Le Marais must be one of my top favorite Parisian districts. Its somewhat notorious history has turned it into a pretty colorful spot swarming with foreigners. In contrast with, say, the area surrounding the Eiffel Tower - which is inhabited by Americans or elderly descendants of the rich and famous - this part of Paris is pretty laid back, a hub of the extravagant.
At the heart of this uncommon ground stands La Place des Vosges - a historical landmark in its itself, it’s a beautiful square encircled by historical buildings. One corner, in particular, has housed a place I’ve been meaning to visit for months now and I only got round to it last week. Fortunately.
The east side of this square construction beholds the house of famous French writer Victor Hugo. It’s a fairly famous tourist attraction, partly because of its inhabitants, partly because of its sumptuous interior.
The visit takes you through several rooms, each representing an interior style and revealing a part of the author's life. The Antechamber features portraits of relatives and friends evocative of Victor Hugo's childhood and youth. The Red Lounge, hung with red damask, was visited by Lamartine, Dumas, Mérimée, the list goes on... The Chinese Room demonstrates a little-known facet of Victor Hugo’s genius, his talent as a decorator. The Chinese-style panels were designed by Hugo in 1863-1864. They form the backdrop for the porcelain that covers the walls and shelves. The collection's completed with the table on which he composed the first series of The Legend of the Ages in 1859, with a dedication written on the table-top itself.
A spectacular detail's The Table with Four Inkwells (Lamartine, Dumas, Sand and Hugo), assembled by Victor Hugo, was destined for a charity auction with proceeds going to children living in poverty in Guernsey. The Dining Room demonstrates a fondness for Gothic furniture yet again. Hugo engaged in a “hunt for old chests” from Guernsey at the time that he was buying furniture from the Haute Epoque or Renaissance periods. Hugo had them dismantled and then reassembled according to his fancy or his decorative requirements, in accordance with his designs. Thus a door became a table, chests become sideboards or benches, coils of thread became candle holders and table legs became columns.
he Studies features a Rodin bust of Hugo as well as a desk meant to be written on while standing up. And The Bedroom - the last room to reach, lacking windows and seeming particularly somber due to the red velvet wallpaper, is the exact place where the respected writer died.