Sunday, September 25, 2011

Musee de la Vie Romantique

Stumbling across Paris' quaint and secret gardens, usually hidden behind walls and carriage gateways, is like discovering this cities soul! 

Located in the 9th arrondissement, is this little spot - the Musee de la vie Romantique. Though it's primarily residential, the 9th arrondissement isn't exactly top in its class when it comes to public parks or open spaces. There are only 5 and they are small and most are neary noisy arteries too. Gardens in this arrondissement are often hidden behind those imposing carriage gateways. Thats one of the many reasons to make a pilgrimmage to the Musee de la Vie romantique and it's garden - especially its garden. 

Everything is wonderful here, starting with the shady lane leading to garden court where a handful of tables from the museums tearoom stand, a perfect spot in nice weather like now, for a pick me up. Flowers bloom on all sides: old fashioned roses, camanulas ... The beautiful old trees, greenhouse, rock garden and fountain are also wonderful.

This enchanting spot was the home of painter Ary Scheffer, a member for the Romantic Movement - on the academic side.

This property was built in 1830 on a piece of land previously owned by the Abesses Montmartre, next to Comte Chaptal's. It remained in the Scheffer-Renan family till it was transferred to the City of Paris in 1983, to become the Museum of the Romantics, dedicated to the arts and literature of the first half of the XIXth century. It is one of the few remaining artists homes, dating from the early days of King Louis-Phillipe's monarchy.

The ground floor displays keepsakes, furnitures and portraits, previously owned by the writer George Sand (1804-1876) and bequeathed by her grand-daughter Aurore Lauth-Sand to the City of Paris in 1923.

The upper floor offers highlights of Ary Scheffer's art (portraits, historic and religious paintings...) among other artfacts of Romanticism.

Each Friday Ary Scheffer would entertain prestigious guests in his working studio opening to the left of the passage - when arriving : George Sand, Chopin, Delacroix, Rossini, Liszt, Pauline Viardot, thiers....The opposite studio was used by his brother the painter Henri Scheffer, as well as assistants and pupils. 

These twin studios facing north, on each side of the paved courtyard, are used nowadays to show two temporary exhibition each year.

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