Where was all this beautiful literature written? Where were Victor Hugo and Edith Piaf living? To contemplate a work of art is to look into his or her soul – so make the most of these opportunities to see and experience where and how some of the greatest geniuses of our time lived out their days.
Painters and Sculptors
Musee Rodin has taken over the exact hotel where the sculptor lived the final years of his life. You’ll find works like ‘Le Baiser’, ‘L’Homme qui marche’ on display here, as well as his unmissable work ‘La Porte de l’Enfer’.
Bonus – The view over the golden dome of Invalides from the gardens.
Where? 79 rue de Varenne, 7th
When? Tue-Sun 10am-5.45pm (gardens until 6pm)
How much? €6, with reductions for u18s and students (gardens €1)
In 1957 Eugene Delacroix left the Nouvelle Athenes neighbourhood to invest in these apartments near by Saint-Sulpice cathedral, one of whose chapels he was in charge of building. He wrote of being by “the most beautiful rays of sunshine” every morning, and passed the last six years of his life at this “absolutely charming” location.
Bonus – Hearing the birds warbling while seated on an iron wrought bench in the park
Where? 6 rue de Furstenberg, 6th
When? Everyday except Tuesday 9.30am-5.30pm
How much? €7
Converted into a museum in 1982 – in line with the artist’s wishes – the former workshop and home of Ossip Zadkine has manages to still retain the soul of this place, inhabited for around forty years by the Russian sculptor and his wife, the painter Valentine Prax.
Bonus – The sculpture-filled veranda - just as lush as the garden of Eden.
Where? 100 bis rue d’Assas, 6th arrondissement
When? Tues-Sun 10.00am-6.00pm
How much? Free entry. €5-7 for exhibitions.
This fabulous building, transformed into a museum by the symbolist painter in 1903 contains the apartments and workshop of Gustave Moreau. A bourgeois interior with Louis XVI furniture, arranged according to the recollections of the painter, resembling an obsessive collector’s shrine.
Bonus – The boudoir dedicated to Alexandrine Dureux – his “best and only friend” - his impossible love.
Where? 14 rue de La Rouchefoucauld, 9th
When? Wed-Mon 10am-5.15pm
How much? €4-6
The former abode of the Dutch painter Ary Scheffer was, in the 19th century, the headquarters of the Societe des arts et des lettres, in the heart of the blooming Nouvelle Athenes quarter. Today, the museum exudes the essence of this fascinating era, housing the most refined canvases and remains.
Bonus – The completely panelled décor and fine goldwork.
Where? 16 rue Chaptal, 9th
When? Tues-Sun 10am-6pm
How much? Free entry. €4-8 for temporary exhibitions.
Between 1932 and 1848, Victor Hugo lived in an apartment located on the second floor of the Rohan-Guemenee hotel on Voges square. There, he wrote quite a few of his major works, including ‘Ruy Blas’ and part of ‘Les Miserables’. Since 1903, this affluent household has been a museum dedicated to the life and work of the most influential writer in the history of French literature.
Bonus – The furniture includes an astonishing selection of curiosities, like the ‘Table aux quatre encriers’, the raises inkwells of the writer, or his deathbed.
Where? 6 place de Vosges, 4th
When? Tues-Sun 10am-6pm
How much? Free entry, €6-8 for temporary exhibitions
In 1840, Honore de Balzac rented this Passy apartment to escape his creditors and lived there for seven year. Converted into and museum and library, today the place is a testament to the writer’s life and work, as well as the era.
Bonus: The famous porcelain coffee pot from Limoges which kept Balzac going through his sleepless nights writing ‘La Comedie Humaine’.
Where? 47 rue Raymond, 16th
Where? Tues-Sun 10am-6pm
How much? Free entry, €5 for temporary exhibitions.
Hidden away in the 15th, the villa Santos-Dumont is probably the most beautiful cul-de-sac in the arrondissement. Spread over about 100 metres, this little paved street is completely covered with greenery, ivy growing over the glass-roofed artist studios and houses. Georges Brassens himself lived there at number 42, from 1968 until his death.
Bonus – the rural, timeless element: you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve left Paris.
Where? 42 Villa Santos-Dumont, 15th
Exterior visits only
Serge Gainsbourg - Rue Verneuil
The fans of this singer-songwriter and actor will undoubtedly already have been to this little street, located very close to Saint-Germain des Pres and the Pont des Arts. Some will maybe even have made graffitied homage to him on the walls of this insignificant-seeming building – now a legendary place where nothing has changed since the death of the artist, not even his cigarette butts in the ashtray.
Bonus – Undoubtedly the numerous works or art covering the house’s exterior.
Where? 5 bis rue Verneuil, 7th arrondissement
Exterior visits only
Two steps away from the place du Tertre, in the heights of Montmartre, stands a peculiar 1900s style hotel, where Louis-Ferdinand Celine lived in 1929 before his mansion was bought by the singer Dalida in the 1960s.
Bonus – The Moulin Rouge in the background, Dalida square is just a stone’s throw away.
Where? 11 bis rue d’Orchampt
Visits to the outside only
Edith Piaf - Boulevard Lannes
Born in poverty-ridden Belleville, Edith Piaf lived out the last few years of her life in the affluent 16th century arrondissement in Paris. With her companion Jacques Pills, ‘La Mome’ took over these quarters in 1953, on the ground floor of 67 bis boulevard Lannes, in a great big apartment, host to some of the greatest Parisian composers of the era, from Aznavour to Becaud.
Bonus – The immediate proximity to the bois de Boulogne, to prolong the walk.
Where? 67 bid boulevard Lannes, 16th
Only able to visit the exterior
Monet’s house in Giverny is an oasis of calm, where the painter liked to think about his next works. A true place of pilgrimage for fans of impressionism, this thatched college, houses a wealth of treasures.
Bonus – the unmissable pool of white water lilies, immortalised by the artist.
Where? 84 rue Claude Monet, 27620 Giverny
When? March 24-November 1, 9.30am-6pm.
How much? €4-9.50
Once called “Maison de Van Gogh”, the Ravoux Inn is a must-see in this little village, 30 km away from Paris. Why? Because here Vincent Van Gogh took his final breath, in his “chamber du suicide” measuring 7 metres squares, which has not been rented out since. Thus it has been able to keep its original decoration and antique furniture.
Where? 52-56 rue de General de Gaulle, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise
When? March March-October 29 2017. Visits Wed-Sun 10am-6pm.
How much? Free entry
From the walking stick by the chimney to the calendar stuck on the date 16th June 1970, everything in the six rooms of the former windmill inhabited by Aragon and his dear Elsa Triolet has remained in exactly the same state. What better way to spend a day than to retrace the footsteps of this couple - their lives and work.
Bonus – In the big dining room, the clink of the wheel which still receives the flow of water and the which Aragon loved to make his astonished vistors think about.
Where? Moulin de Villeneuve, rue de Villeneuve, 78730 Saint-Arnoult en Yvelines
When? Everyday from 2.00pm-6.00pm. Closed annually from 28 November - 3 February
How much? From €5-9
In this abode, once the house of the Gouverner and flanked by two two-toned towers, was the living place of jean Cocteau fomr 1947 until his death in 1963. The great dining room on the ground floor, the bedroom and the study on the first floor and been restored just as Cocteau lest them, right down to the smallest detail.
Bonus – The permanent exhibition rooms, each one corresponding to a theme: “Autoportrai d’un meconnu’, ‘Cocteau a Milly’, ‘La mode’, ‘Les amies’, etc.
Where? 15 rue du Lau, 91490 Milly-la-Forêt
When? March 1-October 31: Wed-Sun 2-7pm, November 10-January 12, Sat-Sun 2pm-6pm.
How much? €2.50-7.50