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Paris plans to renovate 14 of its museums by 2020

On 15th September, the City of Paris announced its plans to undertake major renovations on 14 of its museums, many of which are listed heritage sites.

The City of Paris recently announced an investment plan to restore and modernize its 14 municipal museums. The project will cost 100 million euros, with the city providing 87 million euros and the remainder being brought in by the State as well as private sponsors.

The museums involved in the project comprise French and foreign visitor favorites such as the Carnavalet Museum — detailing the history of Paris — the Jean Moulin Museum — commemorating the French Resistance movement during WW2 — and the Petit Palais, the City of Paris’ Fine Arts Museum.

The 14 municipal museums are jointly administered by the umbrella organization “Paris Museums” — a public institution managing the museums since 2013, in order to enable more coherent strategies where collection content and management are concerned.

With most of them having already been upgraded through a three-year-long modernization project aimed at increasing their appeal and attracting more visitors, the museums will be restructured, revamped and even repositioned in one case.

Indeed, the Jean Moulin Museum (Museum of the Général Leclerc de Hautecloque and of the Liberation of Paris) is to be moved from its current location above the Montparnasse station — where it is not readily discernible and thus easily overlooked — to the Ledoux Pavilion in the 14th arrondissement.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo believes that this new site will enable the museum to benefit from the 500,000 yearly visitors who wander through the catacombs — the entrance of which is also located Place Denfert-Rochereau. The City of Paris plans to reopen the relocated museum on 25th August 2019, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris during WW2.

The catacombs (officially known as the municipal ossuary) — an underground network of galleries lying under the Parisian surface flanked by neatly piled femurs and skulls from old cemeteries in the capital — are also part of the renovation project, soon to be benefitting from an improved entrance (in August 2019) and new exit (scheduled for the end of 2016).

Housed in two historic mansions in the Marais area of Paris, the Carnavalet Museum — which holds over 650,000 works presenting the history of the French capital — will see its visitor trajectory reviewed, with chronological coherence in mind. Additionally, new spaces for temporary exhibits, catering facilities and a heritage and cultural research center will be created. The museum — which currently welcomes over 450,000 visitors per year — is scheduled to reopen in early 2020.

Restructuration works are also planned for the Museum of Modern Art (to be completed in 2018) with more minor work taking place at Balzac and Victor Hugo’s houses, at the Palais Galliera — the Fashion Museum — and at the Bourdelle Museum — an art museum located in the former studio of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle — amongst others. The Petit Palais — which was built for the 1900 World Fair and now houses the City of Paris’ Fine Arts Museum — will see its library moved to free up space for sculpture exhibits.

Overall, the 14 museums welcomed 3.38 million visitors in 2014, and a little over 3 million in 2013.


Photo by Anissa Putois

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