Founded in 1889 by collector and industrialist Emile Guimet, today this vast collection of Asian art is one of the largest and most complete in Europe. Here you’ll find room after room of exquisite works from Afghanistan, India, Tibet, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and other Asian nations. You could spend an entire day here, or you could pick and choose regions of interest (displays are arranged geographically); the free audioguide is a good bet for finding standouts and providing cultural context. Highlights include a Tibetan bronze sculpture (“Hevajra and Nairâtmya”) of a multiheaded god embracing a ferocious goddess with 8 faces and 16 arms; a blissfully serene stone figure of a 12th-century Cambodian king (“Jayavarman VII”) and superb Chinese scroll paintings, including a magnificent 17th-century view of the Jingting mountains in autumn. A few minutes’ walk from the museum is the Panthéon Bouddhique (19 av. d’Iéna; [tel] 01-40-73-88-00; free admission; Wed–Mon 10am–5:30pm), an old mansion where Guimet’s collection of Buddhist art from Japan is displayed.
- Margie Rynn