Friday, August 4, 2017

Museum of the 18th century - Musee Cognacq-Jay, Paris

One of the many small charming museums of Paris is the Musee Cognacq-Jay, covering the influential design of the 18th century. The collection was formed by the founders of La Samaritaine department store and opened to the public in 1929 although in a different location.
The city of Paris, which manages the collection, moved the museum into the Hotel Donon in 1990. This 16th century hotel particulier was renovated heavily over the centuries before the city rescued the structure in 1974 and restored it to its supposed 18th century appearance.
What an excellent place for the collection then, and a great location in the heart of the Marais. The move into the structure though was heavily debated and frowned upon by the founder's family.
I loved the wallpaper in this room, which feels so modern, and especially the little bookcase above.
While the collection is comprised of furniture, art, and decorative objects of the 18th century there are some noted exceptions.
 One of the highlights of the furniture collection is this lit a la Polonaise (Polish style bed).
This carved and gilded wood bed was made by Georges Jacob around 1785 and features period appropriate blue damask upholstery.
 The paintings of the period set the scene and tone of the period.
 One can see why the 18th century has been so influential to designers!
The stairs of the hotel are particularly lovely. We really liked the coved plaster ceiling of the main stair.
 The lower level stairs are formal limestone and iron with lovely age and wear to them.
 The upper levels have more cost effective wood stairs with the same iron rail.
The building is a great example of this type of structure found throughout Paris and is noted for its attic with beams much like a ship's structure. 
Add a trip to the Cognacq-Jay on your Parisian vacation; Best part is admission to the main collection is free!