Note: The museum is closed for extensive renovations and is expected to remain closed until end 2019/early 2020.

Paris has served as a backdrop to centuries’ worth of dramatic events, from Roman takeovers to barbarian invasions, from coronations to decapitations to the birth of the modern French republic. These stories and others are told at this fascinating museum through objects, paintings, and interiors. The collection is displayed in two extraordinary 17th-century mansions—works of art in their own right. Starting with a prehistoric canoe from 4600 B.C. and continuing into the 20th century, the history of Paris is illustrated with items as diverse as Gallo-Roman figurines, Napoleon’s toiletry kit, and an 18th-century portrait of Benjamin Franklin painted when he was the U.S. ambassador to France.