Manageable Museums: Little-known Art Treasures in Paris Part 3


Blogathon June 16

Musée Marmottan Monet

Hidden by the Jardins du Ranelagh in the residential 16th arrondissement, Musée Marmottan Monet is, as the name implies, the largest repository in the world of Claude Monet’s creative output, but it also displays more than 300 artworks by other masterful Impressionists and Post Impressionists such as Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas, and Alfred Sisley to name drop a few.

The current exhibition, “La toilette, naissance de l’intime” (The Toilet and the Birth of Intimacy–sounds so much better in French, n’est pas?), reveals the intimate moments of feminine grooming, painted in exquisite loveliness by artists from the fifteenth century to today. The earlier paintings are worth gazing at, of course, but the paintings by Pierre Bonnard, Manet, Morisot, Degas, and Lautrec are especially appealing. The show closes July 5, 2015, but the catalog is available through their website, and the museum itself is a neighborhood delight (though a bit difficult to find at first). Certainly, if you are a Monet fan, this one is for you. And even if you’re not, there are surprising pieces to linger over.

For more on the exhibit:

Jardins du Ranelagh

Before embarking on more Parisian museum adventures, you may want to rest awhile in the Ranelagh gardens in front of the museum. If children have tagged along, so much the better. This fashionable triangular park, originally built by Baron Haussmann, in 1860, has grassy play areas, swings, a carousel, pony rides, and a marionette theater as well as plenty of park benches.

More in Montmartre

If music has the power to move you, find your way to Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement to what was the tiniest museum in all of Paris: The Musée-Placard d’Erik Satie translated as the Cupboard Museum of Erik Satie. And a cupboard is about all it is or ever was. Satie lived here from 1890 to 1898 in a room so petit he called it a closet. It was here that the obsessed composer conducted a short-lived love affair with his neighbor, the model and painter Suzanne Valadon. Unfortunately, she left him after six months. Equally unfortunate was the closure of the museum in 2008, but you can read the plaque on the outside of the building, at 6 rue Cortot, and just imagine what it was like to be rejected living in this hovel.

Just a few steps away, at 12 rue Cortot, is a museum you can actually enter: Musée de Montmartre (  This mid-seventeenth century house is supposedly the oldest building in Montmartre. The museum has a long history dating back to the 1680s when the actor known as Rose de Rosimond lived here. He also performed with Molière’s troupe and died on stage while acting in Le Malade Imaginaire. Celebrated Impressionist art dealer Père Tanguy also lived here. The City of Paris renovated the house in 1922.

Various artists such as Renoir, Émile Bernard, and Raoul Dufy used the space for both their residences and studios including Suzanne Valadon, who moved here in 1898 (perhaps to escape Satie, but I digress with speculation).

Restored and reopened in Oct 2014, the site now includes expanded exhibition space in Hôtel Demarne and the Bel Aire House, the studio-apartment of the artists Suzanne Valadon and her son Maurice Utrillo, and the three Renoir Gardens so named to honor the artist who painted many of his celebrated works here including “Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette.” Hôtel Demarne features temporary exhibits.

Established as a museum in 1960, Musée de Montmartre features work of Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani among other artists and their creations including posters, paintings, and photos that give life to Montmartre’s early history, from images of rousing cabaret nights to depictions of the frolicking Can-Can dancers and the origins of Modern Art.

It’s current inaugural exhibit, “The Spirit of Montmartre and Modern Art, 1875 – 1910,” displayed in the Hôtel Demarne until September 15, 2015, immerses you in the era of the avant-garde artists living, working, and shaking up the traditional art world at the turn of the 20th century.

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Museums, Paris


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