For visitors who are interested in the artistic traditions and cultural histories of Asian Art – China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam or Southeast Asia, Paris is an unusual treasure.
There are excellent museums in the capital, whose collections are partly or entirely dedicated to the arts of these nations. Although these three key museums are not enjoyed by millions of visitors each year, such as the Louvre and the Orsay Museum, they remain essential in any full study of the Parisian cultural offer. These are rich collections located in quieter areas of the city, which are rarely explored by tourists. Keep reading to learn more about what we consider to be the main highlights of these collections, and immerse yourself in fascinating and millennial artistic and cultural traditions.
Address: 6 Place d’Iéna, 75116 Paris, France
Perhaps the most significant and famous Asian Museum of Art in Paris, the Musée Guimet (National Museum of Asian Art) is a major destination for all visitors fascinated by the history of these rich traditions. Its impressive permanent collection boasts about 19,000 works of art and artifacts from greater Asia, with special collections for Japan, China, Korea, Southeast Asia and even the Himalayan arts.
Meanwhile, well-prepared temporary exhibits focus on lesser-known or less frequently discussed aspects of Asian arts and culture, such as theatrical traditions.
Address: 7 Avenue Velasquez, 75008 Paris, France
This free museum in Paris was opened in 1898 and is one of the oldest municipal museums in the capital. It houses a remarkable collection of about 900 pieces of paintings, sculptures and other artifacts from China, Japan, Vietnam and Korea. Ancient bronzes such as the Buddha of Japan depicted here, delicate fine pottery from China, burial objects and furniture and other stunning works await here. The rich Chinese collection offers a fascinating look at the artistic tradition, stretching from the Neolithic period through numerous ancient dynasties in the 7th century AD, while the Japanese collection focuses on the decorative and graphic arts of the Nippon tradition. While Korean and Vietnamese art traditions are often shortened in many collections,
The museum is located in the 8th district, next to the elegant Avenue des Champs-Elysees and the rolling neighborhoods around it.
Quai Branly Museum
Address: 37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris, France
A recent addition to the Parisian landscape of the arts, the Musee du Quai Branly was in part an idea of the late former French President Jacques Chirac. As part of its massive (and controversial) permanent exhibition, which takes visitors on a “tour” of artistic and cultural practices from the non-Western world, including Africa, Asia, Oceania and America, the museum houses an impressive and significant collection of East Asian art.
Artifacts from the Miao and Dong ethnic minorities in China, a section on Buddhist art and cultural practices and items related to the art of Japanese pattern decoration, are among just a few of the many highlights of the eclectic collection. The temporary exhibits are also worth a visit in the afternoon, and the lush gardens are idyllic for a walk in the spring and summer months.