TRAVEL with pat and lew

* musee Carnavalet … the history of Paris told through its art

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 23, 2010


the garden at the entrance of Musee de Carnavalet

Hotel Carnavalet was built in the 16th c. for the president of the Parliament of Paris. The museum now housed there tells the story of Paris from prehistoric days to the present, mostly through a stunning collection of paintings from many different eras in the city’s history.

The French Revolution

From the storming of the Bastille, to the death of King Louis and Marie Antionette , to the subsequent death of those who began the revolution, and ending with a new dictator named Napoleon, all aspects of the bloody years beginning in 1789 are portrayed in marvelous paintings and artifacts. Here is a selection of our favorites …

Corday, David's painting, Marat

One day in 1893, Jean Paul Marat was taking a bath and received a visit from Charlotte Corday. The result is portrayed in a powerful painting by Jacque-Louis David.

Jean-Paul Marat was a Swiss-born physician, political theorist, and scientist who became a radical journalist and politician. Marat was one of the more extreme voices of the French Revolution For the two months leading up to the downfall of the Girondin faction, he was one of the three most important men in France, alongside Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre. Then he was dead.

We have read several books on the French Revolution and still don’t have it straight. Maybe there is no “straight,” but it seems to us that a lot of people, some innocent like Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, and many evil, died in a decade long bloodbath that accomplished very little, since it ended up substituting the dictator Napoleon for the kings, who later returned anyway. But the art in the Carnavalet is superb.

Marie Antoinette


Paris … after the Revolution and Napoleon were gone

the glamor of 19th century Paris


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