A Christmas Present

photo: pont des arts

The Pont des Arts - one of Paris' most lively open spaces.

From the Hôtel de Ville

Paris:- Friday, 7. December 2001:- For those who come from neighboring countries, from other regions of France, or from the other side of the world, a surprise Christmas present from Paris' new mayor Bertrand Delanoë has just been announced.

Beginning on Saturday, 22. December, access to the permanent collections of most of Paris' museums will become free for all visitors and residents. The temporary exhibitions at these museums will still have modest entry fees, but these will be dropped for visitors below 14 years of age.

To begin with, eight museums drop entry charges on Saturday, 22. December. In addition, the Maison de Victor Hugo will be free until Sunday, 3. March and again after Thursday, 15. August. When their renovations are complete in 2004, the Petit Palais and the Musée Cernuschi will also join the free entry list.

The 'Free' List

About half of the museums listed below have their own Web sites. Those that do not, often have their information on the city's general Web site for all of Paris' museums.

Musée de l'Art Moderne - Except on Mondays, open daily from 10:00 to 17:40. The Musée d'Art Moderne, 11. Avenue Président Wilson, Paris 16. Métro: Iéna or Alma-Marceau. InfoTel.: 01 53 67 40 80.

The Maison de Balzac - Except on Mondays, open from 10:00 to 17:40.photo: morris, film, le mariage des moussons The Maison de Balzac, 47. Rue Raynouard, Paris 16. Métro: Passy or La Muette. InfoTel.: 01 55 74 41 90.

Musée Bourdelle - Except Monday, open daily from 10:00 to 17:40. The Musée Bourdelle, 18. Rue Antoine-Bourdelle, Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse or Falguière. InfoTel.: 01 49 54 73 73.

Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris - See the 'Au Temps de Marcel Proust' exhibition until Sunday, 20. January. Except Mondays, hours here are from 10:00 to 17:40. The Musée Carnavalet - Historie de Paris, 23. Rue de Sévigné, Paris 3. Métro: Saint-Paul or Chemin Vert. InfoTel.: 01 42 72 21 13.

Musée Cognacq-Jay - is Paris' museum for 18th century artworks. It was begun from the donation of the collection of Ernest Cognacq and his wife, Marie-Louise Jay, who founded the Samaritaine department store. Visits require reservations. Open daily except Mondays from 10:00 to 17:40. The Musée Cognacq-Jay, 8. Rue Elzévir, Paris 3. Métro: Saint-Paul or Chemin-Vert. InfoTel.: 01 40 27 07 21, or InfoFax.: 33 1 40 27 89 44.

Musée de la Vie Romantique - is open from 10:00 to 18:00 daily except Mondays. At the Musée de la Vie Romantique - Hôtel Scheffer Renan, 16. Rue Chaptal, Paris 9. Métro: Saint-Georges, Blanche or Pigalle. InfoTel.: 01 48 74 95 38.

Musée Zadkine - is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:40. The Musée Zadkine, 100-bis. Rue d'Assas, Paris 6. Métro: Notre-Dame-des-Champs or Vavin. InfoTel.: 01 43 26 91 90.

Mémorial du Maréchal Leclerc - Musée Jean Moulin - Until Monday, 28. January, see the exhibition 'Leclerc et Ses Hommes: Crossed Destinies. Beginning on 5. February, 'Le Convoi des Déportés Tatoués, 17 April 1944.' Open daily except Mondays, from 10:00 to 17:40. At the 'Mémorial du Maréchal Leclerc Hauteclocque et de la Libération de Paris - Musée Jean Moulin,' Jardin Atlantique, above the Gare Montparnasse. Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse, Gaîté or Edgar Quinet. InfoTel.: 01 40 64 39 44.

Re-opening Soon

The Maison de Victor Hugo - Reopens Thursday, 21. December. Open from Tuesday to Sunday; from 10:00 to 17:40. The Maison de Victor Hugo, 6. Place des Vosges, Paris 4. Métro: Saint-Paul or Bastille. InfoTel.: 01 42 72 10 16.

Being Renovated

The Petit Palais - while being renovated, this museum is taking its show on the road. Check itsposter: andre dussollier Web site for details. When open, it is from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:40; on Thursdays until 20:00. The Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 8. Métro: Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau. InfoTel.: 01 42 65 12 73.

Musée Cernuschi - is also currently being renovated, until the summer of 2003. When open, hours are from 10:00 to 17:40 daily except Mondays. The Musée Cernuschi, 7. Avenue Vélasquez, Paris 8. Métro: Villiers. InfoTel.: 01 45 63 50 75.

Not 'Free' - Paris Museums or Sites

But all these do offer free entry to those under 14 years old. 'Reduced tariff' applies to everybody over 60. This rate is generally five to ten francs less than full price.

The Catacombs - Closed on Mondays and some holidays, but open Tuesday from 11:00 to 16:00, and from Wednesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 16:00. Entry charge of 33 francs or 5.03euro 3 sign also includes entry to Musée Carnavalet. The Catacombs, 1. Place Denfert-Rochereau, Paris 14. Métro: Denfert-Rochereau InfoTel.: 01 43 22 47 63.

Notre Dames' Archeological Crypt - is one of the largest in Europe, and is open daily except on holidays, from 10:00 to 16:00 in winter, and until 18:00 in summer. Located in front of the cathedral, near the Rue de la Cité. Entry fee is 22 francs or 3.35euro 3 sign. Métro: Cité or Saint-Michel.

Pavillon des Arts - On show until 28. February, 'Les Plus Belles Robes du Cinéma.' Entry fee is 22 francs or 3.35euro 3 sign. Except Mondays, open from 11:30 until 18:30. The Pavillon des Arts, Porte Rambuteau, Terrace Lautréamont, 101. Rue Rambuteau, Paris 1. Métro: Châtelet-Les Halles. InfoTel.: 01 42 33 82 50.

Musée Galliera - Musée de la Mode - Beginning on Friday, 25. January, see the 'Madame Carven' exhibition,which continues until 30 June. Entry fee is 30 francs or 4.57euro 3 sign. June. Daily except Monday; from 10:00 to 18:00. At the Musée Galliera, 10. Avenue Pierre-1er-de-Serbie, Paris 16. Métro: Iéna or Alma-Marceau. InfoTel.: 01 47 20 85 23.

Maison de Victor Hugo, Isle of Guernsey - From 2. April until 30. September, open daily except Sundays and local holidays. Hautville House, 38 Hautville, Saint-Pierre-Port. InfoTel.: 00 44 14 81 72 19 11 or InfoFax.: 00 44 14 81 71 59 13.

Other Paris Exhibition Sites, Usually Free

Salle d'Acceuil, Hôtel de Ville - Except on Sundays, from 9:30 to 18:30. The Salon d'Acceuil of the Hôtel de Ville, 29. Rue de Rivoli, Paris 4. Métro: Hôtel de Ville. InfoTel.: 01 42 76 43 43. Free entry.

The Salle Saint-Jean - usually has temporary exhibitions, and they can be quitephoto: window, bon marche good even if they are free or modestly priced. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:00 to 19:00. The Salle Saint-Jean, in the Hôtel de Ville, 5. Rue Lobau, Paris 4. Métro: Hôtel de Ville. InfoTel.: 01 42 76 51 53.

One of the Bon Marché's Christmas windows.

The Hôtel d'Albret - there are occasional short-time exhibitions at the location of the Cultural Affairs direction of the Ville de Paris, in the Hôtel d'Albret, at 31. Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris 4. Métro: Saint-Paul. InfoTel.: 01 42 76 67 00. No entry charge.

About the City's Museums and This List

Paris' first museum, the Musée Carnavalet, was opened in 1880. This is Paris' museum of its own history. The newest museum to open has been the Mémorial du Maréchal Leclerc - Musée Jean Moulin, which opened in 1994.

The announcement of the free entry to the permanent collections of the city's museums comes as sort of a Christmas present from the new city administration to all of the city's visitors and residents. When time allows, some details about each of the museums will be added to this list, to help you plan your activities in Paris.

Reminder

The 'free entry' for Paris' own museums only applies for visits to their permanent collections. Expect for pay an entry fee for the temporary exhibitions - like the ones listed in Metropole's 'Scene' column. Also note that most of Paris' own museums are closed on Mondays, while most national museums have their weekly day-off on Tuesdays.

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