If you’re the kind of person who can walk for hours, Paris was meant for you! and only you! There are excellent attractions, but the streets of Paris can’t be compared to anything else in the world. The city is an open-air museum, every building is a piece of art, there are statues on the roofs, ornaments on the walls . . . people pay to see these things somewhere else, while you can simply stare at the wall and take in the artistic spirit.
To be honest, “free-of-charge” is a good word, but there are some things worthy to see in this regard, things you need to pay to see. There is a very unique museum in the heart of Paris. If you’re interested in the history of architecture, the French would tell you to visit Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (please, read that in a very delicate French accent).
The location is just perfect. It’s right in front of Eiffel Tower. If you’re in a group, you can even ask someone to keep your place in the Eiffel queue and drop in at the architecture museum. Of course, that’s only when you’ve got nothing else to do in the queue.
The permanent exhibition of this museum features the traditions of architecture throughout 1000 years, that’s 10 centuries! The collection mainly consists of ornements and architectural creations. You might sometimes encounter full-size replicas of houses, say, from Middle Ages. Your imagination is just waiting for a sign to be turned on.
Not surprisingly, the majority of displays are connected to French churches from different periods. Churches have always been the most luxurious, the wealthiest, the almighty powers. That’s why you find the best possible architecture on, in and around them. They also have the longest lives spans, after palaces and castles probably.
People involved in architecture and art will find the museum helpful, while other travelers will find it exciting. You’re going to see historical architecture as you travel to the arrondissements of Paris. It would be wiser to know something about those architecture styles, the Why’s and How’s. That’s what makes your money spending valuable, not the savings, not budget traveling, but the meaningful spending of every Euro in your pocket.
The most meaningless spending would be being robbed by a pickpocket. And considering the fact that this museum is located in the center, you’ve got some good chances of becoming a pickpocket’s target. On the contrary, there are not so many people inside the museum. It’s really an important place, but not an overly promoted one. I’m always for such places, because they make you stand out from the crowd of travelers. You’ve seen something no one else thought of. I can bet you’ll reign over “I’ve been to here, I’ve been to there” conversations.”
The guides are very kind and friendly here. They will try to make you feel comfortable in the museum no matter what language you speak. They would be more caring if you speak a few French words though.
Looking for a souvenir? I’m afraid the only things you can get from here are books though. The museum has a bookshop instead of a gift shop. However, as the Internet becomes more popular, books become a better gift, especially for those who like to collect them. You can support the personal library of a friend.
There’s also a cafe with an open-roof terrace. Have a break before or after the exhibition. It’s only of the best places to relax in a Parisian way, just look at the city and dive into romance. Here’s a personal advice. It would be far more effective if you could have background music for the cafe. The music can come from your headphones, no conventional methods are obligatory here.
The prices in the menu might be too much if you’re on a budget, but the quality will most definitely be provided.
While Monday is a free day for the majority of museums in the world Cité de l’Architecture closes only on Tuesday. The opening hours are 11am- 7pm. Thursdays are special, because the museum stays open till 9:00 pm. It’s actually a big advantage. You can start the day with other priorities that have strict closing hours and switch to Cité de l’Architecture after dinner.
The admission ticket costs €8, a very convenient price, if you ask me. If your age is below 18, good news, you get free admission. There are also other discounts you should ask right in the museum. Don’t forget your student card or anything that might get you a discount. The first Sunday of every month is also special. You get free admission all day long. If you can manage to plan your visit at the right time, you’ll save a few Euros for a delicious French croissant . . . or macaroons . . . or dark chocolate . . . you’ll probably need more than a few Euros here.
This was it, the best way to tell you about my impressions of the museum. You don’t have to stick with the rules, observe every single display, just do what your heart tells you to do. The museum is for artistic souls, if your job has anything to do with inspiration and creativity, you’ll get some useful energy atoms here. Store them carefully, they’ll get you a promotion. Before that happens, enjoy the most amazing buildings ever built in Paris.