It’s a sad day for museum lovers and Versailles Century enthusiasts.  As of today, 3 October, 2016, the Carnavalet Museum in Paris is closed for a massive 3-year program of renovations.  If all goes well, it should re-open in the autumn of 2019.

A facade in the main courtyard of the Carnavalet Museum.

A facade in the main courtyard of the Carnavalet Museum.

A former hotel particulier, or private aristocratic residence, indeed the onetime home of the Marquise de Sévigné, letter writer extraordinaire, the complex was built between the sixteenth and nineteenth century, with the most celebrated share of the work completed by Mansart in the reign of Louis XIV.

An equestrian statue of Louis XIV presides over a 17C courtyard of the museum.

A statue of Louis XIV presides over an early 17C courtyard at the Carnavalet Museum.

The buildings were eventually acquired by the municipality of Paris to serve as a museum of the city’s history.  It was one of the first museums to purchase and install rooms of historic interest.  We find the furniture from Marcel Proust’s famous cork-lined bedroom here, for instance.

Proust's bedroom decor.

Proust’s bedroom decor in the Carnavalet Museum.

The museum is dear to us at Versailles Century for its important collections of fine and decorative art of the reigns of Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI.

An 18C salon in the Carnavalet Museum.

An 18C salon in the Carnavalet Museum.

I’ll miss it while it’s out of commission, but I’m pleased that it’s getting an overhaul.  I didn’t know that this closure was coming when I was there in late March of 2016, but I remember thinking that the place needed a good scrub if nothing else.  I look forward to visiting the refreshed museum in 2019.  In the interim, I plan to bring you words and images about the highlights of the collections.

Weirdly, the museum’s English-language webpages don’t even mention the closure.  Nonetheless, if you’d like to read about the collections and the museum’s history, you can find the English pages here:

If anyone out there has any knowledge of the plans for the renovation, do share in the comments!