Way before it was called the Place des Vosges it was known as the
Place Royale. And it wasn't until Isaac Arnauld, who was the Kings councillor that
was granted a plot of land on which to build upon with a specific layout for a house
according to the area, which also had to have a main building that faced the square with
However, there were improvements made to the building by the Rohans, which they named
Hotel de Rohen-Guemenee, who were owners of the property for over 150 years.
Unfortunately, although they do not remain on the building today, Jacques Desmary, who
then became the owner, was allowed to add two balconies, but there have also been many
alterations to the building since even Victor Hugo lived in the property, so the layout is
not the same. It is a real shame but that is part of life and history!
Paul Meurice, who was a friend of Victor Hugo, read out a letter to the Paris council in
the June of 1901, with a suggestion that the building at No 6, Place des Vosges should be
turned into a museum. Because the city was already looking at celebration plans to
commemorate the work on Victor Hugo's birthday, the timing could not have been better if
one had tried and in the March of 1902 the Maison de Victor Hugo was decided upon and was
inaugurated on 30th June 1903.
However, if it had not been for the Paul Meurice who was Victor Hugo's executor, who
provided his own collection, the foundation of the museum would never have even taken
place and it was Victor Hugo's grandchildren that recreated their grandfathers' bedroom.
There is another place that Victor Hugo lived in Guernsey that is also now a museum and
through his mistress they also donated a number of important articles, furniture and
collectibles to the Paris council for display in the Maison de Victor Hugo.
Victor Hugo himself was not just an author and playwright, but was also a painter,
designer and incredibly, even though a workaholic producing works like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Miserables and Les Chants du
Crepuscule, he was also a politician.
The museum is a fascinating place for those that do not know anything about Victor Hugo or
his works, yet is even more incredible for those that do, as you will get to walk back in
time being able to picture exactly how he lived and worked.
Today, the museum is much more, as it is also a library and research centre and is host to
different cultural projects all relating to Victor Hugo.
Within the apartment museum you will be able to view a period of Victor Hugo's life in
each room. With old documents, photos, furniture and drawings plus much, much more
including parts of his childhood days before becoming a great figure in French literature,
right though to a reconstruction of his death chamber, you will get an in-depth picture of
his incredible life.
You will also be able to view the intricate details that many museums forget about, such
as his own ink well and his very own hand writing, portraits of his family, plus some of
his first editions of works and even the Chinese theme panels he created for his
mistress. Yet perhaps on a morbid thought, you can also see paintings of his funeral
procession at the Arc de Triomphe in 1885 where millions of people came to mourn his
death, as he was so popular at that time.
Although you can just go round the museum yourself, you can also arrange to have a guided
tour as well and there is also a library, which you can go to if you have booked an
There is a museum shop on the ground floor where you can obtain lots of different
memorabilia, gifts, and literature, which is not just in French!
It is open everyday of the week except on Mondays and holidays from 10am through to 5pm
and because it is a City of Paris museum, it is free
to enter for the permanent exhibits, although you would have to pay for the temporary
exhibitions that are sometime held there.
Address & Contact Details:
Hotel de Rohan-Guemenee
6 Place des Vosges
Telephone: 1 42 72 10 16