Numerous palaces and private mansions have survived the transformation of Paris over the centuries to form part of the city’s heritage, and not merely for historical reasons. While some of them, like the Elysée Palace, the Palais-Royal and the Palais Brongniart, are the seat of French government institutions, many others have become cultural venues.
The Palais de Chaillot in the 8th arrondissement has 1930s architecture and houses several museums; a few hundred metres on, the Palais de Tokyo has become a key venue for contemporary art in Paris. The Petit Palais near the Champs-Elysées focuses on classical art, while the much-visited Palais de la Découverte next door does an excellent job of popularizing science.
Some private mansions have also been turned into museums, like the sumptuous Musée Carnavalet (closed for renovation work) in the Marais, the Musée Jacquemart-André in the 7th arrondissement and the Musée Nissim de Camondo in the 8th arrondissement.
Art in mansion houses
Many museums in the capital are former mansion houses. Visitors will enjoy the intimate atmosphere of these places steeped in history. Some museums have opened in houses that were once the home of artists.
This is the case for the Musée Eugène Delacroix, which is housed in the apartment of the eponymous painter as well as his workshop, situated in a private garden. Victor Hugo also lived on the 2nd floor of the Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée, which is now the Maison de Victor-Hugo.