If you visit Paris and the 6th district as a family, keep in mind the city is full of museums designed for all interests and ages. Visits designed for children will give a different perspective of the museum for parents.
The world’s largest museum and one of the most visited – the Louvre – under its transparent Pyramid, has taken this type of approach to present the world’s art and history, from Egyptian Antiquity to the 18th century in a less austere way.
The Musée d’Orsay, famous for its collection of Impressionist painters, is housed in a former train station with light, open spaces showcasing the best of the 19th century in all fields of art.
In Rue de Varenne, the Rodin museum houses major sculptures by Auguste Rodin and some by Camille Claudel, as well as sketches of the artist’s future masterpieces. If the history of Paris interests you, head to the Musée Carnavalet, near Bastille and Place des Vosges (where you will find Victor Hugo’s house), and the Marais district.
The Pompidou Centre in the district of Les Halles (the topic of Zola’s “Le Ventre de Paris”), is of a completely different style. The modernist design and architecture (by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, built in 1977) reflects the collection it houses in all fields of contemporary art.
Instigated by President Jacques Chirac, the Musée du Quai Branly is devoted to primitive art from around the world. The collections are presented in a pleasant, easy flowing manner accessible to visitors of all ages.
Further upstream on the Seine, you will find the Jardin des Plantes and Natural History Museum. The Gallery of Evolution alone is worth the trip.