Musee de la Musique

Musee de la Musique, Paris: Hours, Address, Musee de la Musique Reviews: 4.5/5

Musee de la Musique
Speciality Museums • History Museums
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12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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This museum has nearly 1,000 different instruments on display, complete with audio commentary.
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307 reviews
Very good

Bloomfield Township, MI127 contributions
Jul 2012 • Family
This is probably the best music museum in the world. It has a wonderful collection of all western musical instruments organized in a chronological order showing their development. Visitors are provided with an individual listening unit in their choice of language. As you progress through the five floors of exhibits you can select and listen to short audio segments about the particular exhibit. Many of the instruments on exhibit also have numbers which can be entered on the keypad of the listening unit to hear brief excepts of music played on each o fthe instruments. Many of the instruments on display are rare and of significant value: Stradivari violins, historical pianos, original brass instruments made by Sax, etc. In addition to the western/European instruments and musci there are also displays of electronic instruments and ones from other areas of the world (Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc.). This museum is a must see for anyone visiting Paris and with an interest in music. It is not an exageration to say that this may be a more unique and memorable place to visit than some of the other more well known attractions in Paris!
Written July 15, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Los Angeles, CA53 contributions
Apr 2018 • Couples
Located in the La Villete park, next to the Peripherique. Easy access with the metro, stop Porte de Pantin. Close to the Music School. It is not crowded and affords an excellent display of musical instruments, and not only to be seen, but they can be heard, since their sound is reproduced faithfully (that is if you have the audio guide). Also, there are recitals and other educational activities for adults and children. The new building of the Paris Symphony Orchestra is close by, an ugly modern monstrosity with all black interior, saved by good acoustics..
Written December 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

USA152 contributions
Feb 2014 • Solo
For some reason, this museum has never been on my radar, but I ran across a rave review and decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did. As I spoke to the cashier and to some docents who asked how I was enjoying the museum, they noted with dismay that it does not get a lot of traffic. That's a shame, because this is probably the best organized and best presented museum I've ever visited.

It definitely has an emphasis on Western musical history, especially European instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries. I loved the harpsichords and clavichords and harps, and was particularly intrigued by the work of Adolophe Sax, a Belgian who invented - you guessed it - the saxophone, as well as several portmanteau instruments that never quite caught on but are displayed here. The sections on more modern and 'world' music are fascinating but far less extensive. The rooms are serene and subdued, though occupied during my visit by a school group. It was a pleasure to watch the youngsters scrutinizing the displays to fill out their worksheets, but their excited chatter was a bit clamourous.

The audioguide that comes free with admission (only 7 euros - what a bargain!) not only describes many instruments and musical trends, it also offers samples of music played by those instruments, often literally the very items in the collection. It also plays soundtracks for the videos running on many monitors throughout the museum, delving deeper into a range of fascinating story lines, and I found myself spell-bound by things I'd thought I wasn't interested in. The audio was so compelling that I almost lost track of the exquisite workmanship of so many of the pieces - not just instruments, but true works of art. Time flies by swiftly.

As for transport, the museum is definitely on the outskirts of town in the 19th arrondissement and requires an investment of time to visit. It is part of the Cite de la Musique, a modern complex that also includes a concert hall and amphitheater. Metro line 5 stops at Porte de Pantin, right in front of the entrance closest to the Museum. If you have time, you might take the #75 bus instead. Get on at the terminus at Pont Neuf, at the far east end of the Louvre, to get a seat for about a 45-minute ride through a cross-section of both monumental and workaday Paris. The bus line ends at Porte de Pantin at a Tram stop about a block from the Museum - when you get off the bus, just walk straight ahead and you'll see the bright red Billeterie, the ticket office for performances at the Cite. The museum entrance is off to the right from there.
Written February 6, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Taunton, UK486 contributions
Dec 2014 • Family
After looking at reviews of this place I decided to take my children there, even though it was out of the way. My kids are both learning the piano, so I thought this museum would introduce them to other instruments and other types of music.

When getting the free children's tickets at the counter (the adults had Paris Museum passes but the kids still need a printed free ticket to enter) the kids were given a booklet and pencil each to complete a quiz on their way through the museum.

At the museum entrance we were given a headset each - the staff asked me for the kids' ages and the language I wanted, so she set the two kids' sets in English. She then handed me two sets for the adults and said press three for English. When I got in the museum only the kids could use their headsets, whilst one adult set was in French (couldn't change it to English at all) and the other one just died completely. As the entrance was several flights of stairs below, we decided to go without the headsets, figuring we could enjoy the museum just as well without them.

WRONG! This "music" museum is the quietest museum I have ever been to, and I have been to a lot. The museum consists of endless displays of lots of instruments in glass cabinets with labels (only in French) that sometimes feature a number for you to press on the headset so that you can hear more about the selected instrument and a sample of music. I was expecting a more interactive experience, for example pressing a button on a cabinet to hear a blast from a trumpet or something, but the only hands-on things I saw were occasional displays of an instrument taken apart that you can handle - they had screens showing the making of the instruments, but of course these were silent as you need to use the headsets to hear the audio.

Everyone in the museum spoke in hushed voices, it was far quieter than any church or library I have ever been too. My kids were also told by an attendant not to run as they had wanted to hurry and find the children's audio codes. The entire museum is designed for people, each with a headset on, walking around silently appreciating the different instruments by themselves.

The only 'fun' thing was the booklet for the kids, which had a quiz to fill in with pictures and cartoons. However, my kids did not even look at this as it entailed way too much writing and the questions did not follow the order of the cabinets (you would need to go back and forth through each floor).

Overall, a very disappointing visit. I had high hopes of a music-filled museum but it turned out to be a museum only filled with musical instruments. Should be called the Museum of the History of Musical Instruments, as it was not really about music.
Written January 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Melbourne61 contributions
Sep 2014 • Couples
Just a heads up for anyone who wants to go to this museum, it is closed for renovations until the 20th October 2014. Hope this saves anyone from making a wasted trip like we did :(
Written September 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Budapest, Hungary39 contributions
Nov 2011 • Family
The last time I swas in Paris (with an adult son) we stayed not too far from Parc de la Villette, and on the last day we decided to visit the park. We intended to visit both the Musee de la Musique and the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie (Science and Industry Museum. We went first to the Music Museum, and were told by the person that we bought the ticket from that it would take 1.5 to 2 hours. Four hours later we were still there! We were intrigued by the huge collection of instruments, the sample music audios at most of the displays, and the live performers playing some of the antique instruments. Definitely well work the admission, and very interesting to anyone who appreciates music. In fact, if you love music, you should definitely go out of your way to get to this place and see it!
Written October 5, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sharon M
Phoenix, AZ29 contributions
Sep 2012 • Friends
This is a fantastic place for people who are into the history of musical instruments. Located at 221 Av Jean Jaures in the 19th in Parc de la Villette, it is worth the effort to get there. There are over 1000 instruments from the 17th thru 20 centuries and the very reasonable 7 Euro adult admission includes the audio guide. It's an excellent way to pass a rainy afternoon.
Written September 20, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brendan Roy
Ottawa, Canada217 contributions
Jul 2012 • Couples
Both my wife and I play the piano as a hobby, so we thought this would be interesting, not expecting anything spectacular. It is the best collection of instruments I've seen in any museum. They have dozens of each type, from different time periods and with different styles. The audio guide is excellent too as you can often listen to musical extracts of the instrument you're viewing.

And if you go on Sunday afternoon, there are often 1 or more musicians playing a feature instrument, along with an explanation of its history and an interpretation of the music they just played.

And as I sidenote, as you exit the nearby metro/subway station, and walk through a courtyard area, past the fountain towards the museum, there is a nice outdoor and indoor cafe, with good food and drinks/cocktails on a hazy, lazy day of summer of people watching !
Written September 3, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Amherst, MA32 contributions
Aug 2014 • Family
When my husband said he wanted to go to this museum, I though it might be a little dull. Though I like music, I wondered how interesting it could be to walk around and look at many instruments. It turns out this was one of the museums I liked best in Paris. What makes this such an amazing museum is the audio headset that has numbers to click on and listen to throughout the museum. The commentary and music that are part of this audio tour are really exceptional. I felt like I was getting a mini-course in music and it was fascinating. It's not a monotone voice giving academic information at each stop (as some museums are, unfortunately). Rather, there are voices, mingled with music and storytelling. Before I got there, I had thought an hour or so would be fine for visiting this museum, but I quickly learned we should have allotted 2-3 hours, and, for music-lovers, at least an afternoon and maybe a day.

I was happily surprised to see how well they have set up a separate audio guide for children, complete with a kids activity book that has things to look up throughout the museum as well as what number to press to hear the audio for each page in the book. And the children's clips are fun to listen to. For example, the clip on Bach described, in an audio theater format, what it must have been like for the neighbors living next to the Bach family where all the children and the parents were musicians. The audio for this museum was so good that even when the museum staff ushered us out of the galleries since that part was closing, my son and I sat on the step in the hallway next to the Special Exhibit (on Black Music) to listen to all the audio numbers listed in the kids activity booklet while my husband poked around the gift store (... an extensive gift store by the way). All in all, this was a terrific museum that I would definitely want to go back to with more time. On top of that, the museum is in the middle of this kind of recreation park for kids (... it looked like the activities were things you had to pay for, but it looked like a very fun place.) Also, there's a street with many restaurants (with all different price ranges) right next to the museum so it worked out well for us to go to a restaurant a couple blocks down and then hop on the Metro which is right there.
Written August 23, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Carl B
Northfield, MN62 contributions
Mar 2014 • Solo
Viewing this museum was a primary goal of my latest trip to Paris. The collection was formerly part of the Paris Conservatory but moved to the City of Music in 1997. The collection now has plenty of room and is wonderfully displayed. The emphasis is on Western Europe and especially French but with lots of other areas represented. Fabulous examples of early woodwinds, keyboards and stringed instruments. I saw about a dozen Stradivarius violins, a Guarneri and three Amati violins. Awesome collection.
This museum has the only "original" Octo-Basse in existence; it's like string bass on sterioids and about 12 feet tall. The coverage of development of orchestra instruments up to the 20th century is the best I've ever seen. In three of the galleries, conservatory students were available to demonstrate instruments and answer questions.
If you have any interest in music, this museum is a must-see.
The only other music museums to rival this one are in Scottsdale, Arizona and Vermillion, South Dakota. The Cite de la Musique is very easy to reach by Metro: Porte de Pantin stop.
Written March 22, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Musee de la Musique

Musee de la Musique is open:
  • Sun - Sun 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Tue - Fri 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Sat - Sat 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
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