PARIS — Temple

The 3rd arrondissement located on the right bank of the Seine River is the second smallest district. It contains the northern, relatively quiet part of the medieval district of Le Marais (The Marsh). There is a large concentration of museums in this area as well. The Temple was a medieval fortress built in the 12th century by the Knights Templar for their European headquarters. Parts of the fortress were later used as a prison for many famous people including Louis XV1, Marie Antoinette, Louis XV11 and Princess Marie-Therese. It originally included a church and a huge keep but the fortress was destroyed in 1808. The Temple métro stop now stands on the old location.

The sights found here are:
Musée National des Arts et Metiers
Le Defenseur du Temps
Musée de la Poupée
Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme
Musée de l’Histoire de France
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
Musée Picasso
The Institut Tessin
Musée Cognacq-Jay
Musée Carnavalet

Musée National des Arts et Metiers
This is a museum devoted to science, technology and invention. It was founded by Abbot Grégoire of Saint-Martin-des-Champs Abbey in 1794 and the abbey was turned into the museum you see today. The collection is unique and contains 80,000 objects and 15,000 drawings with sections on construction, materials, locomotion, computers, mobile phones and so on.
For information about the museum visit the following website at: http://www.arts-et-metiers.net

Traveller's Tip

This little gem of a museum is off the usual tourist route but it is worth spending a couple of hours here especially if you are travelling with children. There are lots of interactive displays throughout the museum to keep everyone amused.
Le Defenseur du Temps

Le Defenseur du Temps
Le Defenseur du Temps is an elaborate clock found in the Quartier de l’Horloge in Paris which is a passageway near the Centre Georges Pompidou. The clock was created by the French artist Jacques Monestier and it is self-operated. It shows a soldier battling a bird, dragon and a crab which represent air, earth and water. Every hour from 9am until 10pm he fights one of the three animals which are chosen randomly. There is an accompaniment of the sounds of wind, rumbling earth or breaking waves, depending on which animal is being fought.

Traveller's Tip

If you are here at noon, 6pm or 10pm you will see all three animals being fought at the same time.

Musée de la Poupée
If you like dolls then this is the place for you. It is a unique space where permanent and temporary exhibitions of French dolls and baby dolls dating from 1860 to 1960 are presented in window scenes in settings suitable for each period. There are also activity workshops for children from 6 to 10, drawing competitions, a doll hospital and made-to-measure clothes for modern dolls.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.museedelapoupeeparis.com

Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme
The Jewish Museum in Paris is found in the beautiful 17th century Hôtel de Saint-Aignan. The museum is arranged into rooms that travel through different historic periods to do with Jewish history and culture. Some of the highlights of this museum are the 13th century tombstones found in Paris; a wooden model of an Eastern European synagogue and the tributes to Holocaust victims.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.mahj.org

Traveller's Tip

Make sure you take the free English audio guide or if you wish there are guided tours in English. Information about the guided tours is found on the website.
  • There is a small garden attached to the museum that you can visit. You will need to use the entrance on the Impasse Berthaud which is off Rue Beaubourg and just north of Rue Rambuteau.

    Musée de l’Histoire de France
    The National Archives are found in a group of buildings comprising the Hôtel de Soubise and the Hôtel de Rohan. This centre stores all the documents and records from before 1958 (except the documents and records concerning former French colonies) as well as the archives of the French heads of state. Since 1867 it has also housed the Musée de l’Histoire de France. The archives contain documents that predate Charlemagne. Some of the highlights found here include facsimiles of a farewell letter Marie Antoinette composed just before her execution; Louis XVI’s last will and testament; documents from Danton, Robespierre and Napoleon I; a sketch of Joan of Arc which is the only one completed during her lifetime and the jailers’ keys from the Bastille. The rooms on display are also pretty special and have changed very little since the 18th century especially the Salon Ovale with its beautiful ceiling frescoes by Van Loo, Boucher, and Natoire. It is open from 2pm until 5pm every day except Tuesday and costs €6.
    To find out more about the Archives Nationales visit the website at: http://www.archivesnationales.culture.gouv.fr/chan/index.html (in French only)

    Traveller's Tip

    If you walk around the corner into the Rue des Archives at number 58 you will see the turreted medieval gateway which is all that is left of the original Hôtel de Clisson, the original building found on this site.

    Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature
    This museum is located in a private mansion built by François Mansart in the mid 17th century. This mansion is important because it is the only private mansion built by the famous architect that still exists. The museum contains collections of different types of weapons as well as paintings by Rubens, Brueghel de Velours, Desports, Chardin and Oudry amongst others. There are also many stuffed animals from Africa, America and Asia. It is open every day except Monday from 11am until 6pm and costs €6. There are free guided tours.
    For information about the museum visit the following website at: http://www.chassenature.org

    Musée Picasso
    This museum has a collection of several thousand works of Pablo Picasso. When Picasso died in 1973 many of his works went to the French Government who decided to establish a museum to house them. A 17th century hotel — the Hôtel Salé was chosen. Today there are 203 paintings, 191 sculptures, 85 ceramics, and over 3000 drawings, engravings, and manuscripts in the museum. The museum also has some works of Cézanne and Matisse. The museum is currently closed for renovation so you should check the website regularly to see when it is open again.
    For information about the museum pass visit the website at: http://www.musee-picasso.fr

    The Institut Tessin
    The Institut Tessin which is also known as the Centre Culturel Suédois is a museum dedicated to the history of Franco-Swedish artistic exchanges and is located in the Hôtel de Marle. The museum was established by Gunnar Lundberg who was an art historian and cultural advisor to Sweden’s embassy in Paris. It is operated by the Swedish Institute and is the only Swedish cultural centre located outside of Sweden. The museum contains a permanent collection of works from the 17th to the 20th century, including approximately 600 paintings and more than 5000 books, drawings, prints, sculptures and medals by Swedish artists. Here you will also find a theatre, library, cafe and studios for artists and Swedish researchers. It is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5.30pm and closed between 1pm and 2pm. On the weekends it is open from 12pm until 6pm.
    For information about the Institut Tessin visit the website at: http://www.ccs.si.se (in French and Swedish only)

    Musée Cognacq-Jay
    This museum houses collections from the founders of La Samaritaine department store, Ernest Cognacq and his wife, Louise Jay from their travels around the world. You will find the museum in the 16th century Hôtel Denon, with its Louis XV and Louis XVI panelled rooms. In the museum you will find some lovely 18th century works of art including ceramics, porcelain, delicate cabinets and paintings by Canaletto, Fragonard, Greuze, Chardin, Boucher, Watteau and Tiepolo.
    To find out more about the museum visit the following website at: http://www.paris.fr/portail/loisirs/Portal.lut?page_id=6466

    Musée Carnavalet
    This is a museum dedicated to the history of Paris. The museum occupies the two neighbouring mansions of Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. Inside there are paintings, drawings, engravings, photographs, sculptures, furniture, ceramics, decorations, models, signs, coins, souvenirs of famous characters, and archeological fragments. There are many views of Paris streets and monuments from the 16th to the 20th century as well as many portraits of those who played a part in shaping Paris’ history.
    To find out more about the museum visit the following website at: http://www.paris.fr/portail/loisirs/Portal.lut?page_id=6468