I finally stumbled upon number 158 on Boulevard Haussmann, a street full of handsome residences I could only dream of living in one day. Only a small red banner tucked behind the trees indicated signs of this little musée, as if it didn't want to be found. Oh, subtlety, even when being pretentious, has always been such a French thing.
The end of July marks the second month that I've been in the City of Lights. When I haven't been traveling, I've been strolling the streets, getting to know each arrondissement and its personality. Today, apartment affairs took me to the 8th for the signing of dossiers, so I had the opportunity to explore this very proper part of Paris with mostly large office buildings and elegant residences.
In the very French tradition (of secret passages and courtyards), the grand entrance of the mansion was tucked away in the back, led by a path from what one would believe to be very typical French front doors off Boulevard Haussmann.
Édouard André and wife Nelie were the sole owners of this residence. They had no children, but as passionate and knowledgeable patrons of art, spent their whole lives collecting Venetian, Dutch, and Flemish paintings, tapestry and statues to collect in this home.
The décor and rooms all reflect an aristocrat's life in 18th century France: Édouard was born into a Protestant banking family. Nelie, however, I will let you discover on your own as to where she came from. :)
The home reminded me much of the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island, USA. Unlike art in homes there however, which were bought in entire collections (just to reflect one's wealth), the paintings in Jacquemart-André were a life's worth of work, curated by far more knowledgeable patrons who devoted themselves to art.
The first surprise of the mansion came with the sheer size and grandeur of it all. Property is incredibly expensive in Paris, and the fact that this mansion still stands today on one of the most sought after streets is quite incredible (most of the mansions along 5th ave in NYC have long been destroyed to pave way for modern infrastructure).
And the second surprise? The incredible variety in rooms. I won't spoil it with photos, but from green rooms to libraries, ballrooms to studies, rooms for art collections to actual residential bedrooms, this property has it all.
Oh, and if you're looking for some afternoon sun. Here are some free benches just in front of the museum. :)
1. This is a gem of a museum in Paris. Go during the weekdays to avoid crowds.
2. The visit comes with an audio guide for free, and takes about 1.5 hours.
3. Come early in the afternoon so you can have some afternoon tea in the lovely, parisian, highly-rated café afterwards.
4. Admission: 10 Euros for students/ 12 Euros for others