This fantastic project has become the place in Paris for finding
information about musical instruments, composers and their music, the heritage of
different instruments, plus a place for experiencing different types of music from folk to
jazz, percussion to orchestra's and gives the public a place in which to learn music or a
The Cité de la Musique and the Musée de la Musique can be found within the La Villette
quarter in the 19th Arrondissement of Paris, France.
The 1795 Convention made provisions for the building of a collection of ancient and
foreign instruments and the first directors intended to exhibit it to the public, but
unfortunately, there are only a few badly damaged musical instruments such as violins that
have survived from the original collection and it was not until 1860 that a musical
instrument museum was opened when the French State purchased the Antione-Louis Clapisson's
But in 1993 the collection was taken back from the State and entrusted to the Cité de la
Musique, which was the beginning of the new museum and the museum first opened its doors
in the summer of 1995, which was a few months after the main building was inaugurated.
The Musée de la Musique has one of the largest collections of instruments and musical
heritage within the world and is dedicated to the years from the 16th century right up
until the present day and covers all types of music.
You will be able to see lots of different types of instruments, such as cornets from the
16th century, harpsicords, a Stradivarius violin, French pianos and numerous stringed
instruments all dating from the 17th century onwards. There are also sections that
include instruments such as accordions, guitars, saxaphones and instruments by Adolphe Sax
himself along with world instruments from places like Africa.
There is also a documentation centre, which is an essential part of the Musée de la
Musique as it has the tasks of collecting and organising information on the museums
collections and other collections of musical instruments throughout the world. Plus
it puts together reports on all the main instrument makers, including putting a guide
price to their instruments for the major sales. Quite incredibly, this documentation
can be viewed by the public for free within the mezzanine area of the Cité de la
Musique's library and there are over a thousand technical drawings of different
instruments, plus lots of old musical recordings.
The documentation centre also possesses a large collection of international works and
journals on instrument making, organology and acoustic music, plus an incredible
collection of original archives of French instrument makers, but these archives can only
be viewed by researchers via appointment.
The permanent exhibition has over 800 musical instruments on display but has thousands of
instruments in its collection along with paintings, sculptures and other works that have
been inspired by music.
There are temporary exhibitions, which are within the contemporary gallery and take on a
different theme each time, and widens your whole musical experience by showing different
But the Musée de la Musique is really brought to life by the presence of the resident
musicians who act as guides and will demonstrate some of the instruments on display, plus
concerts are also hosted within the auditorium actually using the musical instruments from
However, rather than a guided tour, you can also take a tour on your own and they have
headsets with audio in different languages to help you understand the exhibits, which are
presented in chronological order.
The Musée de la Musique offers a wide variety of guided tours that range from the
amateurs to the semi-professional, from children of different ages through to workshop
tours and tours specifically designed for the disabled.
There are even workshops for the children that involve them making their own instrument
that they can take away with them and when we last sorted this out it was only 5 Euros!
This is an incredible place and anyone that has even the slightest interest in music will
just love it and for those that already have the passion, you can be sure that this museum
will enhance that love even further.
Within the Cité de la Musique complex, there is a bookshop, gift shop, a restaurant and
an underground car park.
The Musée de la Musique is open from a Tuesday to Saturday from 12 noon through to 6pm
and from 1pm through to 6pm on a Sunday. It is closed on a Monday and on national
The media library is open at the same times as the museum and the gift shop also has the
same times unless there is a concert being performed, when it will stay open until 8pm.
Address & Contact Details:
Cité de la Musique
221 Avenue Jean-Jaurès
Telephone: 44 84 44 84