Sunday, January 13, 2013

Maison de Balzac

Friday, January 11, 2013 Maison de Balzac

Walking around in the rain on New Years day I stumbled on Rodin's famed sculpture of French writer, Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) in a bathrobe on bd Montparnasse.
New Year's resolution #1 - finally visit Balzac's musee!
You'll find it set back from rue Raynouard at number 47 in the village of Passy (Metro:Passy) 75016. It's about two steps from the Eiffel Tower yet has a country feel in the middle of Paris. Oh and it's free.
Balzac's writing room with his original writing desk. Each room has a specific theme with bilingual commentary.
Many, many sculptures, busts and portraits of Balzac and family members. Did Balzac ever uncross his arms?
Quotations everywhere, many from the letters of Madame Hanska, Balzac's wife of a mere 5 months but devoted correspondent of over 20 years. Evidently Balzac worked nonstop.
This one says, "To work, I get up every night at midnight, write for 8 hours, lunch for a quarter of an hour, work another 5 hours, eat diner, then go to bed and begin again the day after".
One whole room is filled with line drawings made by engraver Charles Huard of every character from La Comédie humaine (1000 characters in over a hundred books!)
Another room contains facsimilies of Balzac's manuscripts. Sometimes a single page was rewritten 16 times!

In the same room this tres charmante lamp with Balzac's handwriting on it.

Also highly covetable - the cafetière de Balzac. Sadly there is no substantial giftshop at the Balzac. Who wouldn't give their right arm for this stunner?
Not a cafetière from Balzac's home but seen in an antique shop, Aux présents du passé at 50, rue de l'assomption 75016
As was the DOG OF THE DAY at the same shop.
Voila!
The entire dollhouse tableaux in Aux présents du passé's vitrine.
Paris has at least a dozen free museums like the Maison de Balzac. Many of them as intimate and charming as the Balzac and every one offers guides to the others like Victor Hugo's home or the Cognacq-Jay. I usually bypass these for the bigger shows but this time I'd like to hit as many as possible. Pourquoi pas?

33 comments:

  1. Your page is lovely:) That teapot is quelque chose!
    Love it..

    What a way to spend New Years day!

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    1. The wish was made on New Years day and fulfilled this past Friday. Still better late than etc.
      So much to see in Paris!

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  2. Bonjour Carol. Looks like *someone* is enjoying her stay in Paris! Thank you for taking us to le Musée Balzac. I had never been there. I would love getting my hands on that small dog from the toy store, for my collection. Très mignon! Bon séjour à Paris et bonnes visites... Veronique (French Girl in Paris)

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  3. Ooooppppssss.... Just realized I typed my signature too fast "French Girl in Seattle," of course. Wishful thinking, ha! ha! :-)

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    1. Hahaha Veronique...I guess the wish never goes away especially if you are away...

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  4. The dollhouse tableaux in the vitrine Veronique is probably sold ensemble rather than piece by piece since it was really an antique shop per se
    Aux présents du passé
    50, rue de l'assomption
    75016
    tel: 01 42 24 06 08

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  5. Might have to pay them a visit when I am in town :-) Thank you for the contact info, Carol :-)

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  6. I love that you are featuring museums! I will go there & love the quotations, if nothing else! Have you been to Musée Delacroix?

    http://www.musee-delacroix.fr/fr/le-musee/atelier-au-musee/presentation

    It's such a nice space, if nothing else...but a lot more, in both cases.
    Now, did Rodin say that was Balzac's bathrobe, or did Carolg??

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    1. What a good idea!
      I plumb forgot the Delacroix..haven't visited in years!
      Absolutement oui on Balzacs bathrobe.
      He was a lounger and a self-admitted slob...a kindred spirit!

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  7. I love your photos of Paris in the rain. Sad to say, I've never read Balzac and I get him confused with Victor Hugo...another writer I've never gone out of my way to read. But I like the Balzac museum -- it looks like a nice quiet place to spend a Sunday afternoon and your observation that sadly, there is no substantial gift shop there made me laugh. (Because I do judge a museum by its gift shop. True story. And the British Museum is the BEST.)

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    1. Anonymous9:33 PM

      U would like him
      Full of bite & jealousy etc
      Try Cousin Bette to start with

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  8. T L K1:26 PM

    Merci...and enfin! I will have to make this museum a must-see on my spring visit. I've always been very curious about it.
    Hope you are having un sejour bien amusant!
    Elizabeth

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  9. A Lemons2:04 PM

    Thanks for all your work on PB.
    It's a little bite of yum every day.

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  10. There is always something so interesting to find on PB - a lovely assemblage of Paris.

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  11. Such a find! As for that marble statue --- I thought hair mousse was a modern invention!

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  12. Lane Rosenthal6:48 PM

    Hi Carol, I enjoy your blog every day but only rarely add a comment. Was glad to see a post about La Maison de Balzac--there are so many wonderful and interesting places off the beaten path in Paris. In your quest to visit the smaller ones, may I suggest Le Musée national Gustave-Moreau in the 9ème - 14, rue de la Rochefoucauld, if you haven't been already? Living vicariously through you--Paris me manque beaucoup!
    Lane

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    1. A truly wonderful musee and time to return!
      Merci Lane
      Carolg

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  13. There is so much to see in Paris indeed. I've been to the Musee Victor Hugo, but not to Maison de Balzac. It looks wonderful, I'll add it to my ever expanding wishlist. Actually I need to read some of these writers too. Planning on reading VH later in the year during my Paris holiday (The Hunchback of Notre Dame).

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  14. Another fun visit. Love the journal page and dog of the day. :) You are finding more fun things to share. Free is good too. :)

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  15. I really like the first photo - the Balzac statue at night.

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  16. Carol,
    The statue of Balzac on rue Vavin has always been a favorite for me. One year when I went to look at it I couldn't find it! I felt disoriented and walked several blocks in each direction muttering to myself and feeling confused. Surely I couldn't have forgotten where it was? Turns out the city had removed it for cleaning and repair. It was back the next year.

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  17. According to the quote, the guy wrote 13 hours a day! No wonder he didn't have time to get dressed! Lovely post. We'll revisit the museum, but I remember liking it from an earlier visit. Your sketchbook pages are marvelous.

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  18. Feel ashamed reading this since my dentist is on the same street and I've never been to this museum. And it's free too. *hanging head* 2013 has to change. Thanks, Carol!

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  19. Anonymous11:08 AM

    I love your blog! and your dog of the day. Does France love cats, too? May we occasionally have a cat of the day, week, month or year, lol?

    From a cat lover,

    Judy

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  20. Here is another free museum and a good one:Musée de la Vie Romantique. If you have not visited, I urge you to go. This museum is located at the bottom of Montmartre (about 4 blocks from the Moulin Rouge) in the Scheffer-Renan mansion. Scheffer's painting studio is intact.

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  21. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Thanks so much, Carol. You have no idea how much I look forward to reading parisbreakfast with my morning coffee. It is so elegant!

    Best,

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  22. Fascinating - thanks for sharing! I love seeing famous people's works in progress. Then I don't feel so bad about my multiple revisions!

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  23. Exquisite! Love to know some of Balzac's writings. Glad to have a tour this summer. :D Got my eye on your next posts.

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  24. Oh this was such fun to read, Carol...and I love all the comments offering up names of other intriguing little musees.

    Your photo of the very edited manuscript pages was so interesting, offering insights into a fine mind at work.

    The antique shop looks to be a gem, too! And, of course, you captured the lovely coffee pot's charm to perfection.

    xo

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  25. that sounds like a place I'd have most definitely sought out. Good for you! wonderful sketches here--love 'em--so lively! Balzac would've approved.

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  26. Pourquoi pas indeed!

    London is the same. There are so many Bijoux museums here. I always want to visit them all and that's impossible.

    Loved this. Those manuscripts and line drawings are divine. Thank you for sharing:-)

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  28. Have never been to the Musee Balzac but it is on my list of things to do! Merci pour la visite. I was at the Musee Bourdelle last thursday which I had never visited either... after all these years!
    It was beautiful, especially the Atelier. Bises

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