The fascinating history of Paris at the Musée Carnavalet

Outings | Museums
Le Musée Carnavalet pour une journée consacrée à Paris et à sa fascinante histoire !

The Musée Carnavalet for a day dedicated to Paris' fascinating History.

Among the many museums currently re-opening, a new museum devoted to the history of Paris from the early beginnings up to today. It was later chosen by Baron Haussmann, the urbanist who redesigned Paris during the Second Empire, who wanted to keep its memory intact and turned it into private residence in 1880. The Musée Carnavalet in le Marais is finally re-opening this summer after 5 years of full renovation and a completely redesigned museography. The residence was initially turned into a public museum by Baron Haussmann, the urbanist who redesigned Paris under Napoléon III. Jacques de Ligneris, the President of the Parliament of Paris, originally commissioned construction in the 16th century and the building was bought by François de Kernevenoy's widow shorty after. Kernevenoy was from Carnavalet in Brittany and the name has been kept ever since, up to the museum today.

The Hôtel Le Peletier Saint Fargeau went up soon after next door, including 4 courtyards and gardens now part of the impressive tour. The Cour d'Honneur at the entrance on rue de Sévigné is of exceptional quality as the architecture and the sculptures were respectively commissioned to Pierre Lescot and Jean Goujon, the famous artists who designed the Louvre's Cour Carrée. A statue of Louis the Great in full armour by Antoine Coysevox, one of the 17th century's major sculptors, is in the centre of the courtyard. A most famous tenant lived at the residence during the same century; the aristocrat Madame de Sévigné, whose letters to her daughter illustrated the era and became an icon of classic French literature. The heart of the collections is focused on 17th and 18th century styles, including the splendid Luynes stairway and the painted trompe-l’œil compositions, the magnificent period rooms, the ceilings at the Hôtel de la Rivière painted by Charles Le Brun, the military café and lobby from the since-demolished Hôtel d’Uzès designed by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux in a most noble neoclassical style, or the charming Demarteau lobby designed by Boucher and decorated with animals and flowers by Fragonard and Huet.

The new sections are equally interesting with objects dating back to Antiquity and even prehistoric times, such as the neolithic Bercy pirogues. Plus sections presenting 20th to early 21st century objects: the stunning Art Nouveau décor by theatrical poster designer Alphonse Mucha at Fouquet jeweller's on Rue Royale, an incredible decor by muralist José-Maria Sert – who redecorated the New-York Rockfeller Center lobby – for the Hôtel de Wendel's ballroom.

Seeing everything in a single day will be quite a challenge and a rewarding meal will be very welcome at the end of your tour. Les Jardins d’Olympe offers simple tasty seasonal dishes and fresh, low-fat desserts created by Chloé Charles and Andrea Sham to enjoy in the museum's French gardens this summer.

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