Musee de la Prefecture de Police Museum in Paris
The Musee de la Prefecture de Police is a museum dedicated to the history of the Paris police force from the 17th century through to the present day, with over 2000 items on display including manuscripts, uniforms, photographs etc.
About the Musee de la Prefecture de Police Museum
The Musee de la Prefecture de Police is also sometimes known as the Musee des Collections Historiques de la Prefecture de Police de Paris, which basically translates to the Museum of Historical Collections of the Paris Police.
This museum was first created in 1909 by the Prefect Louis Lepine, who is well known for creating a competition for inventors that is still run today, along with modernisation of the police force, gaining public trust with the force, organising forensic training and procedures, plus much more.
Spread over an area of approximately 520 metres squared, this unusual museum in Paris has over 2000 different items that are presented in different areas according to dates or themes and these are from the year 1667 right through to after the Liberation of Paris.
Although the offices of the prefecture were destroyed during the Paris Commune in 1871 and many documents were lost, today there are still many documents in existence, which makes up this fabulous collection.
The main tour through the museum starts with the old regime when King Louis XIV created the office of the lieutenant of police in the year 1667, then it follows on with the successors to the very first police lieutenant, then formation of the National Guard and the creation of the Peace Corps.
It was actually Napoleon Bonaparte who created the true prefect of police functions, which put a stop to the instability and corruption that had been known previously, then in 1829 there were the first uniformed policemen.
Following on through the Musee de la Prefecture de Police you can discover more about the Second Empire, the Paris Commune, the Third Republic, the political unrest, the police reforms, etc that are all related to a policing point of view.
Another section at this museum in Paris is dedicated to uniforms, and then you can get to discover exhibits such as the Mace Collection dating from between 1870 to 1914 along with the beginnings of forensics used in criminal cases, old prisons in Paris and major court cases from 1919 through to 1945.
You can also discover more about the occupation and the Liberation of Paris during World War II, and in fact, there are photographs of the 167 police officers who were unfortunately killed during the Liberation of Paris, which are located on the access stairs to the museum.
Now anyone who is going on holiday to Paris that is interested in criminology or how the police force and justice progressed over the years will be in their element here, as you can discover documents and evidence from famous historical events of conspiracy or murder, thefts and criminal cases.
These fascinating cases include the internment of King Louis XVII, the arrest notes after the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday, a train ticket from Henri Landru, who was an infamous mass murderer in France, and many, many more.
There is also a reconstruction of the studio of Alphonse Bertillon, which was the beginning of true forensics, an area dedicated to uniforms, maps and police badges, plus many different items from guns through to knives and knuckle dusters that have been used in acts of violence and murder.
Although parts of the Musee de la Prefecture de Police do seem gruesome, like viewing an original guillotine that saw the fate of many, along with a display of weapons confiscated from Germans during the war and a firing post dating from World War II, this is unfortunately a vivid reminder of the atrocities that have occurred in the history of Paris.
However, this is a fascinating and unusual museum in Paris, which many tourists visit each year, as there are not many places to be found like this in the world, yet alone the richness of this incredible collection, which is continually growing, year after year.
Visiting the Musee de la Prefecture de Police
Located in the 5th Arrondissement on the 2nd floor of the police station, you will be pleased to know that this is one of the free museums in Paris that you can visit as an individual, although donations are very gratefully received.
The Musee des Collections Historiques de la Prefecture de Police de Paris is open on a Monday to Friday from 9am through to 5:30pm and on the third Saturday of the month from 10:30am through to 5pm, but is closed at all other times including a Sunday and on National French holidays.
You will find that rooms start to get cleared around 30 minutes before closing time, and last entry is normally one hour prior to closing time, but unfortunately as we mentioned earlier, this is located on the second floor and there are stairs to negotiate, so therefore this is not accessible to the mobility impaired.
We would also like to point out that if you wish to visit but there are more than five of you in a party, then you would be classified as a group, and bookings for groups of between 5 and 15 people do have to be booked in advance.
Also, due to the terrorist attacks that happened in 2015, certain additional regulations were put in place for all museums, which included large bags being prohibited, backpacks having to be searched prior to entry or held at cloakrooms, etc, so do bear this in mind when visiting any museums in Paris.
Access to the Musee de la Prefecture de Police
When it comes to getting here via public transport in Paris, you will find that the nearest Metro station is called the Maubert-Mutualite stop serving line 10, whereas if you are travelling on the RER trains, then you would need the Saint-Michel - Notre-Dame stop, which serves the RER B and C lines, plus this is also a Metro station serving line 4.
Alternatively if you wish to get to the Musee des Collections Historiques de la Prefecture de Police de Paris via bus you would need the bus lines 24, 47, 63, 86 and 87, plus the Noctilien Night Bus Service via lines N15 and N22 will also get you within walking distance of this and many other tourist attractions in this area of Paris.