The Musée Carnavalet, the museum of the history of Paris, has a wealth of fascinating collections for eras that range from the Middle Ages to the end of the 19th century. (In the 18th-century section, see if you can find the clock that depicts Voltaire and Rousseau getting into a fistfight.) But the real star of the show is their French Revolution collection, which takes up an entire wing of the museum and houses everything from the usual paintings and busts, to a number of flags, a model of the Bastille carved out of a stone taken from the fortress when it was demolished, decimal clocks and pocketwatches, and personal effects belonging to various historical figures–Danton’s shaving kit, Saint-Just’s duelling pistols, Augustin Robespierre’s Jacobin Club membership card. Their Empire and Restoration collections aren’t bad either, and the July Monarchy/1848/Second Republic exhibits are heavily focused on the revolutions and the artistic life of the Romantic era. Plus, paintings of Paris as it existed in the 19th century. If you’re interested in Les Mis-adjacent history, Carnavalet will make you feel like a kid in a candy store… and speaking of which, beware of the museum bookshop unless you have deep pockets or iron self-control, because you’ll probably want to buy three-quarters of the things in there.
Location: 23 rue de Sévigné, at the intersection with the rue des Francs-Bourgeois (Metro stop Saint-Paul or Chemin Vert)
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm (Ticket office closes at 5pm, bookshop closes at 5:30)
Telephone: 01 44 59 58 58