In the posh 8th arrondissement in Paris, not far from Parc Monceau there lies the Musée Camondo. This fashionable museum, whose full name is the Musée Nissim de Camondo, is actually a residence held within the Hôtel Camondo. That’s a lot of Camondos in one place. Why is this name so prominent? This is another house museum, similar the the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, that has history. Here’s the story:
The elegant mansion was originally built in 1911 by the Comte Moïse de Camondo with the help of renowned French architect René Sergent. Camondo owned a large collection of fine French decorative arts pieces. How better to show off that exquisite collection of furniture, art and objects than to house them in a building modeled after the beautiful Petit Trianon of Versailles? Naturally, this would be the only proper option. Unfortunately, the Comte’s son, Nissim de Camondo, was killed in World War II. To honor his fallen hero, the Comte donated both the house and the collection of objects to Les Arts Décoratifs. It was opened as a museum in 1935. The story took another tragic turn however when the Comte’s daughter and her family were deported to Auschwitz, where they later died. (Wikipedia)
Today, the house is maintained as a museum much in the same manner as if it was still a home. The furniture pieces remain, the art still adorns the walls, and the fine decorative items are perched right where they would be should their noble family still be in residence.
There are three floors open to the public: the lower level which is below ground (where the kitchens are), the upper ground floor (where the formal living rooms are), and the upper level (where the private rooms are). There’s also gardens. Because what Parisian palace would be complete without gardens? Being a designer, the sweeping staircase and fine architectural details particularly caught my eye.
The Camondo Museum is located at 63 rue de Monceau, 75008. The nearest metro stops are either Villiers or Monceau. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and is open every other day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission cost 7,50 € for full price and 5,50 € with concession. An audio guide is included, and there are informative plaques on stands through the house for additional information.
Go enjoy a morning exploring the finely preserved mansion, and strolling through its gardens. You’ll be done just in time for a picnic lunch at Parc Monceau, one of the most beautiful parks in Paris, and one of the least crowded. An ideal day on all counts.