|National Archaeology Museum, France
|Housed in a beautiful château, this fascinating museum is worth a trip from Paris.
While exploring the museums of Paris, I was a bit surprised that there wasn't an archaeology museum. France certainly has a long history.
Then I discovered that the Musée d'Archeologie National is in fact located just outside of Paris, in the small town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. So we hopped on the RER A and went to visit. Part of what makes the museum special is its location in the lovely Château Vieux.
The château has a long history itself, making it an appropriate place for an archaeology museum. The town was founded in the 11th century, and the château has been home or host to various kings and royalty.
First built in the 14th century under King Charles V, it was later rebuilt by François I, king of France from 1515 to 1547. François I loved châteaux and was also instrumental in the building of châteaux in Amboise, Blois, and Chambord, all in the Loire Valley.
The future King Louis XIV was born in the château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in 1638.
The château is only a couple minute walk from the RER station, and just behind the church. The museum is large—after all, it covers thousands of years! It's a wonderful building to explore, and the exhibits are interesting and diverse.
You'll see artifacts from prehistoric times and various eras of history. The museum traces humankind in France from the beginning of time until the Middle Ages. It displays almost 30,000 artifacts!
Although some of the rooms are plain, others remind you that you are walking through a royal château. At the far end of the vaulted hall shown below, you can see the salamander, symbol of François I, over the fireplace.
Paris Museum Pass accepted.
Open 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM; closed Tuesdays
RER: Line A-1 to Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Musée d'Archaeologie Nationale