Possessing some 150,000 items in its rich collection, this fascinating museum offers a glimpse of history through the prism of decorative objects, with a spectrum that ranges from medieval traveling trunks to Philippe Starck stools. The collection is organized in more or less chronological order, so on your journey you will pass by paintings from the First Italian Renaissance, through a room filled with exquisite 15th-century intarsia (“paintings” made out of intricately inlaid wood), before gaping at huge, intricately carved 17th-century German armoires.
The collection weakens after 1930; it’s hard to tell if this is due to a lack of imagination on the part of the museum or on the part of 20th-century designers. The chronological sequence can be hard to follow; note that the visit starts on the third floor. There are two other museums in the building (which is actually one of the extremities of the Louvre): the Musée de la Publicité, which takes on the history of advertising, and the Musée de la Mode et du Textile, which hosts exhibits on the many facets of clothing, including the works of famous couture houses like Jean-Paul Gaultier and Dior (both have the same hours as the main museum and are included in the ticket price to Arts Décoratifs).
- Margie Rynn