Musee de la Vie Romantique in Paris

Learn About the History of Romanticism at this Free Paris Museum

The entrance to the Musée de la Vie Romantique
OTTAVI Alain / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0 

A tribute to the dramatic emergence and tradition of 18th-19th century French Romanticism, the Musée de la Vie Romantique boasts a free permanent collection

Specifically focused on French Romantic writers, and more specifically to the ideas and life of prolific writer, political thinker and libertine George Sand, this quaint museum is housed in a 19th-century residence at the foot of Montmartre called the Hôtel Scheffer-Renan.

It once served as an artist's studio.

While the permanent collection won't cost you a euro, temporary exhibits can be enjoyed for a moderate entry price. Exploring various aspects of European Romanticism, these temporary shows have recently focused on painting and romantic-style gardens. If you're interested in the history of French literature or just want to see an unassuming but decidedly charming museum, I thoroughly recommend an excursion here. 

Location and Contact Information

The museum is located near hilly Montmartre in the 9th arrondissement (district) of Paris, part of the scenic Grands Boulevards neighborhood. The bustling Opera and Madeleine shopping and business districts are nearby, as are the famous Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Department Stores.

Hôtel Scheffer-Renan
16 rue Chaptal, 9th arrondissement
Metro Stop: Blanche, St-Georges, Pigalle, or Liege
Tel: +33 (0)1 55 31 95 67

Opening Hours and Tickets

French bank holidays can affect the museum's opening hours. Check online for the most up-to-date information on opening times and special events.

Admission to the permanent collections and displays is free of charge for all visitors, irrespective of age. Entry prices vary for temporary exhibits: it is recommended to call ahead for more information, or check the official website.

Entry to temporary exhibitions is free for all visitors under 14.

Highlights From the Permanent Collection

The museum's permanent collection is divided across two main floors. The ground floor houses memorabilia and personal artifacts belonging to Romantic writer George Sand: these include diverse documents, portraits, photographs, furniture, jewelry and other objects dating from the 18th and 19th century. One recent acquisition, prized by the curators here, is a watercolor landscape painted by Sand herself.

On the first floor, paintings from French Romantic artist Ary Scheffer (who worked at the residence) adorn the walls, along with other works from artists working during the same period (Ernest Renan among them).

The museum also includes a reconstituted workshop-salon meant to evoke the working conditions of Scheffer, Renan and others.