Our top picks for the weird and wonderful museums of Paris

Friday, 30 December 2011 9:35 AM

If you are planning a short break in Paris, you are bound to want to visit at least one of the museums for which the city is famous. However, there are numerous quirky establishments for you to explore if you fancy something a little different.

To give you a few ideas about where to head once you have settled into your cheap hotels in Paris, here are six of the most unusual museums in the French capital.

One of the most breathtaking is the Musee des Arts Forains - Collection Jean-Paul FAVAND, which is dedicated to all things related to the funfair. Here you will discover one of the world's biggest collections of fairground rides, all of which have been restored and are in full working order.

Merry-go-rounds, stalls, funfair artwork and rides stand side-by-side in the museum, with some of the attractions dating back as far as 1850.

Another place you might want to explore on a weekend trip to Paris is the Musee Francais de la Carte jouer - or the playing card museum.

Initially, you may not think there is that much to the humble pack of cards, but when you see the intricate designs on some of the display items, you are sure to understand their artistic value.

As well as admiring the cards themselves, you can also learn more about famous card players and magicians who use cards to perform all manner of illusions.

Next on your list could be the Musee de Fumeur, which is dedicated to all things smoking and tobacco related. Smoking has been a habit in societies for hundreds of years and viewing exhibits of various snuff boxes and pipes can be fascinating.

Meanwhile, the establishment is also home to a plantarium, where a selection of plants have been grown especially for smoking. This can help you understand more about where tobacco comes from.

You can also pick up all manner of books and comics about smoking from the bookshop in the museum, including legal documents relating to the habit and the tobacco industry as a whole.

If you're feeling a little peckish after a morning browsing some of Paris's more unusual museums, you may want to head to the Choco-Story - Le musee gourmand du chocolat.

As the name suggests, this museum relates to all things chocolate, from the origins of cocoa right through to manufacturing techniques for the sweet treat.

Chocoholics are bound to be in their element and you may be surprised to learn the history of chocolate goes back as far as 4,000 years. Spanning three levels, there is plenty to see in the establishment, with more than 1,000 items relating to the subject on display.

Another museum with a bizarre subject matter is L'Adresse Musee de La Poste, which focuses on the French postal service, with exhibits showing how it has evolved from its beginning in the Middle Ages to the present day.

Uniforms, stamps, postal road maps and mail art are among the quirky things you will find being showcased in the establishment.

Finally, you could round off your short break in Paris with a visit to Musee de la Federation Francaise de Tennis.

Located at Roland Garros, home of the French Open, you will find a multimedia exhibition about French tennis, with old match reports to read, films of some of the greatest tennis matches and photographs and paintings relating to the sport.

You can combine a visit to the museum with a tour of the stadium if you are keen to see the clay where many of the most famous players have served over the years.

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