If you lack the time (or energy) to fight the crowds at the Louvre or Musée d'Orsay, but still want to enjoy glorious paintings, sculptures and works of art, Paris has several smaller, more manageable art museums with world class exhibits.
The Jacquemart André Museum is an exquisite 19th century mansion, and former private residence of art connoisseurs Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart.
Edouard was the son of a prominent banking family, and devoted his sizable fortune to amassing an extraordinary private collection of French, Italian and Dutch masterpieces. Edouard married prominent painter Nelié Jacquemart in 1881, and together they traveled throughout Europe each year to acquire rare treasures for their collection. Under the guidance of the most prominent museum curators of the time, the couple built a world class collection of paintings, tapestries, sculpture and frescos. Their philosophy was that great art was meant to be shared, and upon Edouard's death, Nelié completed the collection and bequeathed it, along with the mansion, to the Institut de France, to be converted to a museum. The mansion opened to the public in 1913.
Highlights of the permanent collection include:
Dutch 17th century masters: Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Ruysdael
French 18th century: Fragonard, Boucher, Vigée-Lebrun, Nattier
English masters: Reynolds, Hoppner, Lawrence
Italian Renaissance 15th century sculptures & paintings: Bellini, Botticelli, Mantegna, Uccello
Temporary exhibits change with the season. In 2010, from 12 March until 1 August, you can experience Spanish masters from El Greco to Dali.
One of the highlights of your visits should be a stop in the Jacquemart André Tea Room, where you can enjoy lunch or coffee and pastries surrounded by beautiful Belgian tapestries and a fresco by Tiepolo. In the summer months, the Tea Room extends service to the adjacent courtyard. Indoors or out, you'll be in one of the most beautiful tea rooms in Paris.
The Museum is located in the heart of Paris' 8th arrondissement, at 158 Boulevard Haussmann, north of the Champs Elysees and west of the Galerie Lafayette shopping district. It is open every day, 365 days a year, from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Entrance is included in the Paris Museum Pass, or tickets are available on site. Free audio guide is included with admission. Discounts available for families, and children receive a free activity book, challenging them to solve riddles by searching for hidden clues throughout the mansion.
Check the website for temporary exhibits, maps, and practical information: www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en/jacquemart/
RER: Charles de Gaulle – Etoile
Metro: Miromesnil or Saint Philippe du Roule
Bus: 22, 28, 43, 52, 54, 80, 83, 84, 93
Combine your museum visit with a shopping excursion to Paris designer stores located near the Jacquemart Andre, and you'll have a fabulous day!