Nestled on the banks of the Seine, a few steps from the Eiffel Tower, the Musée du Quai Branly is one of the largest museums in Europe dedicated to ethnography and tribal art. Designed by architect Jean Nouvel and inaugurated in 2006, the museum exhibits more than 300,000 objects from African, Asian, Oceanian and American cultures, ranging from prehistory to the present day.
An invitation to explore the cultural diversity of the world.
Follow the guide!
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Paris? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the capital. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Are you looking for a hotel in Paris? Feel free to take a look at the Captain’s article: Where to sleep in Paris ? Advice & recommendations
A short history of the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
Inaugurated in 2006, the Musée du Quai Branly was created on the initiative of Jacques Chirac, President of the Republic from 1995 to 2007 and a lover of “primitive arts”.
The idea of creating a museum dedicated to the arts and cultures of indigenous peoples and non-Western civilizations had been brought to the attention of Jacques Chirac, then Mayor of Paris, a few years earlier, and Chirac had made the creation of this museum one of his priorities during his term of office.
In 1999, a major international competition was launched to select the architect who would design the museum. Jean Nouvel – who would later design the Philharmonie de Paris, the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum and the Qatar National Museum in Doha – won the competition.
The Quai Branly Museum is now considered one of the most important museums in Paris and welcomes millions of visitors from all over the world every year.
Visiting the Musée du Quai Branly
Located on the banks of the Seine, the Musée du Quai Branly – also known as the Musée Jacques Chirac – is entirely devoted to the art and culture of indigenous peoples and non-Western civilizations. It features a collection of over 300,000 art objects and cultural artifacts. The museum is also known for its high quality temporary exhibitions.
The architecture of the Quai Branly Museum
Designed by Jean Nouvel, the Musée du Quai Branly’s architecture is undeniably striking.
Located on the banks of the Seine, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, the museum consists of four buildings, including a main building where the permanent and temporary collections are housed: the “pont-musée” (=”bridge-museum”). This huge metal building echoes the architecture of the neighboring Eiffel Tower. It is flanked by three other buildings: the Bâtiment Université (= University Building), which houses a bookstore, the Bâtiment Branly (= Branly Building), which houses the museum’s administrative services, and the Auvent (= canopy), which houses a media library and the museum’s reserves.
The Musée du Quai Branly is also famous for its immense garden of 17,500 m2. Designed by landscape architect Gilles Clément, it is organized around paths, hills and small ponds inspiring visitors to stroll about and meditate.
One of the facades of the museum overlooking the Quai Branly is also covered with an incomparable plant wall measuring no less than 1,022 square meters / 1,222 square yards and comprising 15,000 plants of 376 different species.
In short, the architecture of the Musée du Quai Branly is as much worth a visit as its impressive collections. The space was designed to be in harmony with the collections presented inside the museum.
How is the Musée du Quai Branly organized?
The Quai Branly Museum is organized around four major collections that echo the continents: the African collection, the Asian collection, the Oceanian collection and the American collection.
Each collection is divided into different sections that present the art objects and cultures of indigenous peoples and non-western civilizations.
Different galleries also host temporary thematic exhibitions.
- The African collections: they are divided into 5 large sections dedicated to North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa.
- The Asian collections: they are divided into two large sections dedicated to India and Indonesia.
- The Oceanian collections: they are divided into three large sections dedicated to Oceanic Indonesia, Papua and Australia.
- The American collections: they are divided into three large sections dedicated to North America, Mesoamerica and South America.
The works and artifacts exhibited at the Musée du Quai Branly
The Quai Branly Museum houses a collection of more than 300,000 art and cultural objects from every continent: masks, jewelry, tapestries, statues, everyday objects (bowls, etc.), etc.
Temporary exhibitions at the Musée du Quai Branly
The Musée du Quai Branly is also famous for its impressive temporary thematic exhibitions. Approximately 40% of the museum’s surface is dedicated to temporary exhibitions. There are about ten of them per year on various and varied themes.
For example, the Quai Branly Museum has in the past presented exhibitions dedicated to the Samurai, Patagonia, Native Forests, Madagascar, Asian ghosts and tattooing.
Getting to the Musée du Quai Branly
Nestled in the 7th arrondissement, the Musée du Quai Branly is located on the banks of the Seine, near the Eiffel Tower and the Musée d’Orsay.
The museum is easily accessible by public transport:
- Metro: the nearest metro stations are “Alma-Marceau” and “Iéna”, on line 9.
- Bus: several bus lines stop near the Quai Branly Museum, notably lines 42, 63, 72, 80, 83 and 93.
- Vélib’ : it is also possible to go to the Quai Branly Museum by Vélib’, the self-service bicycle system of the city of Paris. You will find several Velib’ stations near the museum.
Hop-on hop-off bus tours also stop near the museum.
Good to know: the museum is accessible to disabled visitors thanks to an elevator and an inclined plane.
Opening times of the Musée du Quai Branly
The Musée du Quai Branly is open every day of the year except on Mondays:
- Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10:30 am to 7 pm (last entry at 6 pm)
- Thursday from 10:30 am to 10 pm (last entry at 9 pm)
The admission ticket includes access to the museum’s temporary and permanent collections. It is available at the price of 12 euros in full price, 9 euros in reduced price.
You can also visit the Musée du Quai Branly for free on the first Sunday of each month, but it is recommended to get there early as the lines can be long.
⚠️ Be warned, the Musée du Quai Branly is a victim of its own success. Captain Ulysses strongly recommends you to book your ticket in advance to be sure to visit the museum.
More info: ticket to the Musée du Quai Branly.
💡The Captain’s tip: access to the Quai Branly Museum is also included in the Museum Pass. It provides direct access to more than 60 museums and monuments in Paris, including the Louvre Museum, the Musée d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou.
More information: Paris Museum Pass
👉 Skip the lines in Paris: book your tickets and tours in advance!
👉 Looking for advice and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: Looking for an accommodation in Paris? Good news: there are plenty of options in the French capital. To book your hotel in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends the website Booking.com. From cheap hostels to luxury palaces, you’ll have plenty of options to chose from. As for the localisation, it depends both on your budget and on what you’re looking for. If you can’t afford staying in the most expensive areas of the capital, the Captain recommends that you look for a hotel in the 12th or 13th arrondissements: they’re not as central, but are very well connected to the centre of Paris. The Buttes au Cailles, which looks just like a small village, is one of the Captain’s favourite neighbourhoods in Paris. If you’d rather stay in a chic and sophisticated hotel, here are the best 3 options according to the Captain: the St. James , the Dokhan’s and the Metropolitan .
🎟️ Activities : in order to book skip-the-line tickets, tours and activities in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends GetYourGuide and Civitatis. Guided tours, entrance tickets, cruises, unusual activities: there’s plenty to chose from. If you want to avoid queuing to get into museums and monuments, the Captain suggests opting for skip-the-line tickets.
⛵ City cruises: Can you really visit Paris without going on a cruise on the Seine? The Captain loves sailing on the river and admiring the emblematic monuments of the French capital, especially at nightfall. You will find a large selection of cruises in Paris here.
🎫 City cards : If you’re planning on staying in Paris for a few days, you should definitely consider investing in a city card giving access to the capital’s top museums and landmarks. which includes access to the most famous monuments in Paris.
🚐 Transfers: the parisian airports are located outside the city and getting to the city centre can be quite expensive.
If your budget is tight, the Captain recommends the RATP shuttles that will drop you off at Opera if you’re coming from Roissy airport and at Denfert-Rochereau if you’re coming from Orly airport.
But for a few extra euros, you can book a transfer that will take you directly to your hotel.
If you are traveling in a group, this option is all the more interesting. Find out more here.
🚌 Transports: While you’ll be able to explore part of the city on foot, you will have to use the parisian public transports to explore some of the capital’s landmarks. In order to avoid accumulating (and losing) metro tickets, the Captain recommends opting for an unlimited transport pass. You can buy it directly at in any metro station.
Open tour buses (audioguides included) are also a good option.
If you’d rather explore Paris on a boat, you will love the batobus, a river shuttle on the Seine !
✈️ Flights, trains & buses : Good news: getting to Paris is quite easy! If you’re planning on flying to the capital, the Captain recommends Skyscanner, an online comparator which is perfect for finding the best deals. If your dates are flexible, you can even compare prices over several weeks. Paris is also easily accessible by train and bus. To book your tickets, the Captain highly recommends Omio, which integrates the offer of 207 train and bus companies in 44 countries.
Timothy Brown | Wikimedia Commons
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