Paris ... You can get here on a date with the past at every step. Especially in the center. Especially, on the right bank of the Seine, which was inhabited by Charles Valois. In the windows of old houses, if you look closely, of course, you can see silhouettes in wigs and camisoles. Among similar buildings - and the mansion of Liberal Bruand (Hôtel Liberal Bruand).
About the museum
The king of architects and the architect of King Louis XIV, that's what they called Monsieur Liberal Bruant. Once the chief architect of the most famous French monarch, he built his family mansion after a scandal that cost him his career.
In 1671, all of a sudden, for everyone, Liberal Bruant was removed from the construction of the chapel at the Invalides. There was a lot of gossip about this in Paris: some believed that the sun king did not like the project that the chief architect took as a basis, others hinted that Bruant was stealing. However, the ridicule subsided, because the architect, who was soon dismissed, resumed construction. This time - his own home.
In an area long favored by the aristocracy, on Rue de la Perle, a former town planner bought a considerable piece of land, on which his mansion, which became famous, appeared in 1685.
The new brainchild of Liberal Bruant aroused respectful awe and ... excruciating envy among the Parisians. It is difficult not to admire the construction of the Gothic-strict, solemnly stately and impregnable, like a fortress. Bruant decorated the facade facing the street with arches and crowned with an original triangular pediment with a round window like the sun in the middle. This "luminary" is held by plump cherubs and surrounded by cornucopia.
And between the windows along the walls, in unusual round niches, the architect placed busts of the emperors of Rome, whom he admired so much. In the architecture of the entire complex, a special "handwriting" of Liberal Bruant was read: the mansion fascinated with the simplicity and clarity of classical, monumental lines, but at the same time captivated by the Baroque decoration.
The house, outbuildings and a wide, stone-paved courtyard were surrounded by a blank wall, which gave the estate a resemblance to a monastery courtyard. Inside, however, the dwelling was deftly adapted not only for a comfortable private life, but also for lavish social receptions. Everything pointed to the fact that the owner of the mansion is a man with undoubted taste ... and huge funds. It turns out that the architect was deprived of his post not because the king did not like the chapel, but because he stole, the Parisians guessed. Alas, it looked like the truth - after all, Bruant built other houses nearby, but already for rent.
Behind the powerful walls, among the arches similar to the Roman aqueduct, angels, stucco bouquets and Caesars, the former court architect lived surrounded by his family for 12 years. When Bruant died, the widow had to rent out a huge house with a courtyard to wealthy tenants. For example, a famous mathematician, academician Lopital lived here for some time. Several more times new owners entered the house-palace, until another revolution broke out and the new government gave the pompous halls to craft workshops.
For many years the building fell into disrepair and almost turned into ruins. Only in the middle of the last century, the shabby manor was restored, adapting it as a museum of castles: until recently, one could see ancient bronze bolts, fancy door knockers, as well as keys that were made by Louis 16 himself, who had a weakness for blacksmithing. Today, in the mansion of Liberal Bruant, there is a center for contemporary art. A bit of bright madness in the ancient, pompous walls - it's so French! ..
Address: 1 Rue de la Perle, Paris 75003
Phone: + 33 1 42 77 96 74
Metro: Saint-Sébastien - Froissart
Bus: Rue Vieille du Temple