Paris' weird and wonderful museums Museé des Arts Forains: courtesy of the Paris Tourist Office, photographer Daniel Thierry

Paris' weird and wonderful museums

Tired of tourists overtaking Paris' museums? Try this set of weird and unusual exhibitions sure to get you away from the crowds

As the home of the Louvre, Paris is well known for having an amazing collection of museums and art. But Paris has more to boast than the Mona Lisa. We searched the city for some of our favorite unusual Parisian museums, from magic to taxidermy. 

Le Musée de la Magie

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Le Musée de la Magie

Magic aficionados should make their way to the Rue Saint Paul in the 4th arrondissement where the slightly creepy Musée de la Curiosité et de la Magie and the Académie de la Magie await. Housed in the 16th-century cellars beneath what was once the Marquis de Sade’s home, the museum follows magic and illusionists throughout history, with antique props exhibits, magic mirrors, old posters, magic shows and paraphernalia of all kinds. It’s got all the tricks of the trade covered! There is also a wind-up toy museum a few steps away, the Musée des Automates, which you can buy a joint ticket for. Open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons only. Admission 9€ for adults, 7€ for kids. www.museedelamagie.com

Related: 5 Paris exhibitions you must visit this autumn

Le Musée des Arts Forains

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Paris Tourist Office courtesy of photographer Daniel Thierry

If you’ve always been tempted to run off and join the circus, or rather the travelling fairground, then this is a great place to while away a few hours! Set in the old wine halls (a historical sight in themselves) stretching over 8500m in the Pavillons de Bercy, the museum is split into five different worlds, from the Belle Epoque to the enchanting ‘Theatre du Merveilleux’ which pays tribute to the world of projections, Venitian exhibits and an extraordinary garden dubbed the ‘Théâtre de Verdure’ and the latest offering: the ‘Magic Mirror’ dating back to the 20’s. Far from the modern joy rides, it’s all about vintage carousel horses, antique mechanical games and the fairy tale atmosphere that goes along with it. Visits with reservation only call 01 43 40 16 22. Admission €16 adults, €8 kids (4-11) www.arts-forains.com

Related: 10 things you need to know about Paris

Musée de la Chasse et la Nature

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Wikipedia

In the heart of the Marais, the Musée de la Chasse et la Nature is a unique and somewhat bizarre attraction. Featuring a large collection of mounted animals, weapons and hunting equipment, as well as paintings and sculptures, it’s definitely strange and quirky although the Smithsonian magazine described it as “one of the most rewarding and inventive in Paris”! It’s worth visiting just to take a peek inside the grand Hotel de Guénégaud that has been its home since 1964. Don’t miss the owl feathered ceiling room or the odd Salon of the Dogs and its collection of collars, the unicorn alcove, the talking wall-mounted animatronic albino boar or the elk antler chair… Open Tuesday to Sunday 11-6pm. Late Wednesdays until 9.30pm. Admission €8 full rate, €6 reduced rates. www.chassenature.org

Le Musée Dupuytren 

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Not for the faint hearted, this odd and rather disturbing museum collects examples of biology gone awry. Browse the preserved specimens (if you have the stomach for it) and see all sorts of oddities from conjoined infant twins to bizarre deformed skeletons. If disease and malformations are your cup of tea, this is the place. The museum was set up in 1835 as the Museum of Pathological Anatomy of the Medicine Faculty of the University of Paris under the tutelage of the Baron Guillaume Dupuytren, a celebrated surgeon and professor. Although it shut for a time in 1937 it was reopened in 1967 and refurbished and is home to one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of specimens. Open weekdays except holidays and university vacations. www.upmc.fr

Related: 5 reasons to visit Paris' 'No Go Zones'

Musee des Egouts

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Not the obvious, but nevertheless quite interesting! The Paris Sewer Museum is a 500 m underground historical journey in the city’s sewer system, starting near the Pont de l’Alma. Find out all about the city’s past via its water cycles from ancient Lutece to modern day Paris. Fans of ‘how does it work’ will enjoy the models and machines on show. Those with sensitive noses should probably abstain. Don’t miss the plaques about Jean Valjean's journey through the tunnels in Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables," nor the shop and its selection of cuddly rat souvenirs and rat related goodies! Definitely a different way to see the city of lights. Admission €4.40. Closed Thursdays and Fridays. www.egouts.tenebres.eu

1 Le Musée de la Magie
2 Le Musée des Arts Forains
3 Musée de la Chasse et la Nature
4 Le Musée Dupuytren
5 Musee des Egouts