I've come to realize that Paris bears the same air of mystery that its residents are often associated with. Apparently, hidden courtyards, hidden streets, hidden doors leading to hidden bars and cafés - hidden anything, is a thing here and it's what makes the city so exciting to discover. And because they're hidden, they're very easy to miss!
Similarly, if you decide to pay a visit to the Museum Eugène Delacroix - watch out! If it weren't for the guard at the entrance, I would have surely missed the backyard of this building (the house itself is fairly tricky to locate). It's the most delightfully enchanting place. The museum's located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés - which, much like the adjacent Quartier Latin, is generally full of secret corners anyway...
The building includes part of the painter's apartment and workshop, the latter leading its visitors to the private garden. Delacroix spent the last 6 years of his life in this haven of peace in the heart of Paris, having decided to leave his studio on Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette to move closer to the church of Saint-Sulpice. At the time, he was responsible for decorating the church's Chapelle des Saints-Anges, considered as his spiritual testament. Once he had moved in, Delacroix often expressed his pleasure in his journal and letters: “My lodgings are decidedly charming (...). Woke up the next day to see the most delightful sunshine on the houses opposite my window. The view of my little garden and the cheerful appearance of my studio always fill me with pleasure.” The
Having no direct heirs, Delacroix had expressed the wish that his works should be dispersed by public sale at the Hôtel Drouot. Most of his furniture was also sold, except for a few personal souvenirs that were shared among his relatives, friends, and servants. After his death in 1863, various tenants occupied the apartment until plans came about to destroy the workshop and replace it with a garage. Consequently, a group of historians and painters, including Maurice Denis and Paul Signac, created the Société des Amis d'E. Delacroix in order to prevent the sacrilegious destruction and create a space designated for exhibitions, concerts, and lectures.
In 1952, the Society sold the house's collection to the French institutions, using the proceeds to buy the apartment, studio, and garden, which it donated to the State in 1954 on the understanding that a museum would be created. It eventually came under the responsibility of the state-owned Musée du Louvre.
In an intimate setting, the museum offers a personal approach to the work of the great artist through a selection of paintings, drawings, watercolours, pastels, sketches, as well as letters and photos of Charles Baudelaire, Théophile Gautier, George Sand and Léon Riesener, and other personal items. This collection provides an insight into the creative wealth of one of the great figures of French painting.
After completing your visit, stroll along the neaby winding streets and you'll stumble upon the macarons store Ladurée or some of the oldest Parisian coffeehouses - Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots and Le Bonaparte. That corner often swings to the gay rhythm of jazz melodies performed by the band that gathers in front of the Église de Saint Germain des Près.