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Hotel de Sens In Paris

The Hotel de Sens is a medieval residence that is one of only three still standing in Paris and the others are the Hôtel de Cluny, which holds the Musee National du Moyen Age, also known as the Musee de Cluny  and Jacques Coeur's house.

Located in the 4th Arrondissement it was built during the years of approximately 1475 to 1509 as a residence for Tristan de Salazar, who was the archbishop of Sens and hence its name.

But the mixed architectural styles that you can see within this mansion house show the transitions that occurred between Medieval and Renaissance styles over the time of its construction.

Hotel de Sens

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Hotel de Sens In Paris

The architecture of the Hotel de Sens features some elements of defence such as turrets built for surveillance, a square tower that served as a dungeon and the arched entryway that had chutes built into it enabling defenders to pour boiling water on invaders. 

It is this arched entry that leads into a courtyard where you can admire the elegant formal gardens along with a fig tree and on a glorious day, sitting on one of the garden benches taking time to relax is a real dream away from the hustle and bustle of the city surrounding you.

Some of the history of this medieval mansion house is quite sketchy, although in 1605 Queen Margot, who was the first wife of King Henri IV was sent to live at this residence after her marriage was annulled.

She named the street that this mansion is positioned on after the fig tree she had cut down, as it was getting in the way of her carriages.

Later, from 1689 through to 1743, it was the office of the Lyon stage coach for parcels and deliveries and had a full title of Siege de Messageries, Coches and Carroisses de Lyon, Bourgogne et Franche Comté and after the Revolution it was occupied by art students, then turned into a jam factory.

In 1883, the Paris Council decided to create a library that specialised  in art and art techniques as they wanted to create a place where people could gain more knowledge in all areas of art.

Then Samuel Fornay, who was an industrialist decided to donate 200,000 francs to be used for the education of young artists and in 1886 the Bibliotheque Fornay, named in his honour, was first established at a place in the 11th arrondissement.

It soon became a very popular place for people in all areas of art from bronze workers to architects and eventually in 1929 the Paris Council decided to move the Bibliotheque Fornay to the Hotel de Sens.

From 1939 through to 1961 the Hotel de Sens underwent a full restoration programme and the Bibliothèque Fornay is still housed in this medieval mansion today, where it has a collection of around 200,000 books, 2,580 periodicals, 23,000 posters, 1,110,000 postcards, 325,000 reproductions, 28,000 commercial catalogues and approximately 50,000 slides.

The Hotel de Sans also holds temporary exhibitions from time to time as well, and the courtyard and library are open to the public on a Tuesday to Friday from 1.30pm to 8.30pm and on Saturday from 10am to 8.30pm.

It is always closed on Sunday and Monday.

Address & Contact Details:

Hôtel de Sens
1 Rue du Figuier

Hotel de Sens

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