I recently had a friend visit me in Paris for her first trip to the City of Light. Oh, where to begin? Of course there are the big Paris museums, like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, and then there’s the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, and the list goes on and on. With only a few days to experience the breadth and depth of the city, I was feeling overwhelmed about how to arrange her visit so she could truly understand the city, its history and its culture. Then I found out about Paris Story, a multimedia museum that combines all the above in an easy-to-understand format to educate any visitor about the city’s origins, architecture and evolving landscape.
Paris Story is conveniently located across the street from the Opéra Garnier and is unique in that it offers a 50-minute movie, giving the CliffsNotes version of Paris’s history over the last 2,000 years. With headphones, you can listen in 1 of 14 languages to how Lutetia transformed into present day Paris. The nearly 40-foot-wide screen displays thousands of pictures and archived images to show the city’s roots, battles and changing architecture. For those with limited time and attention, watching the movie, which is set to lovely, booming classical music, is certainly a faster (and more fun) way to learn than reading a history book.
There is also an expansive model of Paris just outside the theater where you can see and interact with elements of the city. By pushing buttons next to listings of monuments and specific time periods, you can see the exact location light up on the model and watch the transformation of the city walls over the decades.
There are even a few touch screens where you can watch videos and test your knowledge of Paris, in addition to getting information on over 156 notable locations.
Paris Story is a good first stop to orient newcomers to Paris, as it gives a nice overview of the city, its history and its landmarks.
11 bis, rue Scribe, in the 9th Arrondissement. 01 42 66 62 06.
Open daily, year-round, with movies shown at the top of each hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Adults, 10.5 euros; children, 6.30 euros; families (2 adults, 2 children), 27.30 euros
Editor’s note: What about a cute T-shirt, apron or bag with a Girls’ Guide logo as a gift to yourself for Valentine’s Day? You know the saying: if you don’t love yourself, then you can’t love anyone else!