Once in front of the 16, rue Chaptal, you will first enter a charming alleyway leading you to the museum of romantic life. This alleyway sets the tone for your visit: a quiet atmosphere tinged with romanticism. A museum which is quite aptly named… You will find the permanent collections in the back of the alley, inside the sumptuous hôtel particulier which was the house of the painter Ary Scheffer.
Renowned portraitist of the 19th century, and very appreciated by the royal family of the time, Ary Scheffer’s house is known in particular for having hosted a lot of artists and intellectuals in its salons, amongst which some illustrious persons like Delacroix, George Sand, Chopin, Liszt, Dickens… Meeting place of the crème de la crème of Paris, the museum of the romantic life was therefore one of the major places of the romantic movement in Paris, which made also “New-Athens Neighbourhood” the principal intellectual neighbourhood of Paris.
As for the hôtel particulier, it has been renovated during the 1980s in order to reproduce the salons’ atmosphere of that time. This goal has been reached! You will push the small front door with the feeling that you are inviting yourself in, and will then visit the few rooms of this nice house discovering Scheffer’s and other contemporary artist’s works. The museum isn’t very big, and the (free) visit lasts about 30 minutes. Time enough to immerse yourself in this very particular atmosphere, which you will only find in Parisian hôtel particuliers.
Outside, on either side of the paved courtyard, are two studios, today dedicated to (paying) temporary exhibitions, and which used to be the artist’s workshop and living room. It is actually in the latter one that Scheffer welcomed his guests and where the artistic and literary activity was in full swing. Please note that, from April through October, there is a tea house in the courtyard. Drinks and cold dishes are on the menu of this… very romantic place.