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Musée Carnavalet Museum

The vast Carnavalet Museum, which is devoted to the history of Paris, is displayed in two adjoining mansions.  The main building, called the Hôtel Carnavalet, was built by Nicolas Dupuis in 1548 and is a true Renaissance jewel.  The adjoining building, called the Hôtel Le Pelletier de Saint-Fargeau is a 17th century house.

You can find the Musee Carnavelet in the heart of the fashionable right bank in the Marais district in the 3rd Arrondissement of Paris, France.  This 16th century townhouse was purchased by the City of Paris in 1866 for its large and unique historical collections, then over 100 years later (in 1989) the 17th century Hôtel le Peletier was added to the museum in order to house the larger part of the museum's 20th century interiors.

Carnavalet Museum

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Musée Carnavalet Museum In Paris France

The main building, the Hôtel Carnavalet became the home of writer Madame de Sévigné in the mid 1600's and you can find a very interesting gallery devoted to Madame de Sevigne.

Madame de Sévigné was a young widow and mother and has become known for writing absolutely hundreds of letters to friends and family providing gossip and general goings-on through her life in Paris and her letters are considered to be one of the best archives of life in aristocratic Paris.

The Hotel Carnavalet has a beautiful sculpture by Jean Goujon on its facade along with a statue of Louis the XIV in the main courtyard at the entrance of the museum.

You can also get to view lots of paintings and prints that are on display, just to remind us of how Paris has changed over the years and how rural this city was until only a few hundred years ago.

For a general history guide of Paris, then look no further, as this museum has it all.  From the many reconstructed palace rooms, to its collections of paintings, artefacts such as the canoes used by Parisii Tribes, to the furniture of the bedroom where Marcel Proust wrote his legendarily long novel, there is something for everyone to admire.

The exhibits on the Revolution are of interest to many, especially with the scale models of guillotines but this museum has around 140 rooms with a rich and diverse collection that retraces architectural evolution, historical events, aristocratic life and fashion, etc all about Paris.

The great staircase, with its mural paintings by Brunetti, and the drawing room of the engraver Demarteau, are especially impressive.  But you can walk through rooms with a vast assortment of exceptionally well reconstructed interiors from the Middle Ages through to Art Nouveau and this museum even includes the original furnishings from the Café de Paris.

A lot of people feel that the best thing about the Musee Carnavalet is that it tells the history of Paris in chronological order with everyday objects like dishes, old newspapers and souvenirs of historic events.  And if you are interested in a specific time period you can go directly to that section or you can start at the beginning and work your way right through this very large museum, although we would suggest allowing yourself plenty of time here.

The gardens are designed in the classic 18th century French style and are also very pleasant with hedges made into a formal pattern.

It is surprising that there are not more people that know about this museum with its intriguing mix of old and new, especially since it has been open since 1880, but whilst you are on holiday in Paris, it is definitely well worth a visit.  You will not be disappointed.

Because most of the information is only in French, it is very worthwhile purchasing a guide from the gift shop before going round the museum, so that you can get the full appreciation of all the displays.

The Musee Carnavelet is open from a Tuesday through to a Sunday from 10am to 5pm, but is closed on a Monday and on national holidays.

Address & Contact Details:

Musée Carnavalet
23 Rue de Sévigné

Telephone: 1 44 59 58 58

Musée Carnavalet Museum

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