The Musée national de la Marine is the French maritime museum with its main location in Paris and annexes in Brest, Port-Louis, Rochefort and Toulon. The Paris museum buildings are close to the Eiffel tower, a convenient location for any tourist.
The Paris museum has a large and fine collection of ship models showing the development of French naval engineering till the early 1900s. There are many contemporary ship models dating back to the 1700s and a fine selection of paintings. Some sailing ship models of 3 - 4 m length have been used for training officers and naval engineers. They display a remarkable degree of detail.
For more information see the homepage of the Musée de la Marine.
The picture above shows the barge Le Canot Imperial in the museum's entrance hall. The barge was built in 1811 for Napoleon's inspection of the fortifications of Antwerp. Here are some more photos of this barge.
The ship model most in demand is probably the Soleil Royal. I show 26 pictures taken by Dr. Markus Leber: Photo gallery of the Soleil Royal
I was quite impressed by the elaborate stern decoration of the galley Réale de France and some other ornamentation of 17th century.
A large model in 1 : 12 scale of the 50 gun ship Louis le Grand had been used for officer training in early 18th century.
If you click on a photo you will get that photo in high resolution. If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Firefox, press F11 to minimize navigation bars and have a larger screen with the photos.
The museum is a must-see if you go to Paris. We have been there twice, in May 2007 and May 2012. The exhibition got changed quite a lot. However, in 2007 there had been English explanations on every item, which I enjoyed very much. In 2012 they had been removed, only very few descriptions (the ones I took photos of) had survived the language cleansing.