This is a love story, not as much about two people as about their common passion for art. Edouard André was born into a wealthy Protestant family in the early part of the 19th century. A businessman and politician who later joined the army, he developed a love for art and began collecting important works as a young man.
Nélie Jacquemart was born into a Catholic family with little money. It was obvious from an early age that she had artistic talent and eventually she began to paint portraits. In 1872 André commissioned Nélie, whose reputation was well-known by then, to paint his portrait. Nine years later, they married. It was a marriage of convenience, but a successful one as they spent the rest of their lives devoted to their common love of art.
Their home was the current museum on Boulevard Haussmann in the upscale 8th arrondissement of Paris. You wind your way to the entrance in back.
The Grand Salon
The house and furnishings are as exquisite as the paintings they collected. This was "Le Cabinet de Travail", or office.
These are some of the beautiful objects throughout the mansion.
And her study, below.
They traveled extensively throughout Europe, Turkey and Egypt, acquiring much of their collection in Italy. The collection represents works from some 30 artists.
The house itself was built as part of the Haussmannian renovation of Paris It was completed in 1876, prior to their marriage.
The magnificent staircase.
The Winter Garden.
The ceilings are also exquisite.
Nélie passed away in 1912, 18 years after the death of her husband. She left the mansion, furniture and the collection to the Institut de France with the wish that it be made public, even designating the exact location of the artwork. The museum opened on December 8, 1913.
If you like decorative art, this museum must be on your agenda!
➜ Top Tips
The museum is located at 158 boulevard Haussmann.
The closest métro is Miromesnil (lines 9 and 13) and St.-Philippe du Roule (line 9).
It's open 365 days a year.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum sponsors two special exhibitions each year.
It's timed-ticketing; buy your ticket online. Although it's not as well-known as some other Paris museums, it can get crowded. I'd advise trying to go early.
There is a lovely café in the museum for lunch.