Musee Galliera Fashion museum in Paris

The Musee Galliera is also referred to as the Palais Galliera - Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris and is located in the Palais Galliera constructed in the Renaissance style, which houses one of the worlds finest fashion collections dating from the 18th century, with different temporary exhibitions held each year.

A bit of history

Housed within a palace that was constructed in the 1800s in the Renaissance style that was built specifically to be a museum upon the orders of the Duchesse de Galliera, the Musee Galiiera, as it is called today, was formerly known as the Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, which in English translates to the Museum of Fashion of the City of Paris.
Musee Galliera Paris
However, the history of the Palais Galliera is fascinating, as the original museum collection from the Duchess was never placed within the building, but through a bequest to the city of Paris, the historian and costume collector, Maurice Leloir, donated his collection of costumes, fashion and accessories   years after he had set up the Societe de l’Histoire du Costume.

Originally this collection was housed within the Musee Carnavalet prior to the Musee du Constume de la Ville du Paris being set up, yet with the collection constantly expanding and very limited space temporary exhibitions were then held at the Musee d’Art Moderne.

Over this time, the Palais Galliera had been used for several different purposes, until eventually it was decided that the fashion collection would be transferred to this palace permanently and opened its doors in 1997 under the name of the Musee Galliera - Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.

About Musee Galliera

Paris is one of those cities known for fashion and design with many haute couture houses located close to the palace, and The Palais Galliera fashion collection has grown substantially over the years, which means that there are hundreds of thousands of different items of clothing and accessories, that makes it one of the finest collections in the world today.
You will find that the collections at this museum in Paris have been broken down into different themes, one of which is called 18th century dress.  Then you have 19th century costumes, fashion from the first half of the 20th century, haute couture, contemporary and undergarment sections plus one dedicated to accessories from different periods.

There is a prints and drawings section at the Musee Galliera with over 50,000 items dating from the 18th century including studio drawings, sketches, engravings, designs from couture houses, print advertisements and much more.

Yet the museum also has a photography section with over 70,000 photographs that date from 1870 onwards.  However, this collection was enriched dramatically when the American photographer Henry Clarke bequeathed his entire photographic collection to the Musee Galliera - Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, which included 90,000 negatives.

You will find one of the worlds leading collections of dress and costume from the 1700s, and even two suits from the Dauphin, the future King Louis XVII, plus there is a bodice that is reportedly once owned by Marie Antoinette, and the 1800s is represented mainly through fashion of the upper classes and the Napoleonic era including garments worn by members of nobility and the court such as the Empress Josephine or by actresses such as Sarah Bernhardt.
Musee Galliera jackets
Musee Galliera dresses
And with over 35,000 accessories including hats, bags, shoes, walking sticks, gloves and parasols, this is one of the finest collections to be found in the world, with items dating from the 17th century to the present day, and includes some very unusual accessories as well as the normal items we would think of.

So as you can tell, the Musee Galliera is an impressive museum, but because of many items being so fragile, not forgetting the amount, these are never permanently on display, and temporary exhibitions are organised each year based on different themes, periods, etc.

Visiting Musee Galliera in Paris

As we have mentioned before, the Musee Galliera with an official name of Palais Galliera - Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris is only when they are holding a temporary exhibition, and therefore it is only open at certain times of the year, with there being on an average of between two and three different themed exhibitions each year displaying parts of the impressive fashion collection.

But when there is a temporary exhibition being held, the Museum of the Fashion of the City of Paris is open from 10am through to 6pm on a Tuesday to Sunday.  However, there is a late opening on a Thursday evening until 9pm, yet it is always closed on a Monday and on all National French holidays.
Musee Galliera north entrance
We would like to point out that the latest time you can visit the City of Paris museum is one hour prior to closing time, but you may be pleased to know that since reopening in late 2013, there is now better access for people with reduced mobility.

Plus you will also find that there is a library and resource centre for researchers, historians and students, however, this is only open by prior arrangement and a maximum of around six people can study the numerous books and archives at any one time.

And located in the 16th Arrondissement close to numerous other tourist attractions in Paris, getting to the Musee Galliera is very easy via the network of public transport available, as you have the Metro stations called the Alma-Marceau and Iena stops serving line 9 and the Boissiere stop serving line 6.

There is also the Pont de l’Alma station that serves line C of the RER trains, plus the bus numbers 32, 42, 63, 72, 80 and 92 will get you close by, yet if you are using the Velib cycle hire system there are also three different cycle stations located close by as well.