The Grévin Museum is the sixth museum in Paris featured on my blog after I’ve written guides about the Louvre Museum, the Orsay Museum, the Gallery of Evolution, the Orangerie Museum, and the Centre Pompidou. This wax museum is located in Boulevard Montmartre, one of the so-called Grands Boulevards of the French capital.
With about 200 celebrity figures on display, the Grévin Museum is the ideal attraction to visit with family or friends on a day in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. And if you’re looking for more activities in the area, you can complement your day with a visit to the Ópera Garnier, Galeries Lafayette, Musée de la Vie Romantique, or the Musée National Gustave Moreau.
So, do you want to know more about the Grévin Museum: Best Tips For Visiting In 2024? Keep reading!
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Brief History of the Grévin Museum
The Musée Grévin was opened on June 5th, 1882 by Arthur Meyer, director of the former French daily newspaper Le Gaulois. Its name is a tribute to Alfred Grévin, the renowned caricaturist, sculptor, humor cartoonist, and costume designer, who collaborated both in Arthur Meyer‘s newspaper and in the foundation of the museum (the latter, as its artistic director).
As photography at that time was still little used in the press, Arthur Meyer decided to create a space where the public could “get to know” the personalities that appeared in his newspaper. The first set of wax mannequins was sculpted by Alfred Grévin and financing for the project came from Gabriel Thomas, who also promoted the construction of the Eiffel Tower and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
Although the pioneer Madame Tussauds had already caused quite a stir in London since its inauguration in 1835, the Grévin Museum turned out to be one of the oldest, most innovative, and most popular wax museums in Europe. Currently, it has a branch in Seoul (South Korea), operating since 2015.
Interestingly, the exit of the Grévin Museum is located inside the Passage Jouffroy, one of the many covered passages in Paris. This shopping gallery was the first to be built entirely in metal and glass, using wood only for its decorative elements.
What to See at the Grévin Museum
What distinguishes the Grévin Museum from other wax museums is the perfectionist recreation of certain historical scenes, such as the murder of Jean-Paul Marat, one of the most striking events of the French Revolution. Did you know that the museum bought the original bathtub where the radical and political journalist was stabbed? You can still see it on display these days!
Other strengths of the museum are spaces such as the Théâtre Grévin and the Hall of Mirrors, both added by Gabriel Thomas in 1900 and 1906, respectively. The small Parisian theater with just over 200 seats was used for shows of magic and illusionism in the first decades of its existence. Now, it’s occasionally used for small shows, recitals, conventions, and exhibitions.
There are many exhibition rooms and galleries throughout the various floors of the Grévin Museum, but its collection of wax figures is divided into “universes”:
- Étoiles du cinéma (Film stars)
- Figures de l’Histoire (Historical characters)
- Héros de fiction (Fictional characters)
- Icônes de la mode (Icons of fashion)
- Idoles de la musique (Music icons)
- Légendes du sport (Sports stars)
- Les Grands Chefs (The Great Chefs)
- Les Stars du petit écran (French celebrities)
- Nouvelles Expériences (New Experiences)
- Nouvelles stars (New Stars)
- Politiques et decideurs (Politicians and decision makers)
- Rois de l’humour (Famous comedians)
Politicians and decision-makers (Ground Floor, Room 8)
One of the most popular sections of the Grévin Museum is called “Politiques et décideurs” and includes heads of state, royalty, and men of faith.
In this room, the Palais de l’Élysée (the official residence of the French President of the Republic) was recreated, including the gardens and the office of Emmanuel Macron.
Among the great world leaders on display, you’ll find figures such as Pope Francis, Mohammed VI (the King of Morocco), Angela Merkel, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth II, Stéphane Bern (President of the museum) and Nicolas Sarkozy (alongside his wife, the model, and singer Carla Bruni).
Historical Characters (Floor -1, Room 10)
This room at the Grévin Museum is, in fact, a very long gallery where the historical characters are exposed in chronological order. Access to this floor is made through a section called “Machine à remonter le temps” (“Time Machine”), which includes Nostradamus, Albert Einstein, and the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
Then there is a grotto (in reference to Prehistory) and a medieval cloister (in an allusion to the Middle Ages). In the latter, you find the first kings of present-day France, belonging to the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties.
The “journey” through the History of France and Europe continues with wax mannequins by Joan of Arc, Leonardo da Vinci, Louis XIV, Voltaire, and Napoleon Bonaparte, among many others.
Artists from the 19th and 20th centuries have a special section in the final stretch of this gallery, featuring names like Victor Hugo, Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Marcel Proust, just to exemplify. Finally, it’s possible to observe notable personalities such as Charles de Gaulle, Gandhi, John Paul II, and Nelson Mandela.
Sports Stars (Floor -1, Room 12)
The “Légends du sport” area is one of the most difficult to photograph due to the large volume of visitors that concentrate here.
After all, everyone wants to pose alongside stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Pelé, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, or Kylian Mbappé, especially the younger ones!
However, this room is not just for football players – although the vast majority are French athletes. This is the case of Tony Parker (former basketball player), Teddy Riner (Olympic and world champion in judo), Renaud Lavillenie (Olympic and world champion in pole vault), Camille Lacourt (former world champion in swimming), Martin Fourcade (Olympic and world biathlon champion) and Sébastien Chabal (former rugby player).
Music Icons (Floor -1, Room 13)
The Idoles de la musique room was one of my favorites because it resembles a giant recording studio. Here, the wax mannequins honor several international stars and, of course, the most legendary singers of French nationality.
As for foreign artists, the most famous are Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Madonna, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Phil Collins, Elton John, Mick Jagger, and Michael Jackson (this last one with two statues).
Interestingly, wax statues of some of the most important opera singers of the last century were also created, such as the ones for Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, Cecilia Bartoli, and French tenor Roberto Alagna.
Among the group of French artists, the main attraction is undoubtedly Édith Piaf. She’s joined by other names that, unfortunately, have also left us: Claude François, Henri Salvador, and Johnny Hallyday. But in recent years, wax figures of current representatives of French music (and music sang in French) have been added, such as Nolwenn Leroy, Kendji Girac, Julien Clerc, Marc Lavoine, and the Belgian Stromae.
Icons of fashion (Ground Floor, The Dome)
The room where the “Icônes de la mode” are located is known as “La Coupole” (that is, “The Dome”).
This circular space is richly decorated with Baroque elements and motifs, with emphasis on the Venetian mosaics and the marble columns.
Among the various supermodels and catwalk stars on display, the creations of Coco Rocha, Cara Delevingne, Angela Lindvall, and Naomi Campbell stand out.
As for famous fashion designers, you can take photographs with names like Coco Chanel, Chantal Thomas, Christian Dior, and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Movie Stars (Ground Floor, Hall of Columns)
The “Étoiles du cinéma” are scattered throughout the Salle des Colonnes, the last exhibition space before the exit of the Grévin Museum.
And just like in the previous room, the Hall of Columns is complemented by a sumptuous Baroque decoration, worthy of a “royal palace”.
Here, the vast majority of celebrities represented are Hollywood stars, as is the case with the actresses Meryl Streep, Scarlett Johansson, and Marilyn Monroe and the actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Charlie Chaplin, Nicholas Cage, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
In this section, you can also admire the statue of the director Alfred Hitchcock, as well as the Bollywood stars Ranveer Singh and Shah Rukh Khan.
Practical Guide to the Grévin Museum
The Grévin Museum is very well located, so I think it won’t be a problem to find it during a walk through the 9ème arrondissement. In addition, the museum is easily accessible if you choose to travel around Paris by metro (lines 8 and 9, “Grands Boulevards” station; line 3, “Bourse” station) and bus (lines 20, 74, and 85, “Grands Boulevards” stop).
1. Decide between Dated and Non-Dated Tickets
If you already know the date of your visit to the Grévin Museum, you can buy the ticket up to three days in advance. Dated ticket prices start at €20 (over 16 years old) or €16 (children between 5 and 15 years old). On the other hand, if you prefer a ticket without a specific date, the price is a bit more expensive: €25 (adults) or €18.50 (children).
The Grévin Museum has also thought of a more affordable alternative for those traveling with family. In this case, the ticket is non-dated and costs €17 per person. However, the offer is valid for only four people (maximum of two adults).
2. Choose the Best Day
The Grévin Museum is open every day (except Sundays), from 9 am to 5 pm. And the fact that it’s open on Mondays and Tuesdays is very useful since the vast majority of museums, monuments, and other attractions close on one of these days of the week.
3. End your Visit at the Hard Rock Café
The Hard Rock Café in Paris is right next to the Grévin Museum and is one of the best places for lunch, dinner, or just to have a drink after visiting the museum. And of course, even though the restaurant is very touristy and serves mostly American food, you can always take the opportunity to admire the photographs and objects that belonged to references in pop-rock music like The Beatles or Rihanna.
The Parisian Hard Rock Café was established on November 24, 1991, and was, in fact, one of the first branches on the European continent. Like the rest of the chain’s restaurants, this Hard Rock Café in Paris is also known for its collection of objects by famous artists, whether they were donated or bought at auctions. “Relics” include musical instruments, clothing, records, prizes, and photographs, among others.
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