Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Musee Gustave Moreau with Elaine Sciolino

Does your bedroom look like this?

Or your fireplace? Who has a fireplace...

Do you have stacks of decorative tchotchkes like this (a clue where you can find them later).

Malheureusement my cyclamen are not so glorious, in fact they're non-existent. 

Visit Musee Gastave Moreau at 14, rue de la Rochefoucauld, 75009 M Trinite. You will encounter all these treasures up close. The walls are filled floor to ceiling with his works and his collections.

Moreau was a leading Symbolist painter and teacher (1826 -1898) and  friend of Redon, Degas, Chasseriau.

Restoration has finished at last. The Moreau is one of Paris's best small, secret museums.
They changed how you can view his massive collection of drawings. Instead of a circular bookcase allowing just one person to view the pictures there are now banks of drawings and many stools upstairs in the atelier.

It you love to draw and looking at drawings, this is an extraordinary experience.

The personal rooms downstairs are tiny, but upstairs the space is glorious. That's Moreau's watercolor box in the glass case by the way. Start drooling. And paintings in various stages of development, another rare treat.

I love circular staircases to look at, not climb.

The day before I got a grand tour of upper rue des Martyrs

With ex-pat NYTimes journalist/author Elaine Sciolino. Remember her terrific book, LA SEDUCTION? Couldn't these tchotchkes go nicely in your new small mansion in the 9th arrondissement? Elaine has a great eye for spotting hidden treasures and she's as bubbly as the best Champagne.

Did you see her NYTimes story on single-product shops on rue des Martyrs? She has a book coming put in November on RDM, THE ONLY STREET IN PARIS:Life on the rue des Martyrs. It's full of fabulous nuggets of Paris info. For example, I didn't know there are 85 churches in Paris. I think I've only hit a mere 6-7 thus far.

I didn't know every building in Paris (since the year 2000) must restore it's facade every 10 years (except churches). Ever gone back to your favorite restaurant and it's covered in scaffolding yet still open? In NYC it would be closed for fear of lawsuits. Nuggets like that make you feel practically Parisian reading Elaine's book. Yes, I couldn't resist the cherry cup at L'Objet Qui Parle. I'm on my way to creating my own Moreau-esque musee.

Just across the street divine artisan shop (one of the few left at 97, rue des Martyrs).

There is artisan Laurence Gillery (included in Elaine's book) back in her atelier gold-leafing something or other.Her main obsession is restoring mercury barometers back to full working order. Laurence may be one of the last in Paris able to do this. I wondered if she ever re-gilded any of the Moreau collection - so many frames! Could be a goldmine (no pun intended). If you've ever worked with gold leaf you'll know it is the most fiddly, delicate stuff on the planet. Some pastry chefs like to add it to their creations. It is edible by the way but don't lick your gold frames. Varnish and shellac is not.

While Elaine and Laurence bavardé (chatter too fast in French for moi) I take in this perfectly lit atelier with gorge skylights overhead.

Here Elaine is browsing the Fab bargain books(only outside) at Librairie Vendredi also in her book, but that's another story for another PB post.

If you're one of those people who say, "I won't go there...too many Americans" (like my sister, who fortunately doesn't read my blog - one of the few) you'll Adore rue des Martyrs and Elaine's book. It's mostly locals & people-in-the know coming to this charming enclave in the 9th.
Watch a mini film of Elaine exploring RDM HERE
By the way we're collaborating on an illustrated Paris Map so you can get clues to the  street's secrets...very exciting!

I'm so delighted to have met Elaine. I loved her book, French Seduction. Her new book is full of engaging Parisian tales. Story-teller Elaine is a Scheherazade .
I went back Sunday to St.Denis for the free organ concert and survived to tell the tale. Divine. Elaine wrote about the marche St.Denis by the way.


  1. Judy G5:04 AM

    We are in Paris now and visited this exhibition. Glad you put it in your post. It was very amazing to see. Today we go to the Gothic Cathedral in St. Denis.
    Thank you for all your interesting posts.

  2. Looks like you two really enjoyed yourselves..so much in common..:)

    Love the aquarelle paintbox under glass..my glimpse of it..

    who knows ..si ta soeur ne lis pas tes billets "en secret?:)
    I would bet on it.

    1. D'accord, so won't take your bet.

      Diane in Denver

  3. Thank you for the tour - so much loveliness! I, too, and fascinated by old paintboxes with so many stories to tell.
    Speaking of stories, there must be a story about your sister and why she doesn't read your great blog - yikes! Let's just focus on that cheery cherry cup.

  4. The Gustave Moreau museum was on my list for years, and I finally got there in June. Fabulous! Those overdrawn paintings must be seen first hand, even your excellent photos don't give the full effect. A very handsome and informative employee was on hand to point out important works, which added to the experience. Moreau sure had a thing for his mother, didn't he? (BTW those are orchids not cyclamen)

    1. Oh I didn't know about his mother!! Will I never get flower species right? Probably not...

    2. I don't have particular knowledge of Moreau and his mother, but either a wall plaque or an enthusiastic (and handsome) guide stressed his close lifelong relationship with his mother. Once that idea was introduced, it was obvious that there were many more pictures of his mother, in juxtaposition with self portraits, than pictures of his wife. The portraits on his bedroom wall are pretty obvious.

  5. Speaking of things beautiful; your latest post about visiting the Gustave Moreau
    Museum with your friend Elaine, was wonderful.
    Did you know Matisse studied with him?

    1. I did know Matisse was his student but so many tidbits to put in. you have to skip over a few sometimes :))

  6. I didn't know the two of you are joining forces to
    do the map book. GREAT IDEA! Congratulations!

  7. Kathleen H12:00 PM

    the Denver Public Library (DPL) online said this about the "Seduction" book (so I think I will have to get it, "She demystifies the French way of life in an entertaining and personal narrative that carries us from the neighborhood shops of Paris to the halls of government, from the gardens of Versailles to the agricultural heartland. Seduction a la Francaise will charm you and encourage you to lower your defenses about the French. Pull up a chair and let Elaine Sciolino seduce you."

  8. FANTASTIC!!!!!!
    Thanks for posting such wonderful things!!!!

  9. EXACTLY what my bedroom looks like,

    except for the paintings and the staircase and

    the tiny little bed.

  10. Lynne C12:26 PM

    This was wonderful..I am still amazed at the cleanliness of the streets..I could spend days in those stores with my twin sister..then to finish off the afternoon at a pastry shop..priceless

    1. The streets are pretty clean depending...there is a lot of washing down early in the morning.
      Never in NYC.

  11. I'd seen the museum, but the upstairs was closed, so that was extra fun.

  12. Well, dear Carol, by now I think you know how much I love seeing your posts and keeping alive my hope to again visit Paris. Perhaps this post is my favorite of all...which may mean that several prior favorites will now be visiting my dreams asking...hey, what about us?

    I have long been a Moreau fan, and it was a delight to see these pictures of le Musee. Goodness, what treasures are there. Just the drawings would fill my eyes for many hours. And...although my current abode is certainly filled with many "treasures," I'd have to let my memory go back to Brooklyn in the 1970s to visualize my 1840s brownstone apartment with two fireplaces. One in the living room, one in the bedroom. Long time ago.

    Moving on to Rue des Martyres and the excellent writer and Parisienne Elaine Sciolino. It's grand that you two have connected, each enriching the other's appreciation of a beautiful place. Please do email me, Carol. I've another little connection to share with you.

    I think that map is going to be superb. xo

    1. 70 photos on my Flickr here:


  13. I'm sure by now, dear Carol, you know that plant is not a cyclamen but a phalanopsis orchid.

    1. Paris Breakfasts5:52 AM

      "You might think that.
      I couldn't possibly comment"
      My mother did not pass on to me her flower gene :(

  14. TAMARRA5:51 AM

    MERCI BEAUCOUP pour Elaine film on rue des Martyrs!!!!!!!
    (and for mentioning that she has a new book,
    can not wait to get it!!!)

  15. Boy, you were busy!
    The museum is wonderful, even though it seems a bit tiny; maybe that's what makes it wonderful :)
    Your spiral staircase photo is a gem.
    And, the Elaine portion of the post, is nice & spacious, one shop to another, versus the small museum's cramped look.
    Good job!

  16. Anonymous2:51 AM

    I have been a fan of r. des Martyres for many years. Although I am happy that others have finally "discovered" it, I worry this will now mean yet another secret special place of mine will become over-run and over hipster'd. This has happened on r. des Abbesses too, (not too far from there) and the changes over there over the past two to three years from small mom n' pop businesses to chain stores makes me sad. It has also caused rents to skyrocket, pushing out those very same Moms n' Pops who made it what it was for years. Thank you Carol for paying the proper homage to this street. Cheers

  17. 4 trips to Paris now for me and I still haven't managed to get to Rue des Martyrs! But there's always so much more to see and discover. I know I would love the Musee Moreau too- the small museums of Paris are indeed splendid. I went to Basilique St Denis in 2013, it is magnificent, how amazing to hear an organ concert there. Paris has so many great concerts too. Ah Paris.


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