The Maison de Balzac is one of the most charming and atypical museums in Paris, the perfect place to go if you want to visit an interesting place for French history and French literature and avoid the crowd. On the hill of Passy, in this modest house with a courtyard and a garden lived for seven years the French novelist Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850), when he decided to leave the city center and his creditors by renting this secluded place, from 1840 to 1847, under his housekeeper’s name. Should any unwelcome callers manage to get past the door, Balzac would escape via a back-door and go down to the river via a network of underground cellars. This is in this place that he wrote one of the masterpiece of French literature, La comédie humaine (the Human Comedy),  a multi-volume collection of interlinked novels and stories depicting French society between 1815 and 1848. While visiting the house, you can discover his office where he wrote all day drinking coffee (the famous coffee pot is still there!), you will see manuscripts, artworks, first editions of books but also a large genealogical table which the novelist drew up to indicate all the family relationships between the various characters of his Human Comedy. Outside the house, there is an adorable small garden, the perfect place to enjoy the sun during spring and summer. And if you like old houses turned into museums, you should also be interested by the two other literary museums owned by the city of Paris, the Maison de Victor Hugo (on Place des Vosges) and the Musée de la Vie Romantique (former house of the writer George Sand). Last but not least, visiting the collections of this museum is always free, and you only have to pay if you want to visit temporary exhibitions.

 

 

 

 

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