Musee Nissim de Camondo, Paris
Since this was my 4th trip to Paris, I was looking for some new places to explore and chose this museum (thanks to fellow VTer ExParisGuy's tip, check out his pages, excellent stuff)
This gem, overlooking Parc Monceau, is full of beautiful furniture and art, a time capsule of life in the early 1900s.
The property was inherited in 1910 by Compte Moise de Camondo from his father Nissim, a Sephardic Jew who settled in Paris along with his brother Abraham who owned the adjoining mansion. Nissim and Abraham had founded one of the largest banks in the Ottoman Empire. Moise demolished the old house and built the current mansion, designed to look like the Petit Trianon at Versailles.
When Moise died in 1935 he gifted the property to France (Union Centrale des Arts Decoratifs) with the stipulations that the furniture and art were to remain in their original locations and the museum be named for his son Nissim who was killed fighting for France in WWI. Tragically and ironically, after his death, Moise's only other child and her family (daughter Beatrice, her husband and 2 children) were transported to Auschwitz during WWII and died there before the end of the war.
Located: 63 rue de Monceau
Metro: Villiers or Monceau
Closed: Monday and Tuesday
Open hours: 10am-5pm
Included on museum pass
While taking a walk during lunch, a few blocks from my office, I discovered the Musée Nissim de Camondo. I didn't know this place existed, but now I have to place it high on the list of my favorite Parisian museums.
The museum was once a private home belonging to the Camondo family. Count Moise Camondo donated his Parisian home to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs upon his death in 1935 as a memorial to his only son, Nissim, a pilot who was killed in aerial combat in 1917.
Moise was a collector of 18th Century decorative arts, and the museum is dazzling from several perspectives. There are objects woven to history-- tables and vases that belonged to Marie Antoinette, carpets that were in the palace at Versailles. But more interesting is the sense of the whole; an amazing ensemble, all as it was in 1935. The kitchen of the house is fascinating, with its huge stove and servant dining room.
The mansion originally belonged to Moise's parents. After he inherited it, Moise had the house rebuilt in 1912 to fit the style of his 18th century collections.
As you stroll through the rooms, viewing the incredible furniture, art, carpets, and architectural details, you really get a feel for how the wealthy lived. Be sure to appreciate the suggestive engravings outside Moise's bedroom. In one, a servant suggests to her mistress that rather than asking for an enema, she should find a husband!
Moise's cousin Isaac de Camondo also was an avid art collector. He donated his collection, which included a large collection of Impressionist works, to the Louvre in 1911. Many of his donations are now on display at the Musée d'Orsay.
Tragedy continued to haunt the Camando family. Moise's only other child, B?atrice, was killed at Auschwitz along with her husband, son, and daughter.
The museum is at 63, rue Monceau, in the 8th; it borders Parc Monceau. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am until 5:30 pm. Entrance is 6 € (reduced rate: 4.50 €).
Metro: Villiers or Monceau.
This museum was at one time the personal home of Count Moise de Camondo, a prominent Jewish banker who was brought up in Istanbul, Turkey. The museum opened one year after he died, in 1935. The remainder of his family perished in Nazi Concentration Camps during WW II.
Not only are the art collections of note, but one can also tour the service areas of the house which demonstrate the daily life of the privileged class in the early 1900's.
Entrance to this museum is included in the Paris Museum Pass.
It is located on the Southern edge of Parc Monceau.