A few weeks ago, my friend Linda and I paid a visit to the Musée de la Vie Romantique, which I discovered is a 5-minute walk from my house in the 9th. I am becoming more interested in the smaller, more intimate museums in Paris, and this little bijou was hidden at the end of a little alley, and it felt like going back in time. It would have been quite tranquil in the garden (where they serve tea in the warmer weather) if it hadn't been for the shrieks of children at recess from a school next door.
I can imagine living in a house like this, quite easily.
I love these old leaded glass windows, where some of the glass has a slight coloration of amber, pink or green.
The property was owned by a Dutch painter named Ary Scheffer, who created two huge studio spaces across the courtyard, one that was used as a studio space and the other as a salon where he gathered some of the "It" crowd of the era -- including George Sand, Chopin, Liszt, Rossini, Charles Dickens, Delacroix, and Ingres.
One of the two enormous studios, the other is just to the left and is equally large. Both are used as additional exhibition space.
A large part of the collection here is related to the writer George Sand; her granddaughter donated many items including paintings, jewelry and other personal effects.
A lock of George Sand's hair. OMG... we could CLONE George Sand!
A cast of Chopin's left hand -- he really had "piano hands" with those long, thin fingers next to a cast of George Sand's right arm.
A medallion of George Sand's profile. She was not a particularly pretty woman, at least by our current standards, but that didn't seem to slow down her love life; she was married, and when her marriage failed she had a string of lovers including a long relationship with Chopin.
George Sand's family tree, showing a relationship (on that right branch) to the King of Poland and France's Louis XVI.
It wasn't all about George Sand, though. There were decorated rooms, paintings and sculptures.
A small statue of one of my favorite French women: Jeanne d'Arc. I like to think I'm namd for her (my middle name is Jeanne) but this is not at all true. My mother just liked the name and the longer spelling of "Jean".
Clearly a Delacroix with the bold and violent scene; this was in an exhibition (in one of the studios) consisting of small studies of bigger works. As studies, they would naturally lack the full effort and detail of the finished masterpieces.
This was one of Ary Scheffer's paintings that I rather liked.
I really enjoyed this little museum. And guess what? It is free to visit the permanent collection in the main house, because this museum is connected to the Musée Carnavalet in the Marais, where you can also visit the permanent collection for free. Both museums only charge a fee for special exhibits and audio guides.
- Musée de la Vie Romantique
- 16 Rue Chaptal, 75009 Paris
- Open daily (except Mondays and national holidays) from 10am to 6pm. Tea Salon/Tea in the Garden from March through October, daily except Mondays from 10am to 5:30pm.
- Métro: Saint-Georges (12), Pigalle (12), Blanche (2), or Liege (13)