The path to Rue Reynoir, where the greatest writer of the 19th century Honore de Balzac (1840-1847) lived in a modest mansion, is a ten-minute walk from Passy metro station.
In honor of the author of the world masterpiece, The Human Comedy, the French have preserved a site of the former suburb in a state of the 19th century. The administration of Paris in 1949 bought the house to create the Balzac Museum (Maison de Balzac).
The panorama of the museum is hidden by hilly terrain. Initially, it appears to the traveler in the form of a small wing, although the museum complex occupies a vast territory. It includes a three-story mansion, courtyard garden and adjacent buildings. Since 1971, the first floor of the building has been occupied by a library with a repository of Balzac's manuscripts and publications.
Here are selected books and periodicals of that era with the writer's notes. The top floor is occupied by an exhibition about the life and work of Balzac. Separate rooms are dedicated to the writer's beloved Evelina Hanska and the work of Auguste Rodin on the Balzac monument. Paintings by famous French masters help to understand the atmosphere of the 19th century. Not far from the museum complex there is a coffee shop where the writer bought different types of coffee to make his own drink recipe.
Exhibition about the life and work of Balzac
In 1840 the mansion was rented by Monsieur de Bruignol. The well-known writer Balzac was hiding under this pseudonym. This precaution was necessary because the writer's attempt to engage in publishing ended in large debts, he lost his property, and was forced to hide from creditors. The writer was satisfied with the presence of a secret door through which he could disappear from uninvited guests. Friends entered through the front door, saying the password.
The modest atmosphere of the house was conducive to creativity. The writer's working day began at midnight. He worked very painstakingly on the text, changing the content of each page several times. The book "The Human Comedy" was completed in the mansion, and many famous novels were written.
The museum staff tried to convey to the visitors the inner world of the writer. They managed to preserve the original things: a chair, a desk, a favorite coffee pot, a kettle and a cane. Showcases show page drafts with strikethrough lines and added text. Unfortunately, many of the writer's things are lost. They were sold out after the death of Balzac's widow.
Hall of Evelina Ganskaya
An entire room is dedicated to the history of the relationship between Evelina Ganskaya and Honore de Balzac. They can be presented and understood through years of correspondence.
From the first meeting in 1932 to the wedding in 1850, a long 18 years passed.
Balzac left the mansion for fleeting meetings with his beloved, but more often he conveyed his feelings through letters.
After the wedding, the family settled in Paris. The happiness did not last long. The writer died 5 months later.
Hall dedicated to the creation of the monument to Balzac
The history of the creation of the monument to Balzac by the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin is interesting. The work was commissioned by the French Society of Writers. Rodin wanted to convey the inner world of a genius in sculpture. In search of material, he goes to the homeland of Balzac - the city of Touré, re-reads his works, gets acquainted with the reviews of his contemporaries. In 1898, the sculptor exhibited a statue of Balzac in an art salon.
The customer refused to accept the work. Rodin's contemporaries did not support either, seeing in the sculpture an ironic image, unworthy of the writer's memory. Rodin rejected offers to sell the monument to other countries - he dreamed of seeing him in Paris. In 1939, France installed Rodin's creation in one of the capital's squares.
The house-museum brings together lovers of Balzac's work from all over the world. Several organizations work at the museum: the Balzac Research Group and the Society of Balzac's Friends. They are engaged in the popularization of the writer's works, explaining to modern readers the idea of the book "The Human Comedy".
The library hosts lectures, seminars, circles for adults and children, concerts and performances are organized.
The museum organizes trips to places of life and work of Balzac.
The house-museum adequately presents the atmosphere of the 19th century - the time of the life of the world's greatest writer.
Address: 47 Rue Raynouard, Paris 75016
Phone: + 33 1 55 74 41 80
RER train: Avenue du Président Kennedy
Hours: 10: 00-18: 00