If you are interested in porcelain, you will recognize the name Sèvres, a virtual synonym for exquisite porcelain ever since its factory was created in 1740. You might not know that in the same suburb of the same name, Sèvres, there is an amazing museum devoted to many of the different forms of ceramics known to man, including porcelain.
It is known as the Sèvres Ceramics Museum, and possesses circa 50,000 different pieces of ceramics, of which about 10% is porcelain produced by the factory. It is also rich with fine porcelain from Asia, Europe and France, as well as ceramics throughout history from the entire world. It is the premier museum in and near Paris for diverse and exquisite porcelain collections.
“Thousand Flowers” vase, Qing dynasty, Guimet Museum
If you cannot spare 90 minutes for the round-trip to Sèvres, there are worthy museums in Paris that display superb porcelain collections. The Decorative Arts Museum and the Louvre are top contenders. The former houses the world’s largest collection of St. Cloud soft paste porcelain, among many other types of porcelain. The latter has porcelain of many sorts that appear throughout its many departments. Its Decorative Arts Department displays a wealth of 18th century European porcelain, mostly French, and is extensive.
For oriental porcelain, visit the Guimet Museum of Asiatic Arts, which rewards you with a wide selection of mostly Chinese and Japanese porcelain and ceramics. There is also the Paris city museum, the Cernuschi, which is specialised in the arts of the Far East, including a lot of ceramics and porcelain. Do not expect to see much color, however, as many of the works are monochrome, and dull.
Roussel Pitcher & Basin, Vincennes, Decorative Arts Museum
Another Paris city museum that used to be one of my favourite places to see exquisite European porcelain of the 18th century, the Petit Palais, is today mysteriously impoverished in that respect. It was the beneficiary of the Richard Tuck Collection in 1921, which was extensive when we saw it several times between 1980 and 1990. Today the display is a fraction of its former self, and questions addressed by us to the curator as to what happened remain unanswered. For additional insights to porcelain in Paris, consider our Private Paris Porcelain tour, which is detailed at: https://www.parisluxurytours.com/sevres-porcelain-tour-paris/.
Musée Nationale de Céramique de Sèvres, place de la Manufacture, 92310 Sèvres, every day 10 am – 5 pm
Musée des Arts Décoratif, 107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm, 9 pm on Thursday
Musée du Louvre, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, Wednesday to Monday, 9 am – 6 pm, 10 pm Wednesday and Friday
Musée Nationale des Arts Asiatiques – Guimet, 6 place d’Iéna, 75116 Paris, Wednesday to Monday, 10 am – 6 pm
Musée Cernuschi, 7 avenue Velasquez, 75008 Paris, Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm
Musée de Beaux Arts de Paris – Petit Palais, ave. Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm