tapestries are worth the visit. Works by famous artists, such as Rembrandt, Donatello and Fragonard, are also on display.
If you're curious about non-Western cultures, go to Musée du Quai Branly, which opened its doors in 2006. Its location alongside the Seine River and near the Eiffel Tower is exceptional. The permanent collection includes a selection of over 300,000 objects coming from various part of the world. The museum is divided into four sections, each related to a different area: America, Africa, Asia and Australasia. Admire the sculptures and masks from African or South-American civilizations. Among the 8000 music instruments, take a look at the flutes from New Guinea or tom-toms from Mali and Senegal. Extraordinary textile pieces like Chinese palanquin, shaman coats from Central-America or Asian tapestry will enchant you. If you have some time left, hang out in the garden before concluding your visit.
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!