Collection: Musée Carnavalet

The Carnavalet Museum – History of Paris is the oldest museum in the City of Paris. It opened to the public on February 25, 1880 in the Carnavalet hotel located in the heart of the Marais, one of the districts of the capital where the architectural heritage is particularly preserved.

Since 1880, the expansion of the museum has been significant, with the construction of new buildings and the annexation of the Le Peletier hotel in Saint-Fargeau in 1989. Today, the architecture of the museum offers a history of more than 450 years which extends over two private mansions. For more than 150 years, its constantly enriched collections have retraced the history of Paris, from prehistory to the present day.

The idea of ​​a museum dedicated to the history of Paris took hold during the Second Empire (1852-1870) as the capital expanded. In 1866, at the instigation of the prefect of the Seine Haussmann, and perhaps as a compensatory instrument for the Parisian destruction, the municipality acquired the Hôtel Carnavalet to house the new institution which was to document Paris, while carrying a particular attention to the presentation of the collections.

Since the creation of the museum, authentic objects have been collected, “having belonged” to a personality and thus holding a strong emotional, individual and collective charge. This is how the Carnavalet museum brings together, among other examples, the campaign necessities of Napoleon I , the souvenirs of the royal family but also those of the revolutionaries, Zola's watch as well as the room and personal objects of Marcel Proust .

Two pioneering missions aimed at documenting the transformations of Paris also provide a lasting structure to the museum: the monitoring of excavations and demolitions thus brings nearly 10,000 archaeological pieces to the museum, and orders for paintings or photographs of streets and neighborhoods integrate the collections.

Donations are the main method of acquisition. Since the creation of the museum, tens of thousands of donors have contributed to the creation and enrichment of the collections, today structured into 10 departments. The first donors (Jules Cousin, Théodore Vacquer and Alfred de Liesville) even worked at the Carnavalet museum!

Exceptional donations should be highlighted: in 1896, Georges Clemenceau offered the museum a painting that belonged to his father, the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”, attributed to Jean-Jacques Le Barbier or again in 1902, the Empress Eugénie, widow of Napoleon III, gives the cradle of the Prince Imperial designed by Victor Baltard. 

Today, the Carnavalet – History of Paris museum brings together more than 640,000 works, from prehistory to the present day. Paintings, sculptures, models, signs, drawings, engravings, posters, medals and coins, objects of history and memory, photographs, woodwork, decorations and pieces of furniture... complement each other to form a history and a memory of the capital, at unique character. The spirit of the place indeed encourages a visit rich in experiences and emotions.

18 products
Nighttime Festivities Held by President Loubet at the Elysée Palace in Honor of Alfonso XIII by William Samuel Horton
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Imprimerie Charles Verneau, Exposition Universelle, Palais de l'Optique, La Grande Lunette de 1900 by Georges Paul Leroux
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"Cirque d'Hiver" (horsewoman) by Jean-Alcide-Henri Boichard
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Place Blanche and Moulin Rouge, night effect by Edouard Zawiski
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Night Party at the Universal Exhibition in 1889, under the Eiffel Tower by Georges Roux
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The Shopgirl (La midinette) by Edgar Chahine
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The Halles Market by Léon Lhermitte
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The Halles Market (detail) by Léon Lhermitte
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The Halles Market (detail) by Léon Lhermitte
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€112,95
Petit Palais des Beaux-Arts. Elevation of the posterior façade by Charles Louis Girault
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Parisian, Place de la Concorde by Jean Béraud
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Hope (L'Espérance) by Auguste Gulbert-Martin
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Young Woman with an Umbrella (Jeune femme à l’ombrelle) by Eugène Grasset
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Auction sale at the Hôtel Drouot, the "Chat Noir" collection by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen
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Armenonville, the Evening of the Longchamp Grand Prix by Henri Gervex
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An Evening at the Pre-Catelan by Henri Gervex
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"Paris, exposition 1900" by François Flameng
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Young Woman with a Fan by Eugène Grasset
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