Nearly a thousand musical instruments and works of art are on display at the attractive and informative music museum in the Parc de la Villette in Paris. The permanent exposition covers the two hundred years from the beginning of the 17th century to the end of the 19th.
At the entrance to the museum you can pick up an audio guide, which is included in the cost of admission. You have your choice of French or English, but you have to decide on one or the other; there’s no way to switch languages once you are inside.
(No photography was allowed in the museum itself; sorry about that.)
The audio guides include not only spoken explanations, but also recordings of the various historical instruments on display. They are configured to turn on as soon as you enter a new room or approach a new exhibit, so you don’t have to type in a number to get the proper recording. As you listen, you can walk around within a narrow radius to look at the various instruments that are on display, but if you stray too far you will lose the signal.
Although the permanent exhibition is devoted mainly to the history of classical music, the temporary exhibits can be about music of any kind. When I was there they had an exhibition on John Lennon entitled “Unfinished Music”, dealing with his life and work in the 1970s after the breakup of the Beatles.
Usually you could just buy a ticket at the entrance, but because of the coronavirus pandemic it is now advisable to book online and reserve a time slot.
My photos in this post are from 2006. I revised the text in 2020.