Updated: Mar 30
There are always so many things to do and so many places to see in Paris, and the various museums must be on the list for everybody. The Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are mindblowing, but there are also some lesser-known spots that are just as amazing as the big museums. There are two museums I visited this time. I highly recommend them to you.
Musée national Gustave Moreau
Hidden in a quiet neighborhood, Musee Gustave Moreau is in Gustave Moreau's home and studio.
Walking upstairs, the first thing we saw was the living room. The room is small but packed with delicate art pieces. Comparing to the living space, Moreau's studio is huge. It takes up two floors and almost every inch of the walls is covered with gigantic paintings. I didn't know a lot about Moreau before my visit. He was a major influence in French Symbolist painting. Moreau's style is unique in my opinion. He used dark colors in contract with some touches of vibrant colors, which created an intense visual impact. Many of his works featured in the museum are mythological or biblical scenes, that he would then abstract over multiple iterations. Some of the paintings were unfinished as if a new stroke of inspiration pulled him to his next creation before he finished the last.
The staircase that connects the two floors adds a wonderful touch to this artistic space. I could have sat there all day to appreciate the stokes of colors and details on the paintings. This museum gives you a sense of what life in Paris was like in the 19th century.
Maison de Victor Hugo
I have been a super fan of Hugo ever since I read The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Besides that, Nick and I are both huge fans of Les Misérables the musical, so Victor Hugo's museum is a must-see for us this time in Paris. I am so glad that we visited it because this place has all we want to know about him.
This museum is located in the house where Victor Hugo lived for 16 years between 1832–1848. Being able to walk into his actual home and see all his art collections, portraits, photographs felt very surreal to me. This museum is not big but we really took our time here to look at each detail, very well maintained and decorated. From the wallpaper to the floral rug, the romantic Parisian style is shown everywhere. My favorite room is Hugo's living room. The entire wall is decorated with his collection of porcelain. The museum is free but we paid extra for a special exhibition. The exhibition was presenting many caricatures of Hugo. It was quite fascinating to see his political activities at that time.
If you are a huge fan of Hugo just like us, leave some time for this museum on your trip. Hugo's novels have influenced me so much as a writer. I never felt so close to his life until I visited the place where he once lived and created his work. I also recommend you to get an audio guide. This is certainly a rewarding experience.