No one can dispute that France is one of the most beautiful and historically rich countries in Europe.  Many consider Paris, its capital city, as the center for romance and artistic beauty.  Everyone knows about Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting of the Mona Lisa so most visitors flock to the museums that house iconic works of art.  However, Paris has a museum for everyone but many of the 42 million tourists who visit Paris every year are unaware of the other treasures that are spread across the city.   Here are a few examples of some interesting museums that are worth your time to visit.

Art Museums

Bronze sculpture of Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’

If you’re an art lover but are tired of waiting in the never-ending line common at the Louvre, why not give the Jacquemart André museum. Despite its small size, it has a fantastic collection of Italian art that includes paintings from artists like Botticelli and Bernini, as well as other artists. The museum was founded by Edouard André (a banker and soldier) and his wife, Nélie Jacquemart, a renowned 19th century painter. Their mutual love of art and the desire to spread it around Paris led to the opening of this incredible museum.

Similar to the last one, the Musée de l’Orangerie is another lovely art museum in Paris, located near Place de la Concorde. It has a large collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist artwork from famous painters such as Matisse, Picasso, Monet and Cezanne.  One of my favorite museums is the Musée Rodin.  This wonderful treasure was opened in 1919 in dedication to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin.  The grounds are gorgeous and worth a stroll.

Pop Culture Museums

If you prefer the less traditional kind of museum, the Musée du Fumeur, or the Smoking Museum, may be what you need to see. As the title gives it away, it is a place that has a large historic collection of memorabilia related to smoking, such as hookahs and carved wooden pipes. You can be a part of a tour that covers the most recent history of smoking as well as learning about some famous smokers.

Are you a music buff? If so, there’s the Edith Piaf museum. It is simply a two-room museum that caters mostly for the singer’s most die-hard fans and includes a number of her possessions, such as photos, fan letters, clothes and even gold records. Despite it being free admission, you need to make a reservation.

Museum of Natural History

Natural History Museums

If history and art is not really your thing, there are museums that are devoted to other themes. For example, the Musée Dupuytren (found in Rue de l’Ecole de Medecine) is a museum founded by surgeon Baron Guillaume Dupuytren and exhibits anatomic anomalies, such as diseases and malformations.

The Galerie de l’Évolution is a natural history museum dedicated to displaying the Earth’s diversity of fauna and their habitats. Here, visitors can learn a lot about evolution and endangered species. You can find this museum in Geoffroy Saint Hilaire.