Unusual Paris Museums and Galleries – Musée Grévin
Before I visited the Musée Grévin in Paris, I was doubtful about enjoying a wax museum visit. But the Musée Grévin’s 450 or so wax figures soon changed my misconception of wax museums being just rooms full of emotionless wax models of significant individuals or movie stars. Amazingly, the wax figures and the scenes created at the Grévin Wax Museum draw visitors into experiencing the spirit of Paris, both of the past and present time, and before too long, we found ourselves posing with the stars, joining Hemingway for happy hour and rubbing shoulders with influential people like Barack Obama.
The Founding of Musée Grévin
The 19th century was a very eventful period in the history of Paris and naturally the people wanted to know everything that was going on. But there was no such thing as TV or cinema newsreels and so a journalist by the name of Arthur Meyer thought of making 3D wax dummies of the famous people who featured in “Le Gaulois“, his well-known daily newspaper. He asked Alfred Grevin (1827-1892) who was a talented cartoonist, sculptor, and designer of costumes for the theatre, to help him and the rest is history. The Musée Grevin became the 19th century Fox News, CNN and BBC, all rolled into one!
Like Madame Tussaud’s in London, the Musée Grevin shows waxwork figures representing, in minute and realistic detail, past and present day celebrities and politicians. They claim their waxwork of Marat is sitting in the authentic hip-bath in which he was assassinated. The museum displays 6 thematic areas with some 450 personalities, including many new celebrities.
Hall of Mirrors
One of the star attractions is the Palais des Mirages (Hall of Mirrors). This was created specially for the 1900 Universal Exhibition and after a renovation, it opened again in April 2006. The dazzling show in the Hall of Mirrors makes for an exciting start to our wax museum tour.
At the Theatre
At the “theatre lobby”, Tony spotted the stunning Penelope Cruz and he drank a toast to her. I on the other hand joined Elton John on the keyboard while Nolwenn Leroy prepares to sing. In the theatre there were many French personalities that we were not familiar with. But schmoozing around were the more familiar figures of Bruce Willis (unfortunately, not a good likeness of the star), Jackie Chan, Nicholas Cage and Charles Aznavour – you get the picture!
As we walked through various scenarios, we were introduced to the people who have either made an impact on society or are important figures in politics – at the Elysée Palace, heads of states like King Juan Carlos, Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel pose together. Noticeably absent was Francoise Holland – probably not a popular figure yet in spite of being the French President! Further on, Rodin works on a sculpture of Picasso and Dali is represented as well.
Hall of Fame
Some of the most famous works in the Grévin collection are: Albert Einstein, General Charles De Gaulle, Mahatma Gandhi, Michael Jackson, Pope John Paul II, Elvis Presley, Alfred Hitchcock, Marylyn Monroe, Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Ray Charles and Jean-Paul Gaultier, but they’re always adding someone new or switching the displays around.
History of France
The Musée Grévin is not just about movie stars and famous musicians. The highlight events in the history of France from the Middle Ages to the 19th century are told through the wax figures such as Jeanne d’Arc burning at the stake, Louis XIV and his court at Versailles, or the assassination of Henri IV. In this section you can take a unique voyage and meet the men and women who made history.
The average visit takes around 1-1.5 hours or more if you’re interested in reading the literature. It’s perfectly straightforward to visit the museum on your own, but if you want to book ahead and avoid queuing at the box office you can book online with our partner Viator here.
At the Musée Grévin you can ”Be a star for a day, able to get near famous people and discover new faces in the audacious staging that celebrates the unique atmosphere of Paris.” We did and we had fun doing it.
10 boulevard Montmartre, 75009 Paris
Bus: 20, 39, 48, 67, 74, 85
(If you are travelling on an open bus tour, get off at stop 38 in front of the Hard Rock Cafe)
Open: Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 6.30 pm (last admission at 5.30 pm). Extended hours in December.
Saturdays, Sundays, holidays and school holidays from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm (last admission at 6.00 pm)
Entry: Adult: €23.50 Children (6-14): €16.50
Discounted rate for adults (families with 3 children or more, students, unemployed persons, senior): €20.50
Discounted rate for children (families with 3 children or more, the disabled): €13.50
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