Pavillon de l'Arsenal, exterior

Pavillon de l'Arsenal

Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville

Built in 1879 as a museum, this magnificent glass-roofed building with arched wrought-iron girders wasn't actually used as one until over a century later, when it opened as a centre for Parisian urbanism and architecture. Exhibitions (30 per year) showcase the city's past, present and future. Interpretative information is in French but it's fascinating for anyone with an interest in the evolution of Paris. There's a small but excellent architectural bookshop on the ground floor.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville attractions

1. Musée de la Magie

0.18 MILES

The ancient arts of magic, optical illusion and sleight of hand are explored in this museum, in the 16th-century caves (cellars) of the Marquis de Sade’s…

2. Building Where Jim Morrison Died

0.19 MILES

Devout fans of rock star Jim Morrison can admire the elegant Hausmannian building at 17 rue Beautreillis, where the singer lived in an apartment on the…

3. Musée de la Sculpture en Plein Air


Along quai St-Bernard, this open-air sculpture museum (also known as the Jardin Tino Rossi) has more than 50 late-20th-century unfenced sculptures. It…

4. Église St-Louis en l'Île

0.23 MILES

French baroque Église St-Louis en l’Île was built between 1664 and 1726 and renovated in 2022. It hosts…

5. Hôtel de Sully

0.26 MILES

In the southwestern corner of place des Vosges, duck beneath the arch to find two beautifully decorated, late-Renaissance courtyards festooned with…

6. Institut du Monde Arabe

0.28 MILES

The Arab World Institute was jointly founded by France and 18 Middle Eastern and North African nations in 1980, with the aim of promoting cross-cultural…

7. Place du Marché Ste-Catherine

0.32 MILES

Clad with benches and shaded by trees, this pretty pedestrian square is framed on three sides by atmospheric cafe pavement terraces that are perfect for…

8. Maison de Victor Hugo

0.34 MILES

Between 1832 and 1848 the celebrated novelist and poet Victor Hugo lived in an apartment in Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée, a townhouse overlooking one of Paris'…