I always craft my travel around a particular theme, and my last trip to Paris focused on exploring the wonderfully idiosyncratic little museums you can find hidden away behind the grand doors of 18th and 19th century mansions and hôtel particulier dotted throughout the city. Generously bequeathed to the state, or privately run, these jewel-box museums are like precious time capsules of the Paris of a bygone era.
If you’re visiting for the Maison & Objet fair from January 19 to 23, and you want to avoid the well-trodden paths of the big Parisian tourist haunts, here’s some inspiration on a few of my favourite little treasure troves to take in while you’re in town.
Built by collectors Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart in the 1860s, this is a brilliant example of a 19th century hôtel particulier. It’s not only packed to the gills with artwork, but shows off all of the accoutrements that defined an era rich in abundance, when the wealthy homeowner could acquire almost anything their heart desired from all over the seven seas. Be sure to buy the combined ticket that gives you access throughout the space, and get the audio guide, voiced by actors with an incredibly atmospheric soundscape.
| TIP | Don’t miss the beautiful hanging systems that support the artwork, the intricate joinery of the parquetry thresholds, and the brocade wall-coverings.
Head straight for the artist’s studio when you visit this house that was once home to Auguste Renoir, Émile Bernard and Suzanne Valadon, to name just a few of the luminaries that have created art here over the past 300 years. This stunningly curated garret is flooded with that quintessential Parisian light that defies words, and it’s the highlight of the museum.
| TIP | There’s so much to see in Montmartre (as there is throughout Paris!) be sure to map out your itinerary in advance so you can cram as many gems as possible into your visit to the neighbourhood.
This museum of hunting and nature approaches a very old-fashioned pastime in a completely innovative way, and it’s one of my favourites. Each room has a theme, and combines taxidermy, furniture, collectibles and artworks from all eras in musing on how humans interact with the natural world. Like all of the best museums it’s always thought provoking and occasionally shocking. The Mark Dion installation, Sommer Cabin, is not to be missed.
| TIP | Don’t sit on the chairs, or you’re likely to get a thistle in the bottom, or crush a foxy friend!
Your visit begins before you even step over the threshold, with the intricate interwoven tilework on the facade of the building on rue Victor Schœlcher, so be sure to arrive with your eyes open. Amongst Giacometti’s haunting sculptural work, his equally fine interiors are also worth a look. I love his cosy seating nook by the fireplace.
| TIP | Giacometti’s design genius is also on display in the Musée Picasso Paris, a major museum, but still one with precious details you might miss such as Giacometti’s light fittings and the beautiful metalwork on the legs of his benches.
The stunning cabinetry and beautiful joinery more than justify the price of admission! Even the entry staircase here is a work of art. Often quiet, this is a treasure of a museum that evokes the wonder of the earth beneath our feet.
| TIP | If you chance upon a sunny day for your visit, the light filtering through the elegant tall windows onto the crystal displays is just lovely.
The courtyard and public rooms are stunning, but for me, it’s all about the basement, where you’ll find the kitchen and staff rooms. The light switches, the tiles, the zinc details around the sinks, and the copper work in the scullery are all dreamy. My upstairs highlights are the; designated curved plate room, pewter & timber butlers kitchen off the dining room and the tiled bathroom. All divine
| TIP | Look up! The tiled ceiling in the kitchen is a delight.
Beautiful tiles and a wooden spiral staircase painted in mustard with a giant circular window. The big collection on display is layered in a way that speaks to my love of maximalism and provides a revealing portrait of its owner. The living quarters are intimate (compared to other houses) and don’t prepare you for the rooms above where the sheer scale of the artwork is gobsmacking.
| TIP | Don’t miss some of the most spectacular spiral staircases of all time.
Musée Bourdelle (Currently closed for renovations, reopening March 2023)
By Sibella Court
Consider this travelogue a handwritten list from a travel savvy friend, scribbled on a paper napkin over a dinner then faithfully followed, tried & tested! Places & destinations sought out by Sibella Court based on a love of history, unusual shops, museums, markets, antiques, architecture, food & art.
Within the travelogue you will discover Sibella’s top tips for travelling in this city and her favourite locations to stay, shop, eat & explore. As a downloadable double page spread format you can print at home or save to your phone to have handy as you travel.
Renovating a house is like breathing new life into a familiar space. It's an exciting journey that allows you to transform your living space according to your tastes, needs, and lifestyle. Whether you're looking to update a single room or give your entire house a makeover, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the key steps of a successful house renovation.
We whizzed down the back streets of Seminyak and the smaller the streets became the deeper we time travel into a Bali of a time gone-by...
This year, my dear friend and photographer; William Meppem and I captured the essence of this perfect boathouse, located in Newport, Sydney. The ideal spot to drop your anchor this holiday season.
I have dreamt of a boathouse escape for many years and all of my dreams have come true in a recent visit to a space that captures it all, The Salty Dog. This miniature house provides all of the nuances of boat building within its own minute space. Situated amongst the quintessential Sydney landscape of emerald green water and unique sandstone structures - surrounded by angophora gums.
With the extension of the dinghy & direct entrance to the water, this house evolves into an explorative landscape that extends beyond its petite footprint. If I were to create the ideal boathouse... This would be it.
An Interview with Judi:
Create an account to open the door into the imaginairium and a world of possibility.
We are a design studio & retail experience captained by Sibella Court. Step inside the imaginarium, delve into Sibella’s world and explore our hardware & home goods.
Subscribe to receive 10% off your first order!