Spotlight on the Musée Nissim de Camondo

This is a guest post by the team at Context Travel. They have shared some of their expert advice on some fun new ways to discover the City of Light. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

The Musée de Nissim Camondo, located in the 8th arrondissement near the Parc Monceau, houses the once private collection of 18th century arts & decor that previously belonged to Count Moïse de Camondo. In a city notorious for its many museums, the Nissim Camondo, although less-known than the Louvre or the Orsay, still very much merits a visit.

Musee_Nissim_De_Camondo_2Like many museums in Paris, the history of the Musée de Nissim Camondo is just as interesting as the historical objects on display inside. Moïse de Camondo was born in Constantinople during the Ottoman empire, to a family of Sephardic Jewish bankers. Shortly after, his family moved to Paris in an effort to extend their business. Moïse was the heir to the family estate, which he rebuilt 1911 to house his extensive art collection as well as to serve as his family’s private residence. The architecture of this residence-turned-museum was largely inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles.

It was the intention of Moïse to pass down his estate to his son Nissim de Camondo; however, Nissim enlisted in the Armée de l’air immediately after the outbreak of World War I and was tragically killed in battle in 1917. Following the death of his only son, Moïse largely retreated from society, preferring to devote his time to his collection and occasionally receiving guests for dinner parties. In honor of his son he donated the estate to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and one year after his death in 1935 the Musée de Nissim Camondo was inaugurated. The tragic story of this family continued in 1945 when Count Camondo’s last living descendants, his daughter Beatrice de Camondo Reinach and her children, died in a concentration camp after being deported to Germany during the German Occupation of France during World War II.

Musée_Nissim_de_Camondo_-_Petit_BureauThe residence has been entirely preserved in its original condition and is one of the best examples of, as Moïse describes it in his will, “the recreation of an 18th-century artistic residence”. Today visitors of the museum can visit 3 floors of this once-private mansion including the kitchens (featuring a kosher design), formal rooms and private apartments, as well as the small but incredibly charming gardens. This museum also offers visitors a glimpse into the daily life of the elite upper class in the 20th century.

Some of the highlights of Moïse’s collection include Savonnerie tapestries as well as notable woodworks by Riesener and Jacob. We sat down with art historian and Context Travel docent Dr. Charlotte Daudon Lacaze to ask her favorite piece in the collection. Without hesitation, she shared what she considers to be the pièce de résistance: the small lady’s roll top desk built around 1760 by cabinet-maker Jean-François Oeben, with its “beautifully delicate inlay work of naturalistic floral motifs of precious wood and very elegant forms.” This was the first prototype of the roll top desk, and in fact, after seeing this desk in 1761, King Louis XV commissioned a larger, grander version for himself, now known as the “Bureau du Roi” (it’s on display at the Palace of Versailles).

Besides the gorgeous aesthetics of the piece, it was also functional. Louis XV kept his important documents in hidden drawers for which he had the only key, which he kept on his person at all times. We may never know how Moïse used his desk, which he acquired from famed antique dealer Jacques Seligmann in 1899, but for Charlotte, “the first and small version at the Nissim Camondo is one of the most elegant pieces of French Louis XV furniture and a wonderful testimony to Moïse de Camondo’s impeccable taste”.

Petit_Trianon_(new)The Musée de Nissim Camondo is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5:30pm.

Looking to visit the museum with an expert? Context Travel can arrange private tours of the collection. For more information, contact their Paris team directly at france-spain@contexttravel.com.
 
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Les Marchés de Noël | 2014 – 2015

There is something magical about the holiday season in Paris and there isn’t a better way to bring out the Christmas spirit than to head to one of the city’s Marchés de Noël, or Christmas Markets.

Christmas markets throughout France originate from the Eastern region of Alsace that has historical roots being traded between France and Germany. The most famous (and largest) Christmas Market in France is in Strasbourg, the capital of the region.

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Here in Paris, Christmas Markets tend to pop up throughout the city from mid-November through the holiday season. Below are some of our favorite markets for shopping and spiced vin chaud to warm you up! Continue reading

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Mixing Business with Pleasure | 24 Hours in Paris

I was recently interviewed for a feature in easyJet Traveller, easyJet’s in-flight magazine, on an itinerary for a 24-hour business layover in Paris and what we would recommend. The full article is featured in the November 2014 issue of easyJet Traveller but I thought I would share with you my suggestions for a 24-hour business pitstop in Paris that would be the perfect mix of business and pleasure:

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Our Top Picks | Paris Hotels

Over the past few years it seems that renting an apartment for your trip to Paris has been the thing to do. Lots of great apartment rental agencies like Perfectly Paris, Haven in Paris and the fabulous Time & Place luxury rentals that we work with provide all of the comfort of a hotel with the experience of exploring Paris like a true Parisian.

With the explosion of these rental agencies as well as the saturated rental market with AirBnB in Paris, some hotels are upping your game to provide high design and comfort with their rooms as well as a level of service that many apartment rental agencies are struggling to keep up with.

Here are our picks for hotels in Paris for every occasion:

CitizenM Paris Charles de Gaulle | Best Airport Hotel

“Stay in a hotel with soul. And nice pillows” is what you will see on the CitizenM website and this trendy hotel does indeed have soul. With all of the comforts of a 5 star hotel, it’s the little things that Continue reading

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TwizTours | Zipping Around Paris

Ever feel like zipping through Paris and all of its glorious sites in your own electric car? Well we did with TwizTour and thought we would share our experience with you.

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A Twizy is a cute blue electric car with an individually tailored GPS tour of Paris, based on duration of time and sites you want to see. Valentina and Fanny run this unique boutique electric car tour company located at Port de Suffren beneath the Eiffel Tower and are super sweet and helpful.

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Exploring Paris Street Art

This is a guest post by the team at Context Travel. They have shared some of their expert advice on some fun new ways to discover the City of Light. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Paris, like most major metropolises, attracts artists of many kinds, and graffiti artists are no exception. Far beyond the spray-painted wall scribble with which many associate it, graffiti has over the last few decades evolved into a respected expression of public art, often with strong political and social messages. It’s no surprise that Paris has long been known as a leader in such urban art, and pieces from the large-scale to the barely perceptible can be found all over the city, even in its wealthiest quartiers. Here we point out just some of the best areas to see true graffiti art in the ever-changing canvas that is Paris.

Artists at work on rue Dénoyez in Belleville.

Artists at work on rue Dénoyez in Belleville.

Le M.U.R.

Le M.U.R. is a billboard-sized wall on rue Oberkampf, in the 11th arrondissement, that hosts the work of artists from around the world. Every two to four weeks, the non-profit that manages the wall (one of Continue reading

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Best Brunch Bites in Paris

Not sure about you guys, but as fall and winter loom closer, we are in the market for places to withstand the temps and nourish our souls with some good old fashioned brunch.  We’ve done the work for you, here are some of our top picks as of late!

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Le 37m2:

Tawainese food for brunch?  Seems a bit odd, but I have two words for you: bubble tea.  At their super cool location in Pigalle, Le 37m2 offers this unique tea which contains grains of tapioca and is blended with a number of sweet flavors.  They shake Continue reading

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Auctions & Auction Houses in Paris

Auction houses  in Paris come in all shapes and sizes and handle everything from consignment sales to fine art auctions. The auction experience makes art and collectibles accessible to the broadest possible audience and offers a fresh way to discover, browse and buy premium pieces.  Here are some of the best auctions to find hidden gems and many unique pieces that you won’t find at traditional stores or even French markets:

 

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Galerie Liova-Marc Perpitch:

This dealer specializes in Medieval, Renaissance and 15th Continue reading

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End of Summer Days | Giverny

Paris has enjoyed a bit of an Indian Summer these past few weeks and many have sought out some of the beautiful gardens and outdoor attractions to catch some of those warm sun rays before the temperatures drop. I was invited on a delightful day trip to Giverny a few weeks ago and thought I would share some photos and recommendations for any future trips.

photo 2While we drove from Paris, Giverny is accessible by train from Gare St. Lazare to Vernon and then there are busses and even bike tours that depart from the sleepy town to Monet’s gardens.

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How to Ride the Metro like a Pro

The Paris metro system is one of the easiest and most efficient systems in the world. Learning how to navigate it like a pro is key in becoming a real Parisian. This post will give you a nice introduction to the Paris underground system and some of our expert tips and tricks to help you on your way to becoming a Metro expert.

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Lets first get some of the basics out of the way. The metro system is run by the RATP and first opened on July 19th, 1900, making it the second oldest in the world (after London). The system is

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