Located on the north end of the Parc de la Villette and part of the striking new Philharmonie de Paris complex, this museum has a permanent collection of over a thousand instruments, sculptures, paintings, and other objects that recount the history of music in Europe from the 16th to 20th centuries. Pore over a beautiful and rare 17th-century guitar with ivory inlay, a clutch of Stradivarius violins, or a concert piano that Franz Liszt once played on. A separate section on music from around the world includes another 700 objects, mostly from Africa and Asia. As you wander about, you can listen to the instruments you look at on headphones, and you will probably come across live demonstrations by local musicians as well. Temporary exhibitions are always big hits here, and are usually paired with special concerts. The rest of the Philharmonic complex includes a library, concert hall and educational facilities.
- Margie Rynn