The museum of decorative arts of Paris !!

Shamely , I have to tell you my dear readers, have  been only one brief visit to this museum. Even if I worked 5 minutes from it for two years! Too many and not enough time lol! Shame again as I am friend of the Louvre next door but with the jardin des Tuileries and the other two museums around (Orangerie and Paume), never enough time. Oh well,there will be time eventually to see more. I have time yes patience in France is a virtue when so much to see.Anyway, let me tell you an introduction to the museum of decorative arts of Paris. And, this is an update from an older post which gladly need to remind myself; hope you enjoy it as I.

The musée des Arts décoratifs or Museum of Decorative Arts aims at the valorization of Applied Fine Arts and the development of links between industry and culture, creation and production. It retains one of the most important collections of decorative arts in the world. The museum was inaugurated on 29 May 1905 in the wing of Marsan (that was part of the Palais des Tuileries now gone unfortunately) at the Louvre. It is part of the wider ensemble of the private Decorative Arts Association, founded in 1882, which is a French cultural institution bringing together museums, places of teaching and library around the art of living, decorative arts, design, fashion and textiles, advertising and graphics.  You come here on the metro Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7), Tuileries(line 1), Pyramides (lines 7 and 14) or by Bus lines : 21, 27, 39, 48, 68, 72, 81,and 95.


The various collections of the museum include about 150 000 objects of which 6 000 are presented to the public. They are divided into five chronological departments (Middle Ages-Renaissance, 17-18-19C, Art Nouveau-Art Deco, Modern-Contemporary) and in seven thematic departments (graphic arts, jewelry, toys, wallpapers, glass, fashion and textiles, advertising and graphic design) to draw a chronological path of the evolution of artistic production in all its aspects in decorative arts from the Middle Ages to contemporary designs of today.

The collection of paintings, distributed throughout the chronological course of the collections, covers the period from the 13C to the 20C with many Spanish, Italian and Flemish Gothic panels as well as works by French painters.

Middle Ages/Renaissance (rooms 2 to 9) This department covers a period of 400 years from the 12C to the 16C. The collection includes more than 3 600 works.

17-18C (rooms 10 to 30) in the origins of the museum, this department was a group of works with encyclopedic vocation. With today nearly 20 000 works, these offer a nearly complete panorama of the decorative arts of the time. About 1 500 works are presented in the galleries, where some period scenes are reconstructed.

19C (rooms 31 to 42) This department has a little more than 9200 works of which more than 800 are exhibited in 13 rooms alternating interior evocations, showcases and period scenes. Among the 450 pieces of furniture stand out from the complete sets of Empire and restoration era, Royal furniture deposited by the National furniture depot, and exceptional furniture from the industry or universal exhibitions. The collections also include more than 2 200 ceramics, from Sèvres, Paris or Limoges. About 950 pieces of goldsmith make it possible to admire the productions of the manufactures Odiot and Christofe, such as the monumental “especially of the Hundred utensils” of Napoleon III.  More than three hundred paintings and more than five hundred sculptures enrich the department’s Fund.

Art nouveau / Art déco (rooms 43 à 53). This ensemble comprises more than 6 660 works representing all the currents of decorative arts, with their major representatives.

Modern and Contemporary (rooms 54 à 67) The period begins with the International Exhibition of Arts and Technology of 1937, and continues until the current period. Its collections unfold on 5 levels in the Pavillon de Marsan .

The thematic departments of the museum are:

Graphic Arts. It consists of some 150 000 drawings covering a period from the 16C to the 21C.

Galerie de Bijoux (Jewelry Gallery). The museum’s Jewelry gallery consists of 4 000 pieces ranging from antiquity to modern times and of which about 1 200 are exhibited. This is the most important collection of jewelry in the French collections The course is chronological and offers a panorama of the jewelry and its history from the Middle Ages up to the contemporary period.

Department of Wallpapers (papier peint). This department, created in 1967, houses 400 000 works representing more than three centuries of creation.

Glass (Verre). The collection comprises more than 5 000 glass objects from the 14C to the present day. Famous creators such as, Baccarat, Saint Louis, Tiffany, Gallé and Daum are presented, in what constitutes the richest and most varied ensemble in France.

Toy Gallery (jouets) .The museum’s toy collection, built from 1905, now has more than 12 000 games and toys dating from the mid-19C to the present day.

Fashion and Textiles . In 1905, the Museum of Decorative Arts has an important textile collection (silks, embroidery, lace, printed canvas), enriched from 1948 thanks to the competition of the French Union of Costume Arts (UFAC).  Estimated today at more than 60 200 works, the collection consists of costumes, accessories, textiles as well as important photographic and graphic art funds. In 1981, an agreement sealed the alliance of these two collections, giving birth to the museum of Fashion Arts in 1986. Renamed the Museum of Fashion and Textiles in 1997 and then integrated into the Museum of Decorative Arts, the collection has more than 152 800 works including costumes, accessories and textiles from the 3C to the present day, presented on 1 500 m2. The names of the greatest creators are brought together, from Paul Poiret to Popy Moreni, from Madeleine Vionnet to Christian Lacroix, from Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent.

Advertising and Graphic Designs. The first posters entered the collections at the beginning of the 20C. A posters department is created in 1972 then, a poster museum is officially created in 1978. Installed at Rue de Paradis in 1981, it became an advertising museum, before reopening in 1999 at 107 rue de Rivoli, in the converted galleries of Jean Nouvel.  In addition to the poster fund, which has about 100 000 posters, the collections have been enriched with advertising films, press announcements, radio spots, and promotional items.

At the musée des Arts Décoratifs only 20% of the works possessed by the museum are exhibited. The remainder is stored on reserves, formerly located in the deep underground of the museums. However, in the face of the risk of flooding of the Seine river,  and flooding the basements, it was decided that these reserves must be moved to a safe place. Huge, extremely secure warehouses are used to store unexposed works. Some works remain stored under buildings for several reasons, including works awaiting renovation or transit, or alternative works and objects and furniture useful to expose the works. Very secure, the climate of the reserves is constantly controlled (constant temperature, 70% humidity) to avoid deterioration of the works. Indeed a work of arts! 

There is a good restaurant tasted on my visit on a business event with friends: A wonderful noted restaurant. The  Restaurant Loulou 107, rue de Rivoli .Webpage:

An interesting library with lots of souvenirs to had and take home: The 107Rivoli (boutique of the museum)  have a selection of products inspired from the collections in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, as well as exclusive creations for sale.  webpage:

The official Musée des Arts Décoratifs:

The Paris tourist office on the museum AD

There you go folks, more of Paris and we need to see more, lots more. Again, hope you enjoy this introduction to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs of Paris! Paris is eternal ,a mind of its own, I say! 

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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2 Comments to “The museum of decorative arts of Paris !!”

  1. This is a lovely museum that I need to visit again

    Liked by 1 person

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