Carnavalet

The Carnavalet Museum is a good place to go if you are interested in learning about the history of Paris. Found at 23 Rue de Sevigne, this Paris institution is completely dedicated to the history of its home city. Its collections display thousands of interesting items and cover the transformation of Paris from an old village to the world-famous city that it is today. The various exhibits cater to adults and kids alike, and only helping to make this such a popular Paris attraction is the free general admission. Fees can apply for special exhibits. The Carnavalet is open Tuesday through Thursday. The closest metro stations are the Saint-Paul station and the Chemin Vert station.

Museum Buildings

Museum Buildings
Museum Buildings  Image: Nelson Minar (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

Two neighboring mansions house the Carnavalet collections. This wasn’t always the case, however. Originally, the Carnavalet Museum only occupied one of the mansions – the Hotel de Carnavalet. This mansion was built in 1544, and its name reflects the fact that it was owned at one point by Madame de Carnavalet. The Hotel de Carnavalet would eventually be renovated and transformed by the well-known architect, Francois Mansart, and served as the residence of Madame de Sevigne from 1677 to 1696. Madame de Sevigne is one of history’s most famous letter writers. She is also widely considered to be one of the great icons of French literature. The Hotel de Carnavalet was purchased by the Municipal Council of Paris in 1866 and opened as a museum in 1880. By the end of the 20th century, it had become so popular that the decision was made to annex a neighboring mansion building so that there would be more museum space. This neighboring mansion is known as the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. It also dates back to the 16th century. Among the former residents of the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau was Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau himself. A noble representative, he was murdered in revenge for voting for the execution of Louis XVI. Both Louis XVI and Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau died on the same day – January 20, 1793.

Collections

Collections
Collections

The permanent collections at the Carnavalet Museum are broken up to represent different periods of the city’s history. There is a collection that revolves around the time when Paris was just the village of Lutetia, a collection that covers the medieval era, another collection that highlights the Renaissance as well as the Wars of Religion and a collection that focuses on the French Revolution. The rest of the collections include one that delves into the history of Paris during the 19th century and another that highlights 20th century Paris. Among the many interesting things that the Carnavalet Museum collections specifically display are a medieval sculpture of the head of the Virgin Mary, 16th century paintings that depict Madame de Sevigne and other famous people of the time, chessmen that Louis XVI used to distract himself with while imprisoned and awaiting execution, various personal effects that belonged to Marie Antoinette, the piece of paper that Robespierre was in the act of signing when he was seized by National Convention soldiers, Napolean’s favorite case of toiletries, a watch-chronometer made of gold that belonged to Emile Zola and 20th century photographs of Paris.

Hotels Near Carnavalet Museum

Hotels Near Carnavalet Museum
Hotels Near Carnavalet Museum

Many Paris visitors understandably attempt to find accommodations near the Carnavalet Museum. This has to do with the quality of the museum and the overall agreeability of the general area as a travel base. Not very far from the museum, for example, are the River Seine and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Basically, the hotels near the Carnavalet Museum are pretty much centrally located and offer proximity to all the great Paris attractions. Among the best places to start when trying to find hotels near the museum is the nearby street, Rue de Rivoli. According to class, the Pavillon Hotel de la Reine is among the closest 4 star hotels and the Turenne Marais Hotel one of the closest 3 star establishments. The Le Relais du Marais Hotel is a nearby 2 star hotel.

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