Located at the hotel Scheffer-Renan in the northern portion of the ninth arrondissement not far from Pigalle, le musée de la vie romantique, or the “Museum of the Romantics,” is tucked away on a quiet, leafy passageway. Its private mansion, courtyard and rose garden lend a welcome break from the city noise and remind us of a time long ago.
The property once belonged to the French Dutch-born painter Ary Scheffer (1795-1858), who used the twin studios and main pavilion for painting and instruction as well as welcoming prominent guests such as the writer Georges Sand, Chopin, Delacroix, Dickens, and the composer Hector Berlioz.
Scheffer arrived in Paris in 1811 as an art student, becoming famous for his portraits after his first commission for General de La Fayette in 1818. Art teacher to the children of the Duc d’Orleans, future King Louis Philippe, Scheffer painted the French royal family several times. You will find his paintings, such as the striking La Princesse de Joinville (oil on canvas, 1844) on the first floor of the pavilion.
In addition to paintings by Ary Scheffer, there are paintings of Scheffer himself, Georges Sand, and the Marechal de Saxe, great grandfather of Georges Sand and son of Frederic-Auguste II of Poland.
The mansion houses furniture and keepsakes belonging to Georges Sand, such as dressers, sculptures, jewelry, and even locks of hair. You will also find sketches by the author of scenes from her novels, such as the mill from Le Meunier d’Angibault. There is an impressive family tree which traces the family of Georges Sand back to the king of Poland, Augustus II, as mentioned above, as well as to the king of France Louis XVI.
Once finished perusing the art, wander back out into the courtyard and head over to the rose garden with plentiful outdoor seating to enjoy a coffee or cup of earl gray from the lovely salon de thé.
Hours: 10am-6pm every day except Mondays and holidays
Access: Metro : Saint-Georges, Pigalle, Blanche, Liège
Bus : 67, 68, 74, 30
Cost : Free entrance, audio guide 5 euro
Musée de la Vie romantique
16 rue Chaptal – 75009 Paris
© 2011 Pasa’s Paris