ReportageAfter four years of renovation, the Museum of the History of Paris, which occupies two splendid mansions of the Marais, will reopen on May 29. The opportunity to rediscover its collections in spectacular settings.
The crash of the jackhammers has been silent for months, the ballet of the workers has stopped. The fine plaster dust which covered the floors was cleaned, the tarpaulins protecting the furniture and paintings removed. Closed since 2016, the Carnavalet Museum in Paris is ready to welcome the public from May 29, after a long renovation project.
“We had to give unity to the architectural patchwork without standardizing it, adapting it to the standards of the XXIe century without distorting it. »Valérie Guillaume, director of Carnavalet
Four years of work and some 58 million euros were not too much to rejuvenate the oldest museum in the capital, where the history of Paris has been written since 1880, from the Neolithic to the present day. Rockfall, disjointed masonry, roofs in poor condition, floors threatening to give way… The rescue had become urgent.
And there are many constraints: making the 3,900 square meter visit route more fluid without benefiting from additional space, improving the legibility of objects, while showing as many pieces – 3,800 out of a collection of 625,000 works.
All without breaking the charm of two splendid private mansions of the Marais, that of Ligneris, where lived in the 17th century.e century the woman of letters Madame de Sévigné, and the hotel Le Peletier in Saint-Fargeau. “We had to give unity to the architectural patchwork without standardizing it, adapting it to the standards of the XXIe century without distorting it ”, summarizes Valérie Guillaume, director of Carnavalet. “A work of haute couture”, adds scenographer Nathalie Crinière.
By moving the main entrance of rue des Francs-Bourgeois to its initial address, rue de Sévigné, François Chatillon, the chief architect of historic monuments in charge of the project, had the good idea to extend the cobblestones of the courtyard. honor even in the entrance formerly covered with white stone.
Wherever possible, he unraveled the not always happy transformations dating from the 1980s, removed certain superfluous fabrics or wallpapers from the walls in favor of a white paint evoking plaster of Paris. It is in the rooms dedicated to the Revolution that the changes are most striking: the once closed windows have been opened, walls have been broken, the original height has been regained after destruction of false ceilings.
As in a new apartment where, by removing a carpet, we discover a linoleum, which itself hides a parquet floor, the project managers went from surprise to surprise. “The more we undressed the building, confides Nathalie Crinière, the more things we found, elements of rosettes and moldings, for example, that’we kept in some cases. ”
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