Musée National des Douanes

Museum in Saint-Pierre, Saint-Paul & the Triangle d'Or

This unusual museum explores the role of French customs from modern day to the 1730s when the magnificent Hôtel des Fermes du Roy (1735–38) was built on place de la Bourse to house the Ferme Générale, responsible for levying taxes on merchandise and collecting taxes for the king. Uniformed customs officer staff the museum and wildly contrasting and curious exhibits traverse antiquity to the 19th century: think scale models, uniforms, measuring instruments, opium pipes and impounded ostrich eggs.

Customs-themed art works displayed include Monet's Cabane des douaniers, effet d'après-midi (1882) and Rien à déclarer (Nothing to Declare) by contemporary French artist Ben. A 1½-hour audioguide (€2) provides ample background information.