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10 Fun Museums to Visit in France
A closer look 06 Jul 2020

10 Fun Museums to Visit in France

The exhibition «Dreamed Japan, Images of the Floating World» at L’ Atelier des Lumières in Paris

Which of these fun museums will you visit this summer? From Outsider Art to spontaneous architecture, art has the ability to constantly reinvent itself. Are you excited to dive back into the cultural world but have no idea where to start? Let Artsper take you off the beaten track to visit 10 unusual and fun museums. Discover that ‘museum’ does not always mean fine art and white walls, thanks to these outdoor exhibits and fantastical atmospheres. These museums all have something in common: they are definitely out of the ordinary. Enjoy your visit!

Le Musée des Miniatures et Décors de Cinéma in Lyon

an unusual and fun museum full of miniature art

Whether you are a cinephile or simply intrigued by the secrets held by more than a hundred miniature scenes, Le Musée des Miniatures et Décors de Cinéma (Cinema and Miniature Museum) is definitely the place to visit. Unique to France, this fun museum in Lyon presents minuscule, yet incredibly realistic scenes. Whilst the majority of the museum’s miniature collection is the work of artist Dan Ohlmann, the museum is now open to miniature art from all over the world. The American director Wes Anderson even displayed the sets he used for his film ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ in 2016. 

Le Musée International des Arts Modestes in Sète

a naive art and outsider art museum in France

Nicknamed the MIAM in French, this museum in Sète in south-eastern France gathers artefacts of so-called ‘Modest Art’. Between Outsider Art, amateur art, and Naive Art, Modest Art has an interesting combination of influences: self-made or manufactured toys, posters, and even party decorations. On their own, these trinkets are not necessarily all that inspiring but, when part of a thoughtfully curated collection, they become an ode to freedom and innocence in art. A fun art museum to see right away to be entertained, to question your ideas, and discover another facet of art.

La Maison Picassiette in Chartres

The story of the La Maison Picassiette begins with Raymond Isidore, a man of humble origins, who decided to collect debris of mosaic pieces, plates, and rocks every day to decorate his house. About a century later, his house, nicknamed ‘Picassiette’ is a masterpiece of spontaneous art and architecture. This fun art museum is a unique place in France, testifying to the creativity of its builder. Every room, piece of furniture, ceiling, and wall is covered in multicoloured fragments, creating stunning results, indoors and out.

L’Atelier des Lumières in Paris

A fun museum in Paris
The exhibition «Journeys around the Mediterranean» at L’Atelier des Lumières in Paris

Do you ever feel like you want to dive right into your favourite piece of art? Now it’s possible at L’Atelier des Lumières, undoubtedly one of the most fun museums in Paris! Located in the heart of the 11th arrondissement, it is the very first digital art centre in Paris. After their impressive exhibition dedicated to the works of Van Gogh, they are now showing until January 2021 an exhibition that will transport you to the Mediterranean through the works of Chagall, Monet, and Renoir. An interactive visit which explores the famous movements of the 20th century, from Impressionism to Fauvism.

La Fabuloserie in Dicy

a fun museum full of naive art

In 1983, the architect Alain Bourbonnais decided to open a playful museum to show off his unique artistic vision to the public. Passionate about Outsider Art (known as ‘Art Brut’ in French), he exhibits what he calls his ‘Maison-musée’ (or ‘House-museum’). It features a collection of artworks by spontaneous and self-taught artists, as well as some of his own works. You can also find outdoor sculptures in the ‘Jardin habité’ (or ‘Inhabited garden’). La Fabuloserie is a quirky place to visit, with unusual and amusing objects concealed in every corner.

Le Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval in Hauterives

As its name suggests, the concept behind the Le Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval (literally meaning: ‘The Postman’s Ideal Palace’) is a very original story. A news item that resulted in the creation of an architectural masterpiece! Ferdinand Cheval, an ordinary postman, spent 33 years of his life constructing, all by himself, his ‘ideal palace’. Full of fantastical figures and designs, the palace is considered part of the Naive art movement; its creator did not intend to make it an artwork, let alone a museum. This construction, devoid of any rules and architectural logic is nowadays classified as a historical monument!

Le Musée du Fumeur in Paris

a fun museum in paris

The French are often known for their love of tobacco. It is therefore not surprising that you can find a museum dedicated to smokers in France. Tucked away by the Père Lachaise cemetery, this original little museum will teach you about this ancient practice. Through a variety of artworks such as paintings, photographs of famous smokers, and even advertising campaigns by Alphonse Mucha, Le Musée du Fumeur is an unusual and amusing place. You will be able to expand your cultural knowledge through eccentric works from all eras!

Les Bassins de Lumières in Bordeaux

a fun museum in Bordeaux
The Klimt exhibition at Les Bassins de Lumières in Bordeaux

Following in the footsteps of L’Atelier des Lumières in Paris, Les Bassins de Lumières in Bordeaux has an additional feature that makes this place even more unusual; the museum is built in an underwater submarine base. Therefore, visitors can move around between the artworks as well as four huge pools of water. Each pool is 110 x 22 metres in size, which gives the impression that part of the exhibit is underwater. The artworks, projected on the walls of each room, are therefore reflected on the surface of the water. This creates an immersive experience that will take your breath away!

Le Musée de l’Insolite in Cabreret

a fun outdoors museum

As its name suggests, ‘Le Musée de l’Insolite’ or ‘Museum of the Unusual’ in English, brings together in one place all the eccentric items that its creator has collected over the years. The result? A museum almost exclusively outdoors, in the heart of the Célé Valley, a location reminiscent of fairytales! Therefore, Le Musée de l’Insolite is definitely not like other museums; it combines nature and art, in the most original way possible.

La Maison de Pierre Loti in Rochefort

The last of our fun museums to see right away is the house of famous writer Pierre Loti, which is now a historical monument! Passionate about travel and discovery, Pierre Loti loved to gather souvenirs from each of his destinations. Additionally, he liked to remember his trips by recreating the characteristic atmosphere of each place. Thus, some rooms will take you to Japan, China or even Turkey. He even turned one of his rooms into a Mosque! Ready to discover the multicultural universe of Pierre Loti?

If you were still unsure of where to head for your latest cultural outing, we hope we managed to offer you some inspiration on how to navigate the extraordinary world of art! Whether you’re looking for an enchanting atmosphere such as at Le Musée de l’Insolite or a technological discovery like at L’Atelier des Lumières, you are sure to find a fun and original way to learn… So, which of these 10 fun museums is at the top of your list?