This museum was created by Arthur Meyer in 1882, almost 50 years after Madame Tussaud's in London (which, for the record, was opened by a native of Strasbourg who was married to an Englishman.) It responded to a real demand from a public that, in the days before photographs appeared in newspapers, wanted to recognise the well-known figures of the day. Alfred Grévin, caricaturist, theatrical costume designer and sculptor, was the natural choice to give life to the waxworks.
Housed in the charming hôtel particulier that was once home to the painter, Ary Scheffer, this museum displays memorabilia and works of art associated with two great figures of the 19th century: Ary Scheffer himself and the writer George Sand. The main house is dedicated to the day-to-day life of George Sand, while across the courtyard stands the studio where Ary Scheffer worked from 1830 to 1858. The museum sheds light on the life and work of the romantics, and there are temporary exhibitions on related themes. In the garden, the Jardin de Varenne cafeteria is a lovely place to relax on fine days.
The painter, Gustave Moreau (1826-1898) was famous for his allegorical and mythological subjects, and a master of symbolism. He extended his house in the heart of the New Athens to make room for large studios, while maintaining the intimate character of his apartments on the first floor. Bequeathed to the State, along with the artist's collection, it became a museum in 1902.
Worth knowing : like all national museums, entry is free on the first Sunday of each month.
The Museum of the Great Orient retraces freemasonry from its beginnings in the British Iles to its development in France and continental Europe. Through collections of faïence pottery, jewellery, banners and displays showing the rituals around the world, you'll learn about the daily life of a lodge. Guided visits are also arranged, explaining the motives of freemasonry, its quest for progress and the improvement of the individual and society.
The Musée du Parfum, opened in 1983 by Maison Fragonard, is situated close to the Opera in a fine Napoleon III hôtel particulier built in 1860. The original period decor sets off a vast collection of objects, leading you on a journey through the world of perfume. Downstairs, you'll find a shop selling at factory prices.