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Musée Carnavalet Renovation

Musée Carnavalet Renovation

In collaboration with Chatillon Architectes, Snøhetta has been commissioned by Paris Musées to undertake the architectural renovation of one of the most prominent museums in France: the historic Musée Carnavalet. 

The Musée Carnavalet is the oldest of all Parisian museums, and before closing for renovation in 2016, the museum welcomed more than 400,000 visitors each year. The ambition for the future of the Musée Carnavalet is to make the museum an even more attractive venue for Parisians, the French and international tourists by making it more accessible on both an architectural and intellectual level.

When the renovated museum reopens by the end of 2019 it will offer an enhanced visitor’s experience that provides a unique travel through time to discover the rich history of the city of Paris – a story told through 615,000 artefacts, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, woodwork, art pieces and photography. 

Interior, Visual Identity, Renovation & Expansion, Museum & Gallery

2016 - 2020




Paris, France


Paris Musées


6,360 m2

Image from the current renovation process of the Musée Carnavalet.

Situated in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris, in the historic and vibrant district of the Marais, the museum is the result of the merging of two significant buildings, the Hôtel Carnavalet, completed in 1655 by the famous architect François Mansart, and the adjacent Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, built in 1688 based on drawings from architect Pierre Bullet.

Since the mid-1800’s, the Musée Carnavalet has been listed as a so-called “Monument Historique” because of its importance to France’s architectural and cultural heritage.

Snøhetta and Chatillon Architectes’s plans for the architectural renovation carefully respects the original features of the building while restoring it to comply with current standards and enhancing the overall museum experience for all visitors. The latter will be attained through the establishment of a more intuitive journey through the museum, the courtyards and gardens, but also by making the building more adapted to children, people with disabilities and international tourists.

A new reception area, improved facilities, contemporary staircases and specially-designed wayfinding and signage will help facilitate the overall museum visit. 

The exhibition designers at Agence NC will enhance the visitor experience even further though generous exhibition spaces and an improved chronological display and contextualization of artefacts that come together to tell the story of Paris – from prehistoric times until to today. 

The presentation of artefacts will also be optimized through digital tools and modern storytelling techniques such as apps and web documentaries. 

Image from the current renovation process of the Musée Carnavalet.

Information about the exhibited artifacts will be translated into several languages and will be universally accessible and adapted to all types of museum-goers: from art and history connoisseurs to young children.

10% of the exhibited artefacts will be placed at a lower level than usual so that they can easily be enjoyed by children.