My first encounter with Honoré de Balzac, the man (I was obliged to read his literature in school), was at the Musée Rodin, and I will say that the sculptor must not have liked him much, because the rendition is anything but flattering. However, I had also been seeing many posters for the re-opening of his house, the Maison de Balzac, in the 16th arrondissement, and because it offered such an unexpected view of the Eiffel Tower, I decided to have a look.
My great confession is that I am not a fan of French literature. I like the idea of it very much, and it’s very romantic. But I have read my fair share of it, and truthfully I can never follow. The plot’s never strong enough to hold my interest, so I have resigned to reading contemporary literature translated from other languages (mainly English). But in the name of romance and Paris, I had to see Balzac’s house.
The collection is free, which is good because it was alright. More sculptures of Balzac; his walking stick (one I could only aspire to have); some original papers; the study (quite somber); and a whole room dedicated to the thousands of characters in one work (I believe). If you have an ardent passion for French literature and Balzac in particular, this is a thoughtful exhibit. But, if you come for the views and for a pause in the garden, I’m not blaming you for that, either. Top it off with a café crème at Passy and call it an afternoon.
Visiting the Maison de Balzac
The Maison de Balzac a small Paris museum and easy to access by the métros Passy (line 6) and La Muette (line 9). The address is 47 rue Raynouard 75016, and the hours are 10h-18h Tuesday-Sunday.
Admission is free. It’s quite pleasant to take a turn around the gardens before heading inside the house, where you can read about Honoré de Balzac’s life and work.
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