Visit Musée de la Vie Romantique

Hidden in among the streets and neoclassical residences of the Nouvelle Athens district in the hearth of the 9th arrondissement is the former patrician residence of the romantic Dutch artist Ary Scheffer. It is known today simply as Le Musée de la Vie Romantique. The Nouvelle Athens area was home to many artists and their studios and Ary Scheffer’s beautiful home formed the nucleus of that artistic life, welcoming revered figures from the worlds of art, music and literature. People like Frédéric Chopin (who played recitals on Scheffer’s Pleyel Piano), the novelist George Sand, Franz Liszt, Charles Dickens, Ivan Tourgueniev and composer Rossini counted among Ary Scheffer’s illustrious guests at one time or another.

Scheffer, who was the private drawing teacher to the children of the Duc d’Orléans, lived in this house for over 30 years from 1830 onwards. In his day he was a celebrated exponent of Romanticism, today however his name is obscured by romantics such as Delacroix and Géricault whose iconic paintings share pride of place among the large formats in the French section of the Louvre.

Frederic Chopin and George Sand

The Museum opened in 1982 as an extension of the Musée Carnavalet. On exhibit are objects associated with the various people who lived or passed through the house, most notably the paintings of Ary Scheffer, and the plaster casts of Frederic Chopin and George Sand’s hands, which lie together in a glass case. All of the furniture is of the period, along with the fittings and wallpaper. In the recreated drawing room Chopin nocturnes are softly piped into the room. Upstairs in the bedrooms, the walls are filled with paintings and the view out onto the garden gives one a feeling of peace and respite.

Scheffer’s studio, which is separate to the main house, is located to the front in a small light-filled building. Bookshelves fill one side of this room with curios and objects d’art. Also found in a small side-room are two framed oval photographic portraits of George Sand by the pioneer of early photography, Nadar (Gaspard-Félix Tournachon). After a wander through these atmospheric rooms, redolent of a lost world, take time out for a coffee on the patio. You will find a self-service café installed in the charming conservatory of the house. Being surrounded by all of the wonderful flowers of this enchanted garden will be a suitably romantic ending to your visit.

Musée de la Vie Romantique
16 rue Chaptal
75009 Paris
Metro Saint Georges or Pigalle
Open everyday from 10am-6pm, except Mondays and public holidays.

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