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18.10.2019 Europe

Exploring the best little museums in Paris

By Ollia Horton - RFI
Emma Jacobs
LISTEN OCT 18, 2019
Emma Jacobs

Discover a new side of Paris, hidden in plain sight. From hunting spoils, to old phonographs, private gardens and much more, The Little(r) Museums of Paris is full of interesting facts about the lesser known treasures in the city of lights.

Like an old school 'carnet de voyage' or travel diary from the past, The Little(r) Museums of Paris, an illustrated guide to the city's hidden gems features delightful watercolour paintings by the author Emma Jacobs.

This young Canadian-American multimedia journalist, based in Montreal, lived in Paris for quite a few years as a student and maintains a strong connection to the city.

The book came about organically, as she was discovering the city for herself, and realized how many off-the-beaten-track museums Paris had to offer.

"This is for people looking to personalize their trip a little more, perhaps a second visit, to take in what they haven't seen, where locals go and people who like things a little off-beat," she told RFI on a visit to Paris to promote the book.

In this age of high speed digital communication, this book is a call to slow things down.

"It departs from a typical guide book in a lot of ways. You want to give people more than just the information, because it is something you can theoretically get from the internet. To justify people picking this up, you want to give them something different."

Does she have a favourite "little" museum herself?
"I really love the museum of hunting and nature because it is so unique and quirky, it's so Paris."

"And to give people the experience of walking into a complete time capsule, I would suggest the Musée Nissim de Camondo, near Parc Monceau."

Dedicated to French decorative art from the second half of the eighteenth century, this museum displays some of the finest furniture and objects from the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI.

Emma Jacobs was surprised to discover how much of Parisian history overlapped, with the same artists popping up in different places.

She cites the example of painter Eugène Delacroix who went to draw the animals in the natural history museum, while a Yves Saint Laurent dress was inspired by the 'Lady and the Unicorn' tapestries at the Musée de Cluny.

With chapters based on themes rather than districts, this guide will inspire the reader to take a closer look at Paris, beyond the baguette, the cafés and the queues for Le Louvre.

The Little(r) Museums of Paris is published in English by Running Press, a branch of Hachette Book Group.

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