On the Trail of the Belle Epoque of Proust

In the morning we took the number 28 bus to the boulevard Haussmann to see the Musée Jaquemart-André, a distinctive Belle Epoque building inaugurated in 1876. It was designed by Henry Parent, who had lost the competition for constructing the Opera House, to hold and develop Edouard André’s collection of mostly 18th century works. In 1881, André married Nellie Jaquemart, who had painted a portrait of him in 1872. She worked with him to arrange and expand the collection, and continued working on it even after his death in 1894. Our initial goal in visiting was to get an idea of the milieu that Proust wrote about, even if he was never invited there. A large courtyard, entered via a passageway under the house, welcomed visitors’ carriages to the grand entrance, which faces away from the street.


The rooms were designed from the start to display André’s collection.

The Picture Gallery, an antechamber leading into the Grand Salon

The double winding staircase leading from the indoor garden to the second floor was Henry Parent’s revenge for the lost opera contract.

This is the left half of the double winding staircase.

There was a special exhibit: a collection by Anna Koplowitz, from Zurbarán to Rothko, which included a famous Modigliani portrait.


These pictures are from the museum website. We bought the book (Jaquemart-André museum Official Guide, culturespaces and EPCOM, Nanterre, reprinted 2015) and some souvenirs at the shop. Wonderful place, but not all the audio files had English versions.

Afterward we had a leisurely and delicious déjeuner at Restaurant 154, just a couple doors down from the museum. Service was fast and yet we lingered. Check the link for a 3D virtual visit to the dining room.

We then walked to 102 Blvd Haussmann, where Proust  lived and worked in a cork-lined room before being obliged to move in 1919. It is now occupied by CIC Bank. One can visit this room, but the furnishings are now in the Carnavalet Museum, currently closed for renovations.IMG_3027




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