Paris’ Best-Kept Museum Secret: A Walk Through the Jacquemart-André 

It’s a tale as old as time: millionaire banker playboy spends fortune on world class art collection, builds mansion-sized bachelor pad in upscale Paris neighborhood. Has his portrait painted by a female artist one day, decides to marry her 10 years later. They travel the world, stuffing their home with priceless art souvenirs, agreeing that when they die the whole thing will be turned into an art museum.

Then they do…and then it is.

People often ask me for a lesser-known museum experience without all the tourist elbows to the ribs. Should anyone ever ask you for such a recommendation, the answer can always be the Musée Jacquemart-André.


The playboy mentioned above, Édouard André, began construction of his dream home in 1869. It was during the Second French Empire when livin’ was easy if you had a few extra zeros on the bank balance. After his marriage to artist Nélie Jacquemart, the two spent their lives creating one of the fanciest abodes this side of Versailles.




They were the power couple of 19th century Paris, using their home as an art gallery and hosting sumptuous galas worthy of the Emperor himself. Today as you work your way around you can sense that air of upscale whimsy and almost taste the Veuve Clicquot on your lips.

This museum offers a double dip of charming period rooms plus a darn good collection of art. You’ll come across pieces by Rembrandt, Botticelli, Fragonard, Chardin, Van Dyck, and other masters you’ll be happy to acquaint yourself with. (A tip from an art nerd: seek out the paintings of Canaletto!)


One of the most pleasant rooms is a winter garden flooded with natural light. Its illustrious staircases are the work of the architect who got 2nd place in the competition to build the Paris Opera House. So no surprise that they’re magnificent.


Upstairs is where Jacquemart once had her art studio. Today it houses a lovely sculpture gallery which adjoins rooms of Florentine and Venetian works.

On your way out, don’t forget to treat yourself to what the museum modestly calls “the most beautiful tearoom in Paris”. It’s the mansion’s former dining room, decorated with Belgian tapestries and an Italian fresco on the ceiling.


Next time in you’re in Paris keep this rather hidden museum in mind. It’s a glimpse into a bygone era and an easy way to pretend, at least for an afternoon, that your bank balance has a few extra zeros on it.

The Musée Jacquemart-André is located in the 8th arrondissement at 158 Boulevard Haussmann. Open every day 10am-6pm, with a late opening until 8:30pm on Mondays. Admission is 13.50€. 

 

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32 comments

  • Excellent photos as always, Corey. I agree that the Jacquemart-Andre is a little gem. Somewhere I think I read that its facade was used as the setting for Louis Jordan’s house in the movie “Gigi.” The free audio tour in English is excellent, as are the pastries in that tea room!

  • This has been one of our favorite museums for many, many years Corey. Your photographs are so depictive of the enourmous number of artistic treasures to be found in the André’s mansion. And as you show, the tea room is among our very favorite in all Paris, with the Tiepolo ceiling reigning above! Thanks for showcasing this “not-so-secret-anymore” treasure.

  • For some obscure reason, I did visit this musem as a child with my parents when we went to Paris, Perhaps because we stayed with friends who were living there. I remember imagining myself sweeping down the stairs in glorious dresses…

  • Beautiful! I have it on my ongoing list for this year! Thanks, again, Corey. I always look forward to your posts!

  • I love this museum. I’ve been there numerous times and eating at the café gives you the impression to step into Marcel Proust’s life.
    Everything is gorgeous from the entry way to the stairwell and the winter garden.
    I always recommend it.

  • Beautiful, Corey. I particularly liked the his-and-hers sitting area in one of the bedrooms. A perfect place for morning coffee and some pastry.

  • Love this place. Have been there several times and each time is magnifique. Was just there with my husband 3 weeks ago. Wishing I had known about the excellent app available now. A Must.

  • We’ve enjoyed visiting this museum, and find it hard to believe that’s “unknown.”

  • Oh la la I really want those chairs that fit perfectly to their shared ottoman. How romantic!

  • Your photos really capture the opulence and luxury of the place, Corey. And your writing is as wonderful and wry as always (“… an easy way to pretend, at least for an afternoon, that your bank balance has a few extra zeros on it” — LOVED that line). The museum should give you a little kickback for this post because I expect they’ll soon be seeing an increase in visitors thanks to you. :)

    • Thanks friend! I know, maybe I should contact these places ahead of time and scrape together some extra cash… 🙂 Hope you’re doing ok over there. Any snow for you? Looks like we won’t get any this year…once again. So bummed!

      • Don’t these places take credit cards? HA HA. You are hilarious, Corey! Although sometimes I find myself envying the opulent lives these people lived, I think after a week or two I would have found it oppressive. (All those marble faces staring at you as you stepped out of the shower. Mon dieu!) No thank you. :) As for snow … why yes, we have plenty. It’s too bad even FedEx couldn’t keep it from melting, because I’d gladly send you a metric ton or two! If the forecast for the week ahead is correct, though, perhaps you still have an outside chance? I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you …

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