Located in a Renaissance mansion of the Marais, medieval heart of Paris, the Carnavalet museum presents a true evocation of parisian life from Roman times to 1900.
This museum dedicated to Paris memory is formed of two famous XVIth and XVIIth mansions offering a circuit of more than 140 rooms displaying archeological remains from prehistory to modern times. The rooms from 1789-95 are full of sacred mementos such as models of the Bastille, original Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, tricolore and liberty caps, sculpted allegories of Reason, crockery with revolutionary slogans, and execution orders to make you shed a tear for the royalists as well. However, the building itself is of note : although it was built in 1548 for Jacques de Ligneris, who was President of the Parlement, it was extensively remodelled in 1660 by the architect Francois Mansart, who incorporated the earlier sixteenth-century work of the sculptor Jean Goujon in his facade, still visible today.
The name Carnavalet comes from the breton name of one of its XVIth century owners, Kernevenoy. One of Goujon’s sculptures, originally an allegorical figure of Abundance, has been reworked as a carnival mask to provide a punning reference to the mansion’s name. The museum has recently been extended, and linked to the neighbouring mansion, the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau. The Marquise de Sévigné (1629-1696), a notable wit, distinguished member of the aristocracy famous for the letters she wrote to her daughter, resided in this house for some 20 years.
Collections of archeological pieces going back to the Bronze and Iron age, artefacts, coins and medals, more than 500 000 drawings, prints and photographs form the precious stock of iconographical documentation of the capital. The quality of the collections and their ever increasing development attract historians and university researchers. Visitors feel like going on a trip back into time, explaining both the principles of archeology stratums and the technological and social evolutions clear leading to a better understanding of architecture and urbanism in an old city like Paris.
Location : 23 Rue de Sévigné 75003 Paris
Phone : 01 44 59 58 58
How to get there :
- Metro line 1 or 8 : St Paul, Chemin Vert
- RER: Châtelet-les-Halles
- Bus : 29, 69, 76, 96
- Everyday : from 10 am to 5.40 pm
- Closed on Mondays and public holidays
Official website : https://www.carnavalet.paris.fr