The Musée Cernuschi is in one of Paris’ richest areas, in the north overlooking the Parc Monceau.
Specialising in art from the Far East, it was founded in 1898 after being donated to the city in Henri Cernuschi’s will. It’s the second most important Asian art museum in France (after Guimet, that we also visited for your a few years back), and the building is as impressive as the collections…
Read on for our report.
Even before arriving at the museum, you know you’re somewhere special. The private street it’s on has a crazy black and gold metal entrance, and the architecture of the building itself is rather stately.
The permanent collection is free (the museum belongs to the Paris council), and the magnificent staircase leads you up to it.
We have to admit we don’t know much about Asian art, but each piece is well presented, first of all around the staircase, and then in a succession of small adjoining rooms with impressively high ceilings.
Then you enter the huge, central room, full of natural light. We’d been told the museum had a big Buddha, but we weren’t prepared for exactly how big it is…
Over 4 metres high and made of dark bronze, it towers over the room (especially as it’s presented on a high base) and looks absolutely enormous despite the fact that there must be 12 metres up to the ceiling here. Incredible!
Apparently it comes from Japan, from a temple that burned down, and it was outside in the open air when Cernuschi bought it in 1896.
Other pieces are on show in this room too – in front of the Buddha, behind it on the mezzanine, in a smaller room next door on two different levels…
Some pieces are suprisingly colourful, others could even be called cute! And not everything is hundreds of years old – a few modern pieces are also displayed. Reading all the descriptions would take anyone quite a while…
The museum’s temporary exhibitions (which you have to pay to enter) are also worthwhile. We very much enjoyed Japan through the seasons.
If you liek Asian art then this museum is essential, no question, but even if you thing you don’t, prepare to be surprised. And that Buddha! Wow!…
The Musée Cernuschi (here) is open from Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 6pm (last ticket 5.30pm)
Closed Mondays and public holidays
Entrance to the permanent collection is free
Official site: cernuschi.paris.fr