This architecture museum traces its history back to the year 1795, but in its current form it didn’t open until 2007 in the east wing of the Palais de Chaillot.
I must admit I can’t help feeling suspicious when a museum insists on calling itself a “Cité” rather than just a museum. If I have understood correctly, the word “Cité” is meant to imply that this is more than just another museum, but rather a dynamic place teeming with creative activity.
As a casual museum visitor, I didn’t notice much in the way of dynamism or creative activity here at the Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine, not nearly as much as at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, for example.
My lead photo at the top of this post shows a girl at the entrance to the Cité, with reflections of older buildings in the upper window.
The first several rooms of the museum are very impressive, consisting of full-size plaster casts of famous French buildings. (I had never heard of any of these buildings, but that doesn’t make them any less famous, does it?)
The historical collections continue on the ground floor.
This model of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées is on the second floor, in a section devoted mainly to 20th and 21st century architecture.
I thought these two pictures looked familiar, and in fact they turned out to be reproductions of frescos from the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, which I had visited three months before.
Besides the Cité de architecture et du Patrimoine, I can think of only two other museums in Paris that still use the word “Cité” in their name. The other two are the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie and the Cité de la musique, which are both in the Parc de la Villette in the northeast corner of Paris.
The National Museum of the History of Immigration also called itself a Cité from 2007 to 2013, but then their consumer research revealed that the word Cité was confusing and off-putting to potential museum visitors, so instead of being a Cité they are now a Musée like most of the other 148 museums in Paris.
My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2018.
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