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Musée de la Musique and Cité de la Musique

The Cité de la Musique was designed by the architect Christian de Portzamparc and was inaugurated on 12th January 1995.

The Cité de la Musique has a concert hall that can accommodate an audience of up to 1,000 people at a time, plus it has an amphitheatre, exhibition halls, workshops and archives, not forgetting the very important music museum called the Musée de la Musique.

The Cité de la Musique was one of the grand projects that was put into place by the French President, François Mitterrand, along with the Parc de la Villette, which was designed to change the whole of the La Villette area, which used to be the slaughterhouse district!

Musee de la Musique

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Musée de la Musique and Cité de la Musique In Paris France

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 specific instrument.

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 collection.

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 musical trends.

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 the collection.

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 holidays.

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

Musée de la Musique and Cité de la Musique

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